For many northeast Indiana families, “the lake” is a weekend getaway synonymous with memories of summer fun.
After all, the region is home to more than 200 lakes
—be it Lake James, Sylvan Lake, or Crooked Lake, just to name a few.
Now, a husband and wife team in Angola is looking to make their laketown a year-round destination with an ice cream shop and mini golf concept called The Backyard Creamery and Miniature Golf slated to open later this month.
Krista and Eric Hall of Fort Wayne are the dynamic duo behind the forthcoming business. Once operational, The Backyard will serve up sweets and offer entertainment to locals and out-of-town visitors alike.
In other words, it’s the stuff of childhood dreams, Krista explains.
“I spent a lot of time up in the Angola area growing up," she says. "We would go to this miniature golf place—Pokagon Falls Miniature Golf. It was our family's little tradition every year.”
The Halls have renovated the former Pokagon Falls Miniature Golf.
The business ended up closing, but things came full circle when an opportunity presented itself. Krista had been working as a financial planner in Angola and was presented with a promotion, but it didn’t feel right, she explains.
Around that same time, Pokagon Falls Miniature Golf came up for sale, and she saw it as an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I said to my husband, 'I want to do something crazy. I want to quit my job, and I want to buy this mini golf place, and we'll go from there,'" she recalls.
Krista and Eric Hall of Fort Wayne own The Backyard.
Since then, everything has seemed to fall in place.
Today, Krista handles the operations as CEO, and Eric is the behind-the-scenes guy as the Chief Marketing Officer. They both have a shared vision of making The Backyard an affordable and family-friendly establishment, as well as an escape from today’s screen-centric lifestyle.
Krista wants the experience to conjure the "old days" when kids would go to their friend’s backyard to play for hours on end. It was a simpler time, she says, and she hopes the concept will resonate with guests of all ages.
“It's something fun to do—even if it's a gorgeous sunny day,” she says. “Sometimes, you just need a break from the lake, and then somewhere to take the kids without having to spend too much money.”
Eric and Krista Hall have high hopes for The Backyard, which will include a minigolf course.
To that end, she says The Backyard will have mini golf, backyard games, and a selection of Hudsonville Ice Cream and flavored coffees. The setup will allow for both indoor and outdoor entertainment year-round, she explains.
The latter is an important distinction because they’ll fulfill an unmet need in the Angola community by keeping their doors open after the summer rush. Once the lake season ends, most businesses shut their doors for the season, which means there's not much for the people who live there year-round to do.
The Halls are busy renovating the interior in time for a late spring debut. The Backyard’s grand opening is scheduled for May 17. In the meantime, fans call follow progress on their Facebook page