Press Democrat: September 29th, 2010


By Robert Digitale

Fairfield DR Storefront

Driven Raceway's Grand Opening:
Oct. 16th in Fairfield, CA

Driven Raceway of Rohnert Park is expanding electric go-kart racing to a second location in Fairfield. And the recent passage of a federal law to aid small businesses could allow the company to receive lending for a third site, the company's founders said.

"That's going to open an opportunity for us to grow the business," said Rod Towery, a co-owner and chief operating officer for the company.

The company, which began operations a year ago in a vacant retail building, is opening its Fairfield facility Oct. 16. The site is a former Circuit City store near Highway 80 and the Westfield Solano shopping center off Travis Boulevard. The company financed both locations partly with loans from Redwood Credit Union, with backing by the Small Business Administration.

The limit on such lending formerly was $2 million, said Matt Stearn, Driven's other co-owner and its chief executive officer. But the law President Obama signed Monday raised the limit to $5 million, an increase big enough to make the company eligible for future lending.

Driven Raceway offers customers the chance to race on an indoor track with Italian-made go-karts that can reach speeds of 45 mph. The company is growing in a recession in part by getting good deals on vacant retail space and locking in rates via long-term leases.

"We're able to get rents that we wouldn't be able to get three years ago," Stearn said.

The owners chose Fairfield partly for its size, median income level and its proximity, within an hour of Sonoma County. Stearn said its location will give the co-owners experience with a more remote location, but still one they can "actively manage" when needed.

Towery said having two locations will provide some economy of scale, including a staff that can do sales and events coordination for both facilities. The expansion also will provide the company a more stable cash flow, he said.

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