Christina Vitagliano: Creating ‘Monstrous’ Amounts of Family Fun.



Whether you are a small child or an older retired person, we all have one thing in common, and that is at some point in our lives, we have been to a gaming arcade and found frolic and entertainment in games like pinball, ping-pong, bowling, and mini-golf. While the contemporary arcade gaming scene began in the 1930s with the first few coin-operated pinball machines, other games, particularly mini-golf or putt-putt, planted their roots as far back as 1827 in Scotland.

As the decades passed and technology evolved, the games kept getting better and the levels of human engagement increased multifold leading to the creation of an entire industry of family entertainment providers. Today, we have thousands of family entertainment brands throughout the world, but one of them has emerged as the pinnacle in family entertainment for people of all age groups due to its distinctive ambiance and engaging services. 

On the mission to provide every guest – whether they’re 5 or 95 – the most unique, affordable, engaging, and fun family entertainment options, Monster Mini Golf, has revolutionized the industry with their black-light, monster-themed entertainment zones. Founded in 2004 and spearheaded by CEO, Christina Vitagliano, Monster Mini Golf now operates out of more than 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

The Monster Awakens

“The concept of Monster Mini Golf began in 2003. I was looking to create a business with a small list of requirements; the concept had to cost less than the movies, be easily managed, require little to no inventory, and most importantly, it had to be different and uniquely fun,” says Christina. She had noticed over the years that there were no entertainment options, other than the movies, for groups and families. Furthermore, Christina resides in North-East Connecticut, where the weather is pleasant only 90 days a year. 

With no cost-effective year-round family entertainment avenues, Christina set her eyes on mini-golf as the bridge to affordable family entertainment. She wanted her community to enjoy her services year-long and did not want them to be limited to just 3 months a year. Thus, an indoor business model was the way to go. She built the first Monster Mini Golf herself in an old beat-up mill, making the monsters with whatever she could cut and mold. When asked why monsters, Christina replies “Monsters can be anything that one creates from one’s own imagination. And honestly…Monsters were affordable.” So, with a handful of working capital and the desire to generate engaging, happy, and affordable entertainment, the first Monster Mini Golf teed off. 

Christina Vitagliano

“Each venue is uniquely designed, filled with witty relatable local pop culture artwork, interactive fun monsters as upbeat music broadcasts from an on-course radio station. We appeal to humans of ALL ages!”

Since 2004, Monster Mini Golf has set the standards for excellence in Family Entertainment across the USA & Canada. What initially started off as a self-made mini-golf course has now evolved into sprawling state-of-the-art, indoor, climate-controlled facilities which are completely under the luminescent glow of black lights. These locations offer year-round activities like bowling and laser tag, ultra-modern gaming arcades, posh birthday parties & event rooms, and of course, full-fledged 18-hole glow-in-the-dark monster-themed mini golf courses.  

Unleashing The Monster

The very first Monster Mini Golf was a huge success, attracting more people than Christina could have imagined. Seeing the joy her facility brought people, Christina began to consider franchising and expanding to other locations. “You can either open more corporate locations or you can franchise. We decided on a franchise because we wanted to have adults running and owning a family entertainment center, states Christina.

Now, with 30+ locations across the U.S. and Canada, Monster Mini Golf is a cut above the rest owing to its innovative portfolio of offerings and strong guest experience. This has also placed them as an attractive proposition for franchisors all over the country. These franchise operators come from a myriad of industries and backgrounds, shares Christina. They all have one common thread, however – an outgoing personality and the true desire to entertain others!

“Each venue is uniquely designed, filled with witty relatable local pop culture artwork, interactive fun monsters as upbeat music broadcasts from an on-course radio station. We appeal to humans of ALL ages!”

At the helm, the Monster Mini Golf franchise is driven by its strong development teams who are excellent at branding, marketing, and daily operations. The franchise teams train the franchisors in all operational and functional aspects of how to operate a high-performing Monster Mini Golf location. This tried and tested model drives everything like site selection, third-party financial assistance, planning the grand openings, training of the management and the staff, and much more. 

Keeping ahead and staying Monstrous

If you think about it, Mini Golf is one of the fewer group activities that people of all ages can participate in together. Whether you are going out on a date, going out with a group of adults, your colleagues, or your family, the first thing one usually does is get online and look up ‘fun things to do in the area.’ Monster Mini Golf is that fun thing!

Even during the pandemic, people found solace and had fun times at the various locations of Monster Mini Golf. This being an activity where social distance is inevitable, attracted people from all over when restaurants, malls, and other social places were not operating. Throughout the pandemic, Christina and her team of franchise owners worked closely together in order to fine-tune their business plan so that they could continue to provide fun, yet safe family entertainment to their communities, even in trying times.

“Each venue is uniquely designed, filled with witty relatable local pop culture artwork, interactive fun monsters as upbeat music broadcasts from an on-course radio station. We appeal to humans of ALL ages!”

Today, Christina is a revered name in the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) sector, and Monster Mini Golf is a name that is common in every household in America and Canada. Looking back Christina remembers the prejudices she had to face as a woman working towards expanding her brand and becoming a successful franchise owner. She, however, remained focused on her objective and stayed undeterred by the noise around her. Christina has always been a creative thinker and a strong marketer, regularly coming up with fun and quirky, monster-themed branding initiatives which have propelled her organization to greater heights. She has recently self-published a book that she had written a long time ago. 

Ever since its inception, Monster Mini Golf has witnessed scalable growth in the family entertainment sector on all fronts. “We’re always building something new,” says Christina, looking eagerly forward to launching her upcoming locations in Memphis, Tennessee, and Long Island, New York. For now, and the foreseeable future, Christina remains deeply involved in her purpose to create family entertainment zones for the people of her community. And as far as the Monster Mini Golf franchise is concerned, the best is surely yet to come.   

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