Amazing Things at Miromar Outlets features a 5D movie theater with moving seats and in-room special effects such as simulated rain, snow and lightning
Brett Kelly knows it’s a lot to live up to: If you call your new business Amazing Things, then you’d better deliver.
“We set the bar pretty high!” Kelly says and smiles.
Don’t worry, though. He and co-owner Hans Campbell think they’ve lived up to that billing.
For starters, their new Miromar Outlets business boasts a first-of-its-kind attraction for Southwest Florida: A “5D” movie theater that lets people watch short 3D movies of adrenaline-pumping spectacles like an insane roller-coaster ride or a jetpack adventure. All while sitting in motorized seats that move with every swerve, bump and explosion on-screen.
Then there’s the “fifth dimension” in the 5D micro-theater: Special effects inside the room that simulate snow, flashing lightning, fire, blowing bubbles and more.
“There’s nothing like this here,” Kelly says. “5D isn’t very well known in the United States, but it’s fairly popular throughout Asia and Europe and India.”
If that’s not enough, there are lots more amazing things inside Amazing Things. The store specializes in pop-culture, historical and sports memorabilia –— everything from Michael Jackson’s Florsheim dance shoes (complete with a tiny MJ monogram) to an ashtray from Air Force One to framed autographs from Walt Disney, Elvis Presley, Tim Tebow, Abraham Lincoln, Muhammad Ali and other celebrities.
“Our goal is to literally wow the customer,” Kelly says. “If somebody comes in and they don’t use the words ‘wow’ or ‘amazing,’ then we’ve failed in our mission.”
Amazing Things opened last week in Miromar’s Restaurant Piazza, but Kelly and Campbell had been dreaming about doing it for years.
“We finally decided to make it happen,” Campbell says.
The Fort Myers couple are long-time collectors of memorabilia, themselves. And that hobby eventually grew into a side business selling those unique items at auctions and elsewhere. Many of the high-end items in the store, in fact, come straight from their personal collection.
“We like really cool stuff,” Campbell says. “It started with, ‘We want just this one item. It’s a cool piece.’ Then it grew into a collection.”
The store’s inventory starts with low-cost items such as light bulbs that float in the air using electromagnetic energy and goes all the way up to big-ticket pieces like a handwritten pardon from Abraham Lincoln, a 7-foot-tall Darth Vader statue and a red prop phone from the TV show “I Dream of Jeannie.”
Prices range from $10 for decorative wall plaques or greeting cards to $899 for a dollar bill signed by Donald Trump or $20,000 for Michael Jackson’s autographed dance shoes. All the items come with documentation and authentication, Kelly says.
Kelly estimates they’ll spend about $1 million on the project, including the 5D micro-theater custom-made by a Chinese company.
Each row of the theater’s 16 seats rests atop servo motors that vibrate, shake and rock the chairs back and forth, up and down to what’s happening on-screen. The 3D movies — 5 to 15 minutes long each — take viewers on everything from a spaceship journey to a nature tour to an absolutely bonkers roller-coaster ride with an exploding volcano, fiery meteors and intense swerves and dives (including the coaster jumping across the chasms between broken tracks).
In all, there are about 50 different movies to choose from at Amazing Things, Kelly says, including some less-intense ones for people who don’t like all that motion. The theater’s first row is motion-free, too.
As for the special effects, the room is outfitted with — among other things — strobe lights to simulate lightning, a smoke machine, and hidden pumps that make it “rain” (it’s actually more like a mist, Kelly says), “snow” (a lightweight foam) or do other things. The idea is to better immerse yourself into what’s happening on-screen. If it’s raining in the movie, you feel the rain on your skin. If there’s fire, simulated fire starts flickering below the movie screen.
Kelly and Campbell chose Miromar Outlets because of it’s popularity among both locals and the tourist crowd. After the beaches, it’s Southwest Florida’s No. 2 attraction, Campbell says. So there should be plenty of foot traffic to sustain their new business.
The couple hopes people respond to the amazing things in Amazing Things —and that maybe this one store leads to more across Florida.
“Hopefully,” Kelly says, “this is the first of many.”
Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter), @crunnells1 (Instagram)
If you go
What: Amazing Things
Where: Suite 323 in the Restaurant Piazza in the northwest section of Miramar Outlets in Estero, just off exit 123 on Interstate 75
Store hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Info: 262-9464 or AmazingThings.com
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