Dave & Buster's to open at Bell Tower in April; hiring event scheduled - Southern Business Review

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Dave & Buster's to open at Bell Tower in April; hiring event scheduled


After much anticipation, Dave & Buster's will open its doors at Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers next month.


The one-of-a-kind entertainment venue will roll out its 126th location April 8, replacing the former Saks Fifth Avenue store at the popular open-air shopping center, near the corner of Daniels Parkway and U.S. 41.


The Saks store closed in October 2016.


The new Dave & Buster's — at the north end of the shopping center — will be a first for Southwest Florida.


"We're finding a lot of great partners in mall communities," said Rob Peterson, general manager for the Dallas-based chain of restaurant-entertainment complexes. "We feel with our brand we have something to offer, especially as some of the big box units are closing down. We feel we are a perfect fit to fill in some of those voids."




The venue will span about 40,000 square feet — in line with the typical size of newer locations for Dave & Buster's, which are a bit smaller, yet still pack in the same amount of fun as the older ones, Peterson said.


More: Dave & Buster's to open at Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers in early 2019


The Florida market, he said, has been "amazing" for Dave & Buster's, and the company set its sights on the Fort Myers area because of its growth.


"We're going to be first," Peterson said. "We know there will be competitors behind us, but right now we are going to be first and we're going to show our best foot forward and make sure everybody understands what Dave & Buster's is."


The most similar offering in Lee County is GameTime, which opened at Gulf Coast Town Center in December 2015. Then there is HeadPinz Entertainment Center, which launched in the summer of 2015 on Treeline Avenue near Southwest Florida International Airport.


Hiring for the new Dave & Buster's store will begin in earnest this week.


More than 200 jobs are available. The open positions are for both front- and back-of-house operations. That includes servers, bartenders, hosts, line cooks and game techs.


Since it officially announced plans to open at Bell Tower last year, Dave & Buster's has received more than 1,000 applications for the store. 


Still, others who are interested are encouraged to apply at DaveandBusters.com/careers. 


With the store still under construction, a hiring center will be staged at the Hilton Garden Inn, 12600 University Drive in Fort Myers.


Hiring will begin Wednesday and run through March 22. Full- and part-time jobs are available. 


Since Peterson began traveling to Fort Myers regularly in January, he said he's heard a lot of feedback and buzz about the store opening from neighboring shop owners and managers, Realtors and others in the community.


"They've heard about us and they're excited about us and it gets me excited too," Peterson said. 


Offering handcrafted food and beverages, state-of-the-art video games, and special events and parties, Dave & Busters has "something for everybody," which has been an important ingredient in its recipe for success, he said.


"A majority of our business does come from the gaming side," Peterson said.


Another big reason for Dave & Buster's success, he said, is its employees, who enjoy coming to work "because they get treated fairly and have fun."


"People just enjoy being in our environment," Peterson said. "And that is what has really made us successful all these years. It's about our people."  


The new store has been more than a year in the making.


According to Lee County property records, Dave & Buster's executed the lease for the Fort Myers location on Dec. 19, 2017, and the landlord finalized it on January 2018.


The lease is for 15 years, with the possibility of an extension.


As of February 2019, Dave & Buster's had more than 120 locations in the United States and Canada. The company expects to add about 14 new locations this year.