Date Closed: February 16, 1999
Number of Locations: 265
Bob J. Cooney – Chief Executive Officer
Edward Bonis- Co-Founder
William R. Bauerle – Chief Operating Officer
Frank J. Ball – Executive Vice President
John McNutt – V.P. of Finance
Michael D. Kessler – V.P. of Operations and Sales
Eric Shwartzman – V.P. of Marketing And Product Development
James Johnson – V.P. of Real Estate and Construction
Dennis Potts – Chief Engineer
Harrison A. Price – Director
Harold Stripsky – Director
First Facility: Funplex, Denver, Colorado, March, 1990
Equipment: Laser Storm’s prototype equipment was acquired from a company that Bob Cooney was involved with in a marketing capacity. That equipment evolved into Laser Storm.
Laser Storm’s player equipment featured a “Disruptor 401-B” phaser gun that was connected by cord to a waist belt that contained a 6”x 4”x 3” box that contained all the electronics and the battery. Then a cord ran up to the headset from the waist belt. In 1997, Laser Storm started to offer vests for their laser tag players.
There was a RAM Chip Target Pod which players could shoot at during the game. The frequency, duration and point value of the RAM was controlled by the operator through Laser Storm’s StormTrak Computer Scoring system.
History: The company was incorporated in the state of Colorado on March 12, 1990 under the name “The Crimson Corporation – A Holding Company.” In October 1994, the Company changed its corporate name to “Laser Storm, Inc.” and also had rights to the name “Space Sport, Ltd.”
Mr. Robert J. Cooney and Mr. Edward J. Bonis in 1990 formed The Crimson Corporation which purchased the rights to a laser game system that Mr. Cooney had helped to develop. The laser tag system that resulted was originally called “Space Sport, Ltd.”
Space Sport was founded in 1990 by Bob Cooney and Ed Bonis who purchased the remaining assets of NBS-I Capital Corporation. NBS-I was developing a Laser Tag type game when it ran into management and monetary problems. Space Sport purchased the “LaserQuest” system, (no relation to Laser Quest in England), from NBS-I in November of 1990 and continued the development process.
The Space Sport Corporation was a separate company owned entirely by the Crimson Corporation which was a holding company. This was the legal corporate structure in 1990 selected by Bob Cooney and Ed Bonis.
Laser Storm was praised in its heyday:
• Laser Storm won Best New Product for Family Entertainment at IAAPA 1995.
• Laser Storm was listed at No. 251 on the Inc. 500’s Faster Growing Companies in 1996.
• In 1996, Laser Storm publically traded on the NASDAQ under the stock name LAZR.
• Laser Storm is credited for starting themed arena concept in the USA.
• Laser Storm entered into licensing deals with prestigious products like Stargate and X-Men.
The Descension of Laser Storm: According to a transcript of a 1998 hearing before the United States Trustee, Robert Cooney of Laser Storm, Inc. was asked what caused Laser Storm’s bankruptcy filing. In Cooney’s own words: “We – the company went public in May of 1996, with the intention of moving from manufacturing of sales, laser tag systems, to the operation of those systems at a retail location…. And in the process of making the transition to operations of the stores mounted significant losses……Towards the end of ’96, as we saw the losses mount, and realized that this plan wasn’t going to work, we started laying people off and trying to get the operation back to what it was before we went public.”
Laser Storm went from 70 employees to four employees from December of 1996 to June 25, 1998. Laser Storm, Inc. was eventually forced to close down in February of 1999.