Telecom execs turn to 'high-speed fun'

Shuttered retail space being transformed for kart racing, entertainment

[caption id="attachment_11350" align="alignright" width="331" caption="Rod Towery (left) and Matt Stearn plan to open an electric-kart-based family entertainment center in the shuttered Linens 'n' Things store in Rohnert Park this fall."][/caption]

ROHNERT PARK - Two former Telecom Valley executives are on the move from high-speed communications toward high-speed fun with plans to open a family- and corporate-oriented indoor kart racing and entertainment center in a shuttered big-box store by this fall.

Matt Stearn and Rod Towery quit their jobs at telecom equipment supplier Calix in Petaluma on June 22 to position their Driven Raceway LLC venture in the vacant Linens 'n' Things store at 4601 Redwood Drive to cross the finish line by early to mid-September.

"For years I wanted to start my own business, and I was searching for a concept that brings together family entertainment and the racing concepts," said Mr. Stearn, the 39-year-old chief executive officer and father of two.

They're spending several million dollars transforming most of the 40,800-square-foot former household goods store into adult- and junior-level tracks for electric karts, two bowling lanes with smaller balls and pins, nine holes of blacklight miniature golf, a game arcade and a snack bar, all with a racing theme. The facility also will have rooms for parties or group meetings, all with a racing theme. It would employ 25 to 30 mostly part-time employees.

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