After sitting vacant for several years, the Old Towne Food Market located off Highway 202 is undergoing a transformation that promises to be out of this world.
Richard Eckols and his wife, Jamie, have struck up an agreement with the building's owner to occupy the old supermarket, which they plan to turn into a family fun center... only more.
The Crash Course Family Fun Center will be built with an alien theme and will include a miniature 18-hole golf course, virtual reality ride simulator, the latest in arcade games, a snack bar and a party room available for bookings.
Originally from the San Fernando Valley, the Eckols relocated to Tehachapi six years ago. After they arrived, they began looking around town for a place to celebrate their daughter's tenth birthday.
"We were really scrambled that there is nothing going on for the kids — someplace to take our daughter Emma and her friends," said Richard.
Finding limited options, the Eckols first hatched the idea for the Crash Course.
"Our thoughts were wow, why don't we do something special for Tehachapi," Richard said.
Richard, who has been building sets for all the movie studios for the past 26 years, decided to take his expertise to the next level. After the 8,400-square-foot building is completely renovated, the fun part of creating a virtual reality galaxy will begin.
"This is the perfect location. It's got great exposure and over 13,000 people driving on the (Highway) 202 every day," said Jaime.
The Eckols plan to intertwine the indoor, miniature golf course with the effects of animatronics featuring the quality and craftmanship of Hollywood.
Said Richard, "We try to keep it kinda hush hush because it really will be truly amazing and we want to shock everyone... It's going to be like a Chuck E. Cheese only on steroids."
For those who have visited Tehachapi High School's STEAM Center, Richard was the builder of the Space Shuttle Landing Simulator featuring the fuselage replica of the actual space shuttle.
The Eckols say they are hoping to open the Crash Course within the next year. So stay tuned — and prepare to be amazed.
"Once you enter the doors, we want you to feel like you're on a different planet. It's going to be magical," said Jaime.
With UFO spaceships and greetings from aliens, anything can happen.
Said Richard, "This is going to be a one-of-a-kind. There's nobody else in the world that has anything like this."