After 24 years in business, Laser Quest Potomac Mills is closing Feb. 1.
One of 25 Laser Quest locations, the Woodbridge attraction was unable to reach an agreement for a new lease, according to general manager Michelle Rao.
For years, the laser tag facility has been an active member of the community, going beyond the many birthday parties hosted for children. Crew members have acted as judges for local robotics competitions, participated in the Dale City Fourth of July parade, and helped to lead the education and innovation committee of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.
Elisa Uribe, a manager at Laser Quest Potomac Mills, told InsideNoVa she wanted fans of the center to keep their spirits high. “Even though we’re closing, the memories we all made aren’t going anywhere.”
Since announcing the closing Jan. 21, Laser Quest employees have received well-wishes from members of the community as customers visit the center one final time before it shuts down for good.
“People who’ve been coming here for years are saying, ‘There goes my childhood,’” Rao said.
The community’s embrace of Laser Quest was one of the best parts of her job, she added. “Wherever we went, people always had a positive connotation with Laser Quest. Whether it’s kids cheering at the Fourth of July parade or teachers visiting us on a field trip.”
Through Laser Quest’s many partnerships and connections with area organizations, Rao has met dozens of community leaders.
“There’s something special about this community and our relationship with it,” she said.
Joseph Laville III, a supervisor at Laser Quest Potomac Mills, said he was incredulous when he learned the site was closing. “I just did not compute,” he said, describing the state of the center’s customers and staff in one word: heartbroken.
Denyse Carroll, Robotics & STEM Initiatives specialist for Prince William County Public Schools, noted that the Laser Quest facility has accommodated several events for the school system’s robotics programs.
“They support our adult coaches by hosting our VEX coaches’ kick-off meeting, and our students with their holiday parties and team fundraisers,” Carroll said.
However, this isn’t what she’ll remember about Laser Quest. “The staff at Laser Quest has also rolled up their sleeves and helped judge both SeaPerch and FIRST LEGO League robotics events,” Carroll said.
The Prince William Chamber of Commerce expressed similar sentiments. In a statement to InsideNoVa, the chamber said, “The Laser Quest staff’s passion and commitment for educating and engaging our youth is truly inspiring.”
Laser Quest Potomac Mills has been a member of the chamber for 24 years and has led the education and innovation committee for the past 12 years. “Their impact in developing our workforce for today and tomorrow will be truly missed!”
Rao said that her goal was to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and she felt like she has been able to achieve that goal. “I’d like to think we’ve left the people and this community better than we found it.”
The Laser Quest crew had a parting thought for the facility that has been their home for so many years: Now this will just be an empty space where fun used to be.