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12/12/2012 10:05:00 AM
Trio hopes local young adults will flock to alcohol-free club
Mark Norwood and Dave and Melissa Thomas have opened TRAX in Prescott Valley.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
Mark Norwood and Dave and Melissa Thomas have opened TRAX in Prescott Valley.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
A group of teens awaits other young people on the spacious dance floor right after opening this past Saturday night.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
A group of teens awaits other young people on the spacious dance floor right after opening this past Saturday night.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
Heidi Dahms-Foster
Special to the Tribune

Dave and Melissa Thomas and Mark Norwood want to provide something safe and fun for local youth to do, and they hope their young adult club concept will take off here like it has in other communities.

Dave said he and Mark were bouncers for a bar in Denver, when they asked to rent the building on Sunday night for a non-alcohol young adult scene.

"We felt a need for it," Mark said. "There are too many young adults partaking in immoral and illegal activities, and we wanted to give them an option to curb pregnancy and underage drinking."

The club was wildly successful.

"It was on fire," Dave said. "It went so well that the owner of the building went alcohol free all the time and put us out of business."

The three then started their own successful club in Denver, and ran it for several years.

"Clubs last about three to five years, and then someone else does something new, and the young adults find it," Dave said.

When Dave's father became ill, he moved back to New Jersey, and later started another club in Binghampton, New York.

Later, Dave wanted to move back out west, but he didn't want to return to Denver. Dave and Melissa looked all over Northern Arizona before settling on Prescott Valley.

"We didn't know a soul here. We came a year ago in August and we love it," Dave said.

Then, after 14 years, Dave and Mark reconnected on Facebook.

Mark had worked in his own repossession company and as a bail bondsman. After reconnecting with Dave and Melissa, the three talked about starting another club.

Mark moved to Prescott Valley three months ago to help get a young adult club going in the community, and TRAX opened Nov. 2 at 6711 E. 2nd Street in Prescott Valley.

Melissa asserts that Dave and Mark are a good team at whatever venture they tackle together. They needle each other good naturedly, and Mark only half jokes that he is "Prescott Valley's most eligible bachelor." They are serious, however, about providing a safe venue for the area's young people to hang out, play games and dance.

"Melissa and I saw there was a need here for something for the kids to do. My son is one of them. They hang out at ED, so I explained to Mark that I wanted to get a club going," Dave said.

The trio looked at four buildings before finding the right one, a more than spacious location that allows for a large game and dance area, and separate rooms for private parties.

"We asked a lot of kids if they would like it if we put this together," Melissa said.

"They said yes, that all they did was hang out and watch fights."

The problem is not only in Prescott Valley, Dave said.

"It's in every community. There is a gap in entertainment from the eighth and ninth grade until teens are adults. There are a lot of activities for younger kids, then they get older and need something to do," he said.

The three are pleasantly surprised at the manners of local youth, Dave said.

"Everyone is very polite, and that's the kind of people we want. Our goal is to provide a safe, fun environment where parents can send their teens," he said.

TRAX is the prerequisite loud, with one or more DJs whenever it's open. Strobe and colored lights add ambience to the darkened room. Pool tables line one end of the large space and a concession area the other. Air hockey is available, and soon, video and other games will be set up in the large hallways.

The club has a strict zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs, and during the Friday night high-school-only event, once teens enter, they must stay for the duration, or if they leave, they cannot return that night. The parking lot also is patrolled, Dave said.

Saturday nights are age 18 and up, and both nights feature a variety of DJs. After the first of the year, Dave said, the club will feature live bands.

Cover charge for both nights is $10, but during December, girls get in free.

The three said many local people and businesses have helped them get TRAX off the ground, including Dave Corbett of Crazy Horse Development, Ron and Pam Norwood, Sherwyn Williams Paint, B&W Alarms, Laurie Roberts of Good Intentions, Renee Hubbard who created the Facebook page and promotional flyers, Stepping Stones, and all of the TRAX staff.

The startup has been slow so far, Dave said, but he feels it's because other such clubs have left a bad taste in people's mouths.

"Our philosophy is zero tolerance," he said. "We want it as clean as we can."

Community members are welcome to check out TRAX anytime, he said.

The club plans a non-alcohol New Year's Eve Party for all ages with presale tickets. Seven DJs will be on hand for the night.

Additionally, Dave said, the club is roomy and nice enough to host weddings or other large parties.

Check out TRAX on Facebook at www.facebook/TRAX.club. For more information, call 928-515-2305.


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