Imagine VR Studios, Westchester’s first fully dedicated virtual reality studio, is making Yorktown its home.
The new establishment celebrated its soft opening on Friday, Feb. 21, and will be celebrating its grand opening on Sunday, March 8, with the warm welcome of local officials and the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce.
“We had our options, but we just really felt a strong connection to Yorktown. We raised our kids here, we’ve been here seven years and we absolutely love this town,” said co-founder Nilda Petrov. “It really was a labor of love. It took us almost a year from the conception of the idea to the opening. It gives us so much joy that we can finally give back to this amazing community.”
The new entertainment hub bloomed from an idea after she gifted her husband Peter, a “techie,” a pair of virtual reality goggles.
He and their five children were hooked and began searching for virtual reality studios in the area to enjoy the experience as a family.
With the nearest locations in Rockland County and at the Danbury Mall in Connecticut, the Petrovs decided to open a location themselves. The studio offers two-hour passes along with all-day passes and hosts parties.
“We felt that the community had a huge need for places for not necessarily preschool and elementary, but for teens,” Petrov said.
Having teens herself, she saw the problems associated with boredom at home.
The entertainment center is meant for all ages and families, though.
“We wanted to give back to our community by creating a space where kids can hang out with their friends, have fun and do what teenagers do, but also a place that gamers can come together,” Petrov said. “What better way to reach them than on their own platform? Mom and Dad can jump in on the games and they can play and communicate with each other through the headsets.
What better memories to make with your mom and dad than by shooting zombies?”
Chairs and sofas in the studio create a social space where people can relax and socialize in between trying out one of six simulators, including full immersive experiences.
Friday and Saturday nights will cater to adults only and will offer, under a cover charge, unlimited virtual reality games along with a DJ and wine and beer, making it a new date night spot for everyone in town. Petrov said that they are currently in the process of acquiring a liquor license and she expects the establishment to have it by April.
“Having five kids, babysitting is very expensive,” Petrov said. “You either go into White Plains or New York City for a date and by the time you get back, you’re broke because you paid your babysitter for so many hours.”
Unlike your traditional dinner and a movie or bowling, Petrov said, she wanted to give parents and adults the opportunity to hang out somewhere fun for two hours locally and make it back in time for bedtime.
Petrov said there is a virtual reality activity for everyone and she is excited about seeing people experience it for the first time.
For more information, visit www.imaginevrs.com.