81-Year-Old Pickleball Player Opens Indoor Center in Westminster
Sam Brown moved to a retirement home situated in Broomfield at the age of 10, with the idea to spend his time playing tennis.
“I’ve had enough operations that we’d win the first set, but I couldn’t run in the second or third,” the 81-year old said. “One day I was walking past some of the courts and saw people playing pickleball, and I’ve never touched a tennis racket since.”
He’s developed into an advanced player of pickleball playing with teams in Denver and tournaments throughout the nation. In the year 2018, he established his own organization called the American Pickleball Association to bring greater awareness of the game, market equipment for pickleball and organize tournaments and clinics throughout the U.S.
In the present, Brown is getting ready to start the Pickleball Food Pub, an indoor pickleball bar and center located at the address 7647 W. 88th Ave. in Westminster’s Mission Commons Shopping Center, in the same location where a Sears outlet was previously.
“We’ve received a lot of inquiries from individuals who have contacted us and have played with, saying that we’d like to play all year. With our climate the only place to play indoors is recreation centers” Brown said. “But Rec centers are devoted to youth and the indoor courts are located on courts for volleyball and basketball. The flooring is slippery and the wood is hard, so you need to play with an alternative ball and shoes. The most difficult part for most people is that in many places, they are seated for 20 to 30 minutes to play a game that lasts 10 minutes. That’s why it was important to me to create a facility.”
Pickleball is a sport that resembles tennis played on smaller courts where players use paddles to throw an imperforate ball that is placed over the net. Denver Parks and Recreation has outdoor courts in seven parks in the city as well as 15 recreation centers for indoor games.
The space, which is 25,500 square feet, will feature eight courts for indoor play as well as a bar, an event space that can be used for corporate and kid-friendly events, a pro-shop offering pickleball equipment to purchase and rental, as well as both outdoor and indoor dining. The bar will offer drinks made from pickle juice and beers made by Liquid Mechanics Brewing Co. close by, as well as cocktails.
Although food is part of the title, Pickleball Food Pub won’t actually offer food items. Food orders can be made to be delivered from nearby restaurants in the mall, such as Marco’s Pizza and CDs Wings.
There’s an indoor pickleball location located in Colorado Springs, but this will be the first indoor pickleball facility within the Denver region and the first state-wide facility with an element of bar.
Brown founded Brown & Associates, a commercial real estate investment and real estate firm that was founded in 1971. In the last 12 years, he’s been the owner of his own property, the Mission Commons Shopping Center, which is where his office is which made the decision to create a pickleball court there quite easy.
“Fortunately, we have a nice landlord, who’s paying for some of the construction and demolition inside,” Brown laughed with a smile.
Pickleball Food Pub, which Brown is planning to launch in the month of January. It will be hosting games from Monday to Thursday for players of all levels. Courts are available for rental beginning at $7.50 for an hour. Trainers are able to hire courts for clinics to hold.
Players also have the option of paying the annual fee of $120 which includes a non-refundable $50 registration fee for all leagues, as well as a 10 percent reduction on rental of courts, and discounts of 10 percent in the pro shop.
The facility will be the American Basketball Association’s first facility for corporate use However, Brown plans to launch franchises throughout the U.S. in the near future. The organization has been granted approval to establish franchises in 37 states.
Brown Already has sights set on a second store in Colorado in another mall that he is co-owner of, The Shops at Mission Viejo at the intersection of Hampden Avenue and Chambers Road in Aurora. He’s training a franchisee prior to making any decision.
“If you’re under 19, there are thousands of tournaments in the nation that teenagers can’t play because the old farts don’t want to be shown up,” Brown explained. “But I think it’s changing, and I want Pickleball Food Pub to be a part of that change.”
“I used to play at Apex in Arvada and everybody was over 50,” he said. “But in this season, I participated in a league and the majority of teams had 20 to 40-year-olds. One of my teammates came with his son who was in his 40s and his grandson. There were three generations playing on the court. That’s the appeal of this game.”