info@ohiointernetsweepstakes.comLORAIN — The game is on for Lorain’s new Internet sweepstakes cafes.
OHIO INTERNET SWEEPSTAKES

Gold Dust Sweepstakes Internet Cafe opened Friday at 1408 Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain, becoming the third in two weeks to go through Lorain’s licensing procedure.



Gold Dust has 30 game terminals and by yesterday afternoon had drawn more than 200 players, said owner Kathy Skibniewski, a retired teacher who owns the cafe.

“We had a great opening day,” Skibniewski said.

The new Internet cafe offers brown leather seats, light wood desks, carpeted floor and two electric fireplaces with rocking chairs for players who want to take a break.

Gold Dust also features coffee, tea, fountain drinks, fresh popcorn and hot dogs.

The building also features parking that wraps around it on three sides, a handicap-access ramp, exterior lighting and a network of security cameras inside and out.

The purpose of the features is to create a comfortable, safe and friendly environment for players, Skibniewski said.

“I just didn’t pop into this,” she said. “I knew what I wanted in a business.”

Since 2006, she and her father, Richard Zutavern, 94, have played at sweepstakes cafes from Cleveland to Fremont so Skibniewski said she knew what kind of atmosphere she wanted to create.

The building was the former Blue Plate restaurant.

“This was really a decrepit building but we’re trying to do a lot of renovation here,” manager Elaine Barricklow said. Skibniewski credited Barricklow’s business management experience, and the help from sweepstakes cafe owners Randy and Audrey Gibson, for the successful opening.

“I have a lot of friends in the sweepstakes community,” Skibniewski said.

She predicted the cafes in Lorain would help each other gain business, not lose it.

“Most of the customers go from place to play,” Skibniewski said. “One business can enhance another business.”

Yesterday, Zutavern sat among the customers playing games.

“I’d rather have him here and having fun instead of sitting in a chair and sleeping,” Skibniewski said.

She added she wants to help other Lorain businesses. On opening day, Skibniewski gave gift certificates to El Arriero restaurant to the first 100 customers and some of its popcorn and hot dog equipment come from Lorain Novelty.

Gold Dust also offers a facsimile machine and photocopy services. Hours are 10 a.m. to midnight, but in coming months the open times will expand from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. the following morning.

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