Arts & Entertainment Business

Business spotlight: Sustainable fun at Ocean5

Posted on November 14th, 2022 By: Julie Warrick Ammann

“We always come for happy hour because it’s only five dollars,” Gig Harbor resident Tessa Rhymer says in-between chuckles and smiles as she bowls with her kids on a cloudy autumn afternoon at Ocean5, a 57,000-square-foot entertainment and meeting center in West Gig Harbor.

She points down toward the floor and adds, “and you can wear your own shoes!”

On Wednesdays and Thursdays between 3 and 5 p.m., Ocean5 offers bowling for $5 per person.

Rhymer’s daughter, 8-year-old Atlas, swings her arms in the air in triumph and walks toward her mother and older brother Kale, who proudly states that he is “almost 10!” Kale and his mother have waited patiently, as bowlers do, comfortably seated in their cushy booth that is both modern and nostalgic in design.

Atlas Tilly celebrates while bowling at Ocean5. Julie Warrick Ammann

Now it’s their turn to roll the neon bowling ball toward 10 white pins down the alley, cinematically mood-lit in shades of blue and green, below a bank of luminous video screens gently pulsating images of marine life.

Young Atlas sports a cheery white t-shirt with colorful flowers, rainbow, and bursting sun that reads, “Our planet needs us.”

Ocean as a metaphor and more

The planet is where the story of Ocean5 begins.

More than 70% of the planet Earth’s surface is covered by one giant ocean, representing 97% of the earth’s water. The five oceans are the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and the Southern Ocean which is off the coast of Antarctica. They combine to form one world ocean, AKA the Ocean 5.

“This is about connections,” says Ocean5 founder Troy Alstead, who saw the flowing of the world’s oceans into one as a symbol for connection and a perfect name for a business focused on community and sustainability.

In 2016, after 24 years, Alstead left his role as chief operating officer at Starbucks. But his journeys across the globe for the coffee giant with stores in more than 60 countries, left their mark on him. It opened windows to communities and environments, influencing his mission as an impact entrepreneur.

From Amsterdam to Shanghai, Alstead witnessed communities “gather in all kinds of ways.” No matter where you go, said Alstead, there are meeting places.

Troy Alstead spent a career as an executive at Starbucks. After raising four children in Gig Harbor, he wanted to fill the need for a multiage gathering space here, which led to Ocean5. Julie Warrick Ammann

Recognizing a need

Raising four kids in Gig Harbor, Alstead recognized there was a need for a gathering place that catered to both adults and children.

He recalls sitting with parents as they watched their kids play at a birthday party. A parent sighed: “I would give my left arm for a glass of wine.”

That got Alstead thinking, dreaming up a place that could be fun for everyone while also providing an “aesthetic appeal,” or “elevated experience.”

But this elevated experience included a bigger mission. While living abroad and traveling the world for Starbucks, Alstead, a 1985 University of Washington graduate, witnessed the challenges facing the oceans and seas. His love for the ocean began as a kid growing up in Puyallup with a family who “camped all the time, all over the state.”

Along with many visits to ocean beaches with his family, world explorers and adventure fascinated Alstead as a young boy. His time living in the Midwest and abroad enhanced his level of appreciation for the Pacific Northwest landscape, now marveling at everyday backdrops like Mt. Rainier.

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“There’s nothing like that,” said Alstead speaking with reverence of Rainier’s majesty.

Charlie Pratt, 8, and Kacey Pratt, 6, enjoy a game of air hockey at Ocean5. Julie Warrick Ammann

A very outdoorsy family

His love of the outdoors and the ocean informed his own parenting in Gig Harbor. He encouraged his kids to unplug and be active. For fun, the family camped in the backyard for a week each summer.

Today, his now young adult children still come home for the Alstead backyard summer camping. However, gone are the days of sleeping on the ground, replaced instead with a more, “elevated experience” with the use of air mattresses.

The passion and concern for the ocean has also passed on to his children, who are all scuba certified. Diving, Alstead believes, has allowed his kids to have an “appreciation for what we have.”

All of these personal and professional experiences have informed Alstead and shaped a business and community philosophy that is steeped in sustainability and connection. Ocean5 is a LEED-certified building with off-the-grid geothermal energy.

The bar inside Table 47, the restaurant at Ocean5. Julie Warrick Ammann

Geothermal energy

The facility, opened in April 2018, is heated and cooled thanks to seventy-three geothermal wells that were drilled about 200 feet deep each beneath the parking lot. The results, according to Alstead, have “been fantastic.”

While there was considerable upfront costs, Alstead believes the message “it can be done” was important for businesses like his. Originally constructed and wired to handle solar panels, Alstead expects to add solar energy to his sustainable building within the next couple of years.

“The sun-capture technology is getting better,” he says.

