The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Putting around at Isaak’s

Video games wallpapered the left side of the 10,500 square feet of Isaak’s Family Fun while two pool tables centered the games.

Two large tables placed in the middle of the floor awaited hyper children celebrating birthdays with friends and family.

If not used, a jukebox played random music loudly.

However, the main attraction is the indoor 18-hole miniature golf course. Black lights beamed down on the course guiding players to the next hole.

After working about 110 hours a week in agriculture sales, Salem native Mark Isaak decided to quit the sales market and start his own business, Isaak’s Family Fun, which opened in July 2007.

Isaak’s Family Fun is located on 1421 Old State Road in Mattoon.

“Agriculture is too stressful. I have a different lifestyle now,” he said. “I can get out of bed in the morning now when I want to.”

After browsing the Internet, Isaak thought an indoor miniature golf place would be popular and unique.

“This is something different,” he said. “If you want to find something like this you have to go out about 70 miles away to the bigger cities.”

With 6,000 square feet still available, Isaak hopes to open laser tag in mid-December. He also hopes to offer pinball, ski-ball and air hockey soon.

“When I first opened, I did surveys to get feedback of the course and find out what else people want,” he said. “Everyone likes it.”

Isaak said he thinks being inside can have its benefits.

“I can change the difficulty level of the course any day of the week,” he said. “Also if people don’t like the heat they can play in the air conditioning, and when it gets cold, people will still have something to do.”

Although only prepackaged food and drinks are offered, Isaak’s Family Fun can accommodate guests with food and drinks from Villa Pizza in Mattoon.

Isaak said his biggest challenge of opening his own business is finding the right advertising to target customers, which is why he hired marketing manager, Joe Hawn.

“I couldn’t have done it without Joe,” Isaak said. “I’m lucky to have him.”

Isaak found Hawn on Lakeland Community College’s employment Web site.

“In a business stand point, you can learn everything in a book, but it’s the experience that teaches you,” Hawn said. “Just because something is stated in a book, doesn’t mean it will always work.”

Joy Angel, employee at Isaak’s Family Fun, helped Isaak’s dream come alive.

“We met, and I helped him get things started and get the building ready,” she said.

Angel said she hopes the business is successful because she thinks it will benefit the community.

“The way the world is today, it really is all about the children. They grow up and become adults and I think it’s important that they enjoy their childhood,” she said. “There’s not a lot to do in Mattoon besides skating, bowling and movies, so this gives more variety for kids to do so they’re not getting in trouble.”

Alex Nolan, a 20-year-old Mattoon resident, said he thinks Isaak’s Family Fun is the best miniature golf place around.

“Other mini-golf place’s hours are horrible and if people can’t take the heat, they can come here,” he said.

Even though the location is outside of town, many people think it is worth the distance.

“Unfortunately, it’s (Isaak’s Family Fun) in a bad location, but that’s overlooked because it’s awesome,” Nolan said.

A game of 18 holes is $4.75 and a 16-hole game is $6. For more information call (217) 235-3837.

    Putting around at Isaak’s

    Putting around at Isaaks

    Jeremy Spivey of Mattoon putts on the sixth hole at Isaak’s Family Fun Wednesday evening. The indoor-miniature golf course uses black light, putting a new spin on the game. Robbie Wroblewski/On the Verge


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