When Tim Kerns and Paul Gerber first moved to Bend, one of the first things they noticed was that there was plenty to do with each of their families — as long as it was outside, and the weather was nice.
So the two fathers thought about what could be fun for families to do on Bend’s west side when the weather wasn’t so nice. Their answer was to open Walt Reilly’s, an 11,000-square-foot indoor family recreation center and restaurant.
“I think in Bend we are outdoor-oriented, but there’s not always great weather,” Gerber said. “In our opinion, there’s not enough indoor activities, and that shaped our vision.”
The recreational center will take the place of the furniture store DeJa Vu Interiors at 225 SW Century Drive by next summer, Kerns and Gerber hope. The center, which the two purchased last November, will include a restaurant run by the executive chef and staff of Jackson’s Corner, golf simulators, batting cages, bowling and other activities.
“We see Century (Drive) being a great place for restaurants and (for) families to come together and have an entertainment experience,” Kerns said.
Their journey began about three years ago, when the two both moved their families from the San Francisco Bay Area to Central Oregon. Kerns, who works in real estate, and Gerber, a former dentist, saw an opportunity at the Century Drive location to serve families on the west side in the same way Trampoline Zone & Adventure Park and Pickleball Zone do for people on the east side of town.
“We see this concept as an experience the whole family can enjoy together,” Kerns said. “Paul and I both have kids between the ages of 9 and 14, and we see the middle school, high school and millennial demographics as being underserved.”
Kerns and Gerber are “pretty excited” about the location’s proximity to Oregon State University-Cascades, as they hope to attract college students, as well.
The location is ideal because it sits on the entrance of the Cascades Lake Highway, where they hope to catch people wanting to relax on their way back from their day of skiing or biking.
But the center is also personal for Kerns and Gerber. The name, Walt Reilly’s, is an homage to Gerber’s dad Walt and Kerns’ grandmother Kathleen Reilly.
Each taught them to love hosting and hospitality, and the value of the sense of community that can develop when people are brought together.
The two hope to bring that sense of community to their center, Gerber said.
“There’s a sense of magic and energy that comes out of people coming together,” Gerber said.
— Reporter: 541-633-2160, email@example.com