08/16/10 — Workin' it - All Stars Family Fun Center

View Archive

Workin' it - All Stars Family Fun Center

By Laura Collins
Published in News on August 16, 2010 2:12 PM

The Job: Employee

The Company: All Stars Family Fun Center

The Location: Goldsboro

When I first arrived at All Stars Family Fun Center, I thought I was in store for a pretty easy day. There were only four or five other cars in the parking lot, so I thought the place wouldn't be too busy.

Then I saw the bus.

It was parked inconspicuously at the far end of the parking lot and carried 28 4-year-olds from a local day care. If that doesn't sound terrifying, it should.

When I got inside, I met Kevin Whitfield, who co-owns the company with his uncle, Carl Lancaster. Working with me that day was Hannah Grantham, 17, who described herself as "employee of the month." Also working with me was Lucille Lancater, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who actually calls her that. Everyone at All Stars knows her as Granny. She is the Lancaster's mother and Whitfield's grandmother. She reminds me of the wise grandmother from the Disney "Pocahontas" movie, so I thought it would be best if I followed her around most of the day.

The four of us were in charge of making lunch for the daycare kids. It consisted of cheese and pepperoni pizza, french fries and 28 Sierra Mists, because it doesn't have caffeine in it. The Employee of the Month and I began setting the tables for the children and that's when I first realized it's possible she's familiar with some my previous jobs.

"Can you carry these drinks to the table?" she said and handed me a tray with two drinks on it. Each of her trays had 12. I could have at least carried the remaining four, but no. Apparently two was all she thought I could handle, or at least all she was willing to sacrifice had I dropped the tray. I don't blame her.

We lined the plates with pepperoni pizza on one side of the table and the plates with cheese pizza on the other side of the table so we could seat them accordingly. This is where I had a minor misunderstanding with a 4-year-old.

"Do you want pepperoni or cheese?" I asked the little girl.

"No," she said while shaking her head.

I thought she misunderstood me, so I asked again and got the same response.

"It was an 'or' question," I clarified. "Do you want to eat pepperoni pizza OR cheese pizza?"

"No," she said again.

"OK, cheese it is," I said and sat her on the cheese pizza side. She seemed fine with it.

After lunch, the kids filed out and left on their bus without any incident. I was amazed how easy it was, although I can't take any of the credit. As it turns out The Fun Factory is quite possibly the world's best babysitter. It is a huge inflatable obstacle course/jungle gym. It has inclines, slides, ropes and even a zip line.

It also seems to have some sort of magnetic force. I noticed this the first time when a mom mistakenly thought her children would eat lunch at the Fun Center before they went to play. Not so. The mom and her son came up to the register to order lunch. By the time she was finished with her order, she turned to look at him and he was already gone. Another victim of The Fun Factory force field.

In addition to The Fun Factory, All Stars also has miniature golf, batting cages, and indoor arcade-style games where you can win tickets. Before I left for the day, Whitfield asked me to help one of the kids pick out a prize.

"First you have to count the tickets," he said.

"OK," I said, then turned to look at the tickets he had. "Oh, no."

I walked over to the end of the counter and there was a huge pile of game tickets that needed to be counted. Six hundred and twenty-two tickets later, I was ready to go, although I must admit, watching the little boy pick out his prize was worth it.

One thing I learned that day is that All Stars is aptly named as a Family Fun Center. Not only is it a place where families can come and spend time together, it's also a place run by a family, a family who enjoys working together and being at the Fun Center as much as the guests do.

"I've worked here 15 years and I like it all," Granny said. "I just like helping them out, and I get to work with my son and grandson."