By: Charles County Economic Development Team

Scary Strokes, Doug and LaNeta Roth’s monster-themed family entertainment center, has been in Waldorf for only a couple of years, but it’s already recognized as a beloved haunt—in the best way possible. The 11,000-square-foot entertainment center, located at Technology Place, features 18 holes of blacklight miniature golf, creatively creepy artwork, up-to-the-minute arcade games, and other family-friendly activities.

Doug and LaNeta believe that the best ideas come from childhood dreams. When their children were young, the Roth family started a flag football league to teach the basics of the game in a relaxed atmosphere. The Roths hoped to draw 80 players but attracted 288 children and families! Doug and LaNeta ran the Southern Maryland Youth Flag Football League—the only one of its kind in the state—for over a decade.

Once their children were grown and flown, the Roths remembered these experiences fondly and decided to make playtime a profession. Recalling family fun at a Florida mini-golf course and his own love of the game, Doug said to LaNeta, “‘Hey, let’s do this.” And the idea for a high-tech entertainment center was born.

Scary Strokes fills a valuable niche in Charles County’s family entertainment scene, as it encourages families to golf—and giggle—together. “Supporting unique, local businesses like this one is a real pleasure,” says Darréll Brown, Director of the Charles County Economic Development Department. “It brings variety and vibrancy to the county, which is what we try to promote.”

A devotion to delight drives this family’s vision. Despite the monster theme, Scary Strokes is more playful than petrifying. “It’s great for kids and adults alike,” Doug Roth says, adding that their regular customers include older couples on date nights and younger crowds drawn to arcade games. When visitors enter for the first time, “their eyes just light up,” he observes. They are “in awe that they’ve just stepped into another world.” Childhood isn’t a stage; it’s simply a state of mind.

This fall, Scary Strokes debuted the Omni Virtual Reality Arena, the world’s first four-person virtual reality experience. It allows friends to play together or to compete in real-time for cash prizes. The Roths love bringing ghoulish gaming experiences to their Charles County customers and will expand their offerings in response to customer demand.

A winning combination of support from the Charles County Economic Development Department, robust social media, and word-of-mouth paved the way for a “spooktacular” start for this small business. To learn more about Charles County’s entrepreneurship resources, high-visibility real estate, and demographics, visit our Business Support page.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...