Grapevine sports lounge owner puts opening of dream business on hold amid COVID-19 pandemic

The sports lounge will also offer food and drink for order when it opens. (Courtesy Mike Speets)
The sports lounge will also offer food and drink for order when it opens. (Courtesy Mike Speets)

The sports lounge will also offer food and drink for order when it opens. (Courtesy Mike Speets)

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Speets said he quit corporate America to pursue his dream business. (Courtesy Mike Speets)
Mike Speets was on the cusp of opening his dream business in March before news surfaced that the coronavirus pandemic would reach a peak in North Texas this spring.

"I had tons of parties booked in late March, early April," he said. "Those have already postponed. So unfortunately, ... right when I was about to open, this happened."

Speets' business, Crush It Virtual Sports Lounge, is a venue for virtual gaming for sports like golf, football, baseball and soccer. Speets said he is considering de-comissioning some of his simulators and removing tables to allow for 6-foot social distancing. Originally scheduled for a March opening, Crush It Virtual Sports Lounge now aims to open in mid-May, depending on the length of Tarrant County's shelter-in-place order.

"The ability have to have 200 people in close proximity, enjoying themselves and being social is probably in jeopardy for the foreseeable future," he said. "I'm gonna have to adjust my business so that there's a lot more social distancing."

The virtual gaming lounge will also offer food and drink—a business model that would normally require several employees.

"I'm probably going to have to operate at 50% staff and basically cut all my expenses by 50% to match the anticipated revenues and profits," he said.

The emotional toll from having to push back the opening of Crush It was felt by everyone on his team, Speets said.

"It's been sad to have hired people. I got everybody excited; we were ready to go and then all of a sudden this thing to a hard 180," he said. "For myself, [I quit] corporate America, and I was like, weeks away from realizing my ultimate dream, and now it's put on hold."

Congress passed the CARES Act in March—a bill providing billions of dollars in assistance for small businesses like Speets'. He said he has applied for two loans: the economic injury disaster loan and the Payroll Protection Program.

"I estimate that those [loans] will take a couple of weeks turn any movement," Speets said. "The overall impact ... of this virus, at least for the foreseeable future, is that my business is going to be cut by half."

Like so many small business owners across North Texas, Speets was faced with a wave of bills April 1.

"Some vendors have been kind enough to let me skip April. Some have given me partial subsidy," he said. "But ... [my mortgage] unfortunately has to continue."

Despite the postponed opening, Speets said he is confident in Crush It's future.

"People inherently like to enjoy themselves," he said. "Even when times are tough, I think going out and having a nice time for an hour or two is very important. ... I'm positioned for those kinds of people that want to just get their mind off their bills in their jobs and their stresses by having a great time."

Miranda Jaimes contributed to this report.