Nerf arena coming to Liberty Tree Mall

Aloha Mini Glow Golf owner Douglas Molina plans on opening another business called "Nerf Arena" at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers. JAIME CAMPOS/Staff photo 11/22/2019

DANVERS — While visiting his wife's family in Hawaii, Douglas Molina came across Pups of War, a Nerf arena that focused on keeping kids active.

"I really liked it," said the owner of Aloha Mini Glow Golf at the Northshore Mall. "It is a very fun place and the kids love it."

After connecting with the founders of the recreational and entertainment facility, Molina returned to the North Shore with a mission to recreate the experience. 

Pups of War, a Nerf arena with locations in Kapolei, Kaneohe, and Aiea, Hawaii, is scheduled to set up an inside location now at the Liberty Tree Mall. 

"Danvers...is very populated and there are not enough things for (children) to do," explained Molina, the owner of the proposed North Shore location. "This can be a place where kids get to play and run around a bit."

A Nerf arena is a large space, with both inside and outside models, where participants can compete against each other using Nerf guns and foam bullets. 

"This is something that is different that I wanted to bring here," said Molina. 

With hopes of keeping it local, the arena is going to replicate key features of Boston. "We are going to have a miniature city and have nice paintings to go with the idea," said Molina. 

In addition to providing entertainment for children and their families, according to the Molina's special permit application, the arena will supply retail display and sale of X-Shot and Nerf brand blasters toys and accessories, Pups of War logo apparel, pre-packaged snack food, water, soda and juice.

"There will be a lounge area with sofas and tables where parents can bring their work and watch their kids play," explained Molina. 

The Nerf arena is scheduled to be located between the mall's Marshalls department store and AMC Theatres, confirmed Simon Mall's Area Director of Marketing Lauren Dalis.

Glitterati Prom Dress Outlet, the former occupant of that space, has moved next to Five Below where Crazy 8 used to be located. 

Glitterati's co-founder Christopher Wood said they are pleased with their new space and hope that the Nerf arena can utilize their old location. 

"The move is exciting," said Wood. "It is a positive thing as I think that it is bringing traffic to the mall, as the mall is trying to stay in business."

Wood explained the he has seen malls adapting to fit the ongoing competition with online shopping.

"Amazon is putting a dent in these malls," he said. "These malls are adapting by bringing in gyms, churches, and swimming pools."

"They are trying to do creative things," said Wood.

Molina is estimating that Nerf darts will be blasting their way to the Liberty Tree in two and a half months. 

"It is a beautiful town," said Molina. "This is the infrastructure that is already here and I want to make good use of this space." 

On Dec. 10, the Planning Board will be holding a public hearing in the Toomey Hearing Room, 1 Sylvan St., at Town Hall, 7 p.m., to discuss Molina's request for a special permit to allow the indoor recreation/entertainment facility at the mall. 

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-338-2527 or tbradford@northofboston.com.

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