TUMWATER - Apex Karting, an indoor go-kart track that was in business for nearly three years near Olympia Regional Airport, will close at the end of the month as a result of the slower economy, a co-owner said Friday.
The last day for racing is Jan. 29, and the business will close Jan. 31.
Co-owner Walker Armstrong, who launched the business in May 2008, acknowledged that the timing for starting the business wasn’t ideal because the recession was under way by then, and it would only get worse later in the year. Still, already committed to their business venture, they moved forward with it, Armstrong said.
“You can’t pull the bullet back once you pull the trigger,” he said, adding that the business targeted corporate and business events but that as the economy slowed, corporate events at Apex slowed too.
“All I can say is a lot of successful people in the country have failed one, two or three times, and we are going to take these lessons learned and apply them later on,” he said. “Ultimately, they will pay off for us.”
Apex operates its indoor track in a 50,000-square-foot facility at the Port of Olympia’s New Market Industrial Campus. It has a nearly quarter-mile race track, a snack bar, three meeting rooms for parties, a driver orientation room, a maintenance shop and 21 U.S.-made Stratos racing go-karts.
Each go-kart has a 9-horsepower gasoline engine and weighs about 270 pounds, and although the top speed wasn’t disclosed, it “feels like 40 mph,” Armstrong told The Olympian shortly after the business opened.
Walker and Harmonie Armstrong opened the business with Phil and Dede Jasperson.
Fourteen employees will lose their jobs, Walker said. Another unfortunate aspect of closing is that the business won’t be raising money for South Sound charities, he said. In the past, Apex had raised $10,000 for a Toys for Tots program and $3,000 for the Thurston County Food Bank.
“People had a good time for a good cause,” Armstrong said. He added that the four owners never paid themselves a salary in the 33 months the business was open, paying their bills and employees first.
Jeff Powell, who co-owns the Apex Karting building, said it will be put up for sale and lease. The open design of the building could cater to commercial, light industrial and recreational uses.
“We have a lot of flexib- ility with the facility,” he said.
Armstrong urged customers to use any unused race time now because the business will not be able to give refunds. Credit cards no longer will be auto-billed effective Feb. 1.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/bizblog