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Game Time

Rosa’s Retro Events in North Judson Brings The Fun For All Ages

Writer/Lois Tomszewski

It’s fitting that a family-oriented entertainment center should also be owned and operated as a family business. That’s the vibe that Kathy Holem, the owner of Rosa’s Retro Arcade & Pizzeria, wanted all along.Rosa’s Retro Arcade & Pizzeria

“It is a family venture,” Holem says. “All of my kids have invested time into this project. My son, Kyle, painted all the bricks for the mini golf, and Sam and Nathan help in the pizzeria and make deliveries. Megan was the original creator of the Mystery! Escape Room Concept. Lizzy is an amazing party attendant for our private events and helps in the pizzeria on occasion. “My husband usually is doing the behind-the-scenes stuff like framing up walls or driving to some crazy location to pick up a must-have arcade game.”

Rosa’s Retro Events has been open for three years. In that time, Holem has continued to add new things to do and keep things fresh for the families that come to spend time together playing blacklight golf, trying out the escape room experience, or simply enjoying pizza together and talking about their days.

“We continue to add and change things that people want,” she says. “Some things work, and others don’t. We continue to evolve so we don’t go extinct!”

Finding something for everyone is a daunting task and one of the challenges Holem faces in keeping Rosa’s Retro Arcade fresh. Like many entertainment-focused businesses, it’s sometimes difficult to motivate people to get out of their houses and off their phones to have fun together, she says.

“People are content to sit at home on their phones,” she says. “I just want to pry the phones out of everyone’s hands and make them realize what a great time they are missing!”

Rosa’s Retro Arcade & PizzeriaRosa’s Retro Arcade came to be as an effort by Holem to find a use for an empty building in North Judson. She moved to North Judson in 1997.

“I hate seeing empty buildings in town and I wanted to create something fun for families,” she says. “When I saw that this space was available, I just knew it could be transformed into something people could enjoy.”

Those “somethings” have turned out to be immensely popular for many area families. The murder mystery dinners which are scheduled in the fall are “an absolute riot,” Holem says. This event includes dinner and drinks.

Rosa’s Retro Escape Room Challenge, called Granny’s Mystery Escape, was Holem’s oldest daughter’s idea. Cost per person is kept affordable and the clues are changed every season. This means people can come back often and partake in the challenge.

“We have also done them for school groups and the clues were relevant to what they were learning in class,” she says.

In addition to the events hosted by Holem and her team, space is also available for rent. Rosa’s Retro Arcade has been the site for weddings, bridal and baby showers and children’s parties among other occasions. There have also been comedy shows, murder mystery dinners, daddy and daughter dances and themed buffet nights.

One event that occurred recently was a wedding during the Christmas holiday in which all partygoers wore Christmas-themed pajamas.

“This family was so much fun, and it was a blast,” Holem says.

Homan also opens space to serve local families who are facing one of the most difficult times in their lives – the death of a loved one. Holem does not charge for the use of the facilities for bereavement luncheons, funeral dinners or celebration of life gatherings.

“I don’t really do this for the money,” she says. “I do this because I love my town. I have been blessed beyond measure in so many ways, and if this space can be a blessing to someone that would make my heart happy.”

While family togetherness has been the goal of Holem’s business, Rosa’s Retro Arcade is for everyone. An adults-only evening is planned for July. Called BARCADIUM, the event is open to those 18 or older and will feature live bands, karaoke, a beer garden and access to the arcade and mini golf.Rosa’s Retro Arcade & Pizzeria

The hours for Pizzeria and Fun Center are Wednesday through Saturday 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Holem says the business stays open later during the summer. Rosa’s Retro Arcade & Pizzeria is located at 204 Lane Street, North Judson. For more information, call 574-896-2386 or contact them through email at: retronorthjudson@gmail.com. You can also find them on social media.

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