PAR365 is Roseville’s newest family entertainment venue
During the height of the pandemic, Mercedes and Thomas Jackson discovered golf to socialize with friends and family. They fell in love with the sport but were disappointed by the indoor golf offerings locally.
While on holiday in Ohio to visit family, they visited aboutGOLF in Toledo, which is an award-winning golf simulator. It sparked an idea in Thomas. On the 11-hour drive back to Minneapolis with an overnight in Chicago, they discussed an idea for starting what would eventually become PAR365, a sprawling 8,500-square-foot indoor golf simulator.
Thomas, a chemical engineer, and Mercedes, a corporate finance attorney, both knowing what it means to work hard, began one of the most challenging endeavors they’ve ever attempted. Over the next two years, they worked hard at launching their business dream.
It was a journey that saw them overcome many obstacles, including successfully changing a city law around liquor licensing in the city of Roseville. The new city ordinance not only benefited their business but all restaurants and small businesses that may want to operate within Roseville.
We recently sat down with Mercedes and Thomas for an interview about the magic that is PAR365. The creative, business-minded power couple shares their story highlighting the ups and downs of their business journey.
MSR: Explain to our readers what PAR365 is.
Mercedes: So part of 365 is an indoor golf lounge, bar and restaurant. We have six state-of-the-art simulators where you can come in and play courses from all over the world, or you can play minigolf or a series of arcade games. We have skeet ball, darts, and numerous other games.
We are jazz and soul-themed, and so when you come in you’ll see how our decor choices are inspired by our love of music and culture. Our goal is to have this be a place where golfers can come, use our equipment, and have PAR365 become a desirable place to hang out and have fun. But also for non-golfers or people who are just maybe golf-curious to come in and feel right at home as well.
MSR: What gave you the idea and inspiration to create the business?
Thomas: It all surrounds our mission and vision, which is to make golf more approachable, more affordable, and more accessible for everyone.
We didn’t get involved or start golfing until the pandemic. Golf became a way for us to connect with our friends. Being from the South Side of Chicago and Ohio, golf wasn’t something you were familiar with or exposed to growing up. So it became this social connection with family and our network of friends.
Mercedes: We were in my hometown in Ohio over the holidays with my in-laws. We went to this golf simulator in Toledo. Thomas met some of the folks at aboutGOLF and talked with them about their commercial business and how it worked.
When we got in our car to drive back home he said, “I have a crazy idea.” And frankly, he said this about once a month and I normally say, “No, we’re not doing that. But this one, I was like, “Okay, tell me more.” And so we ended up talking about it the whole ride home for 11 hours plus an overnight in Chicago.
By the time we got back here, we felt that it was something that we could do.
MSR: Why did you choose Roseville as an area for PAR365?
Thomas: Roseville is a densely populated area, with people who love and have business connections to golf. It’s an awesome golfing community.
MSR: What has been your biggest challenge in owning a business?
Thomas: We’re both essentially part of corporate America and part of bigger entities. I think
what we’re learning right now is that the path of the entrepreneur is a constant challenge.
A big challenge initially was working with the city to change the liquor license process, and that was something that seemed insurmountable to me at the time.
Also, finding the right space, one that was large enough and offered construction opportunities; and let me say, construction was a huge challenge.
MSR: What was the code that you changed?
Mercedes: Originally, in order to get a liquor license in Roseville you had to be a restaurant or hotel with at least 100 seats, and 60 percent of your food and beverage revenue had to be non-alcohol. And so that presented a number of challenges. Most of our space consists of golf simulators. We don’t have the space to have 100 seats here.
Most of our customers, they’re going to spend per hour on a simulator and they’re going to have a beer or two per hour and then they’re going to leave. So we would be upside down on revenue—almost from the first customer. And so we wanted them to see that people are coming here for the simulators, that revenue should count as part of that calculation.”
MSR: What’s your vision/goals for your business?
Mercedes: This is like our proof of concept. If this goes the way that we hope, we’d like to expand to other locations, in Minnesota and other regions of the country. We feel like our idea of a golf community center is something that people would love kind of all over.
Thomas: For me, in 10 years I want us to be an internationally recognized company. I want to be a company that brings golf not only to the rest of the states in a different way, but the rest of the world. My goal is to build something like this or something in this concept on the western coast of Africa. I want to bring it to places and people and locations that, in my perspective, the golf world hasn’t thought about.
Par365 is located at 2655 Patton Rd, Roseville, MN 55113. View them on the web at www.par365golf.com. Call to reserve your simulator times at 651.348.8810.