Carpet tiles at Ocean5 are made of recycled fishing nets, part of the establishment’s commitment to sustainability. Julie Warrick Ammann

Just about every light, every table, even the flooring at Ocean5 has a story of sustainability. Wood panels are high growth and locally sourced. The tables are “reclaimed wood from warehouses.” Pointing to the ceiling above, large circular fixtures are “high-energy efficiency lighting.” Carpet tiles are made of recycled fishing nets.

Even the artwork, including a massive cascading blue chandelier in the main lobby, was made from found materials that should have ended up in a landfill, not a high-tech ocean-inspired entertainment and meeting center in Gig Harbor.

The chandalier at Ocean5 was constructed out of found materials, another example of the establishment’s commitment to sustainability. Julie Warrick Ammann

Ocean5 and Table 47

Ocean5 prides itself in offering guests a broad menu with responsibly sourced ingredients in their 300-seat restaurant, Table 47, and its latest addition, The Cup Coffee Lounge.

Today, a new front exterior door allows visitors to pop into The Cup for beverages and fresh food. Baked goods are homemade, created by their very own in-house pastry chef. With abundant natural light, comfortable seating, an outdoor patio, along with free Wifi, The Cup provides a place to meet and connect. And when you need the food to come to you, Table 47 can cater your event.

“We’re creating a place for people to engage,” says Alstead.

Ocean5 hosts specials and events throughout the month. November brings on Thankful Thursdays with 50% off all whiskey, and pints and bowls of fries, for $5 each. Enjoy the live jazz and wine specials on Wine Down Wednesday.

The dining area at Table 47, Ocean5’s restaurant. Julie Warrick Ammann

If you purchase a kid meal at Table 47 on Sunday, be prepared for some gaming with your $10 arcade card, followed by time in the prize store to cash in on points won during your impressive performance. If you need to let off some steam, the 2-story laser arena can host up to 40 players. Before you battle it out, be sure to make a reservation. A 30-minute game will run you $15.

If lasers sound too high-tech, hop on one of the 22 lanes of bowling, for either some classic 10-pin or Duckpin bowling with the old-school string pin setters.

“I recommend the bumpers,” for Duckpin, laughs Alstead. For a party of six, you’ll pay $50 for a lane to bowl. Private parties are available with operable walls creating exclusive lanes and seating areas with available bar options.

The Cup coffee lounge is the latest addition to the Ocean5 complex. Julie Warrick Ammann

Ocean5 and Topgolf

A popular party and corporate game at Ocean5 is Topgolf in the Salish Sea Lounge. This interactive simulator offers a variety of golf and non-golf games including baseball and zombie dodge ball. According to Topgolf, PGA Tour pros Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, and Jason Day use the same simulator for off-course practice. No experience is needed to compete and have fun. A one-hour reservation for Top Golf Swing Suites is $50 per suite, per hour, for up to 8 guests.

Old fashioned fun is still cool at Ocean5 with board games and shuffle board available at no cost and with no reservations necessary.

If you’re tying the knot, celebrating a retirement, or holding a corporate or fundraising event, Ocean5 provides state-of-the-art meeting facilities on the 2nd floor for groups up to 400 people. The Table 47 chef and culinary team also can cater events.

No special occasions are necessary to enjoy the more than 25 responsibly sourced local craft beers, northwest wines, or spirits at the bar.

About community

In the end, Ocean5 is about community, and for Alstead, it’s about asking ourselves, “How can we up our game?” How can we do something, “good for our community that serves a higher purpose?”

While now retired from Starbucks, Alstead continues to serve on corporate boards for big names like Levi Strauss and Harley Davidson. As an impact entrepreneur, Alstead remains committed to sustainability. Ocean5, he says, is something we’ve,“really worked hard to create.”

If “our planet needs us,” as the message on young Atlas’s youthful t-shirt states, Alstead is doing his best to answer the call to action, and he hopes his example will inspire others.

Ocean5

Website:  https://o5social.com/

Address: 2568 NW Point Fosdick Dr. Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (253) 857-7529

Reservations for bowling, laser, or Top Golf: o5social.com/bowling-reservations/

Ocean5 hours

Monday and Tuesday: closed
Wednesday and Thursday: 3 to 9 p.m.
Friday: 3 to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Cup Coffee Lounge

Website: thecupcoffeelounge.com

Address: 5268 Point Fosdick Dr, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Phone: (253) 857-4777

Hours: 7 a.m. top 7 p.m. daily

Table 47

Website: www.t47.com

Catering: www.t47.com/events-and-catering

Reservations: www.t47.com/reservations

Address: 5268 Point Fosdick Dr, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Phone: (253) 857-4777

Email: [email protected]

Hours

Monday and Tuesday: closed

Wednesday through Friday: 3 to 10 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving)

Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.