PRESTONSBURG — East Kentucky Drillers owner and coach Rick Kranz believes he’s found a way to help promote Eastern Kentucky’s very own professional football team, while at the same time offering area youths a safe and fun place to hang out.
The Drillers Den, located on North Lake Drive in a storefront recently vacated by Papa John’s, opened a week ago, offering patrons a place to play pool, air hockey and video games, watch TV on three flatscreens and enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, ice cream and other snacks.
In addition, Kranz is offering birthday parties and special party nights centered around local and professional sports. And just about anytime the gameroom is open, several East Kentucky Drillers players can be found hanging out with fans.
“It’s kid-friendly, exciting and you don’t know what to expect when you come, because the boys [Drillers players] are usually here, playing with the kids,” Kranz said.
Kranz said his original idea for the business was something along the lines of a sports bar, without the alcohol. However, the more he looked into it, the more he decided he wanted to do something for Prestonsburg youths.
“It’s just something for the kids,” Kranz said. “I’m tired of seeing them hanging out in the parking lots late at night.”
Kranz says Drillers Den birthday parties should prove to be attractive to children and parents alike. He said the facility can host up to 40 or 50 kids and that parties include cake and a meal for the kids. A member of the Drillbits, the Drillers’ dance team, hosts each party, and players show up to entertain the kids. More importantly for parents, Kranz said the parties are reasonably priced and eliminate the hassle of planning before and cleanup afterward.
Kranz said he has tried to keep prices reasonable and the atmosphere fun at the Drillers Den, a move he sees as a key ingredient to his business plan.
“No matter how much you advertise, the best advertising is word-of-mouth,” Kranz said. “That’s why I try to treat everyone so good.”
The Drillers Den is only the latest effort by the team to reach out to the community. Players have spent recent weeks visiting students at area schools, and last weekend saw a special kids’ night during the Drillers’ game against the Rome Rampage. The Drillers won that game by a comfortable margin, 88-20.
The Drillers are currently in the second season. The season lasts until June 9.