By Hazel Ford–
Although you may not have noticed it on a quick trip to the Sunrise Mall, JJ’s Kids Fun Center opened in the mall last September — offering a variety of arcade games, rides and ticket prizes for kids as young as two up to adults of any age.
Activities inside the arcade include various one and two-player games, as well as the car racing simulator “Cruis’n Blast” and another game called “Waterpark,” which features a pair of spraying water guns and options for five different games.
Zaruhi “Zara” Lapayan and her husband Vladimir Harutyunyan are the owners of the new arcade and said their two-year-old son and five-year-old daughter were the inspiration for opening the center.
“I love arcades,” said the 30-year-old owner and mother of two in an interview with The Sentinel last week. “We’d been thinking of opening up a business, and since I have kids, I thought, ‘let’s do something that’s kid-friendly.'”
Games and rides each cost between one and two tokens, with tokens running 50 cents apiece. Those purchasing $20 or more receive several additional tokens for free, and also qualify to spin a wheel for winning even more tokens.
Most of the games also award tickets, which are redeemable for prizes. The prizes range from candy, for as little as five tickets, to toys and even scooters.
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Lapayan’s parents came to the United States several decades ago as Armenian immigrants, and she and her husband currently live in Rancho Cordova. Before starting the arcade, Harutyunyan worked for FedEx, while Lapayan worked for Delta dental — where she still works a second job.
The couple is already making plans for the future, with a goal to open more arcades and also add more options at their current location.
“We mostly want to expand,” Lapayan said. “We’d like to, later on, host birthday parties and supply food.”
The arcade is located just inside the south entrance of the Sunrise Mall, on the Sears side of the mall across from Macy’s Women’s. The location was previously home to GameStop.
Editor’s note: an original version of this story incorrectly referenced Zaruhi’s last name as Harutyunyan and also said she worked for Delta Airlines instead of Delta dental.