NEO Escape Rooms Wins 2018 Calling All Dreamers Small Business Competition
Gabe Berzamina and Acme Lee to open immersive entertainment experience in downtown Sacramento
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Sept. 12, 2018) – Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF) today announced NEO Escape Rooms is the winning idea from the 2018 Calling All Dreamers competition. Co-founders Gabe Berzamina and Acme Lee will receive a prize package valued at over $100,000, including in-kind services, $10,000 cash and lease negotiation support for a storefront in downtown Sacramento.
“NEO Escape Rooms is an incredibly exciting experiential business concept,” said Valerie Mamone, Business Development Senior Manager of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “Gabe and Acme have cultivated an idea and accompanying business plan that will add a unique experience to downtown and will attract a new wave of consumers to enjoy everything downtown has to offer. We can’t wait to solve our first puzzle!”
Meet NEO Escape Rooms: After failing to conquer their first escape room trial, but walking away with stronger camaraderie with their teammates, Berzamina and Lee became reality experience enthusiasts, eventually realizing a dream to launch NEO Escape Rooms in downtown Sacramento. The Calling All Dreamers competition helped them to refine their vision of a Sacramento-themed immersive form of social entertainment that engages creativity as teams of friends, family or colleagues race to solve a series of puzzles before time runs out.
“Winning the Calling All Dreamers contest is a huge triumph and the process has been an incredible learning experience,” said Berzamina, co-founder of NEO Escape Rooms. “We’re still in shock that soon, we’ll be bringing a world-class escape room to the heart of downtown Sacramento’s entertainment district.”
“Calling All Dreamers helped us prepare to be small business owners in ways we would have never considered,” said Lee, co-founder of NEO Escape Rooms. “Thanks to the support of the program, our SCORE mentor, family and friends, our dream of NEO Escape Rooms is coming true!”
Currently in lease negotiations for a prime downtown location, Berzamina and Lee will continue working with SCORE mentors and sponsors to bring their dream for NEO Escape Rooms to reality. Watch NEO Escape Rooms’ pitch video and see complete prize package details at www.CallingAllDreamers.org.
Since 2013, Calling All Dreamers has continued to drive economic growth in the heart of the Sacramento region. In the five years since the program’s inception, Calling All Dreamers has helped to launch 18 businesses, created nearly 100 jobs and leased 20,000 square feet of retail space. Other 2018 competition finalists, Blossom Bathhouse, Moonshine & Co., Nasty Sauce and Kindred Craft Collective, will continue to receive support from the Downtown Sacramento Foundation to enable them to bring their dreams to reality in downtown storefronts.
“We had a really remarkable group competing this year,” continued Mamone. “We are continuing to work with the finalists to help them find locations in downtown and fully expect to see many of them joining our growing community of signature small businesses in the near future. Stay tuned!”
The 2018 Calling All Dreamers competition is produced by Downtown Sacramento Partnership and made possible by the generous support of the following program sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, City of Sacramento, Wells Fargo, SMUD, Marquee Media and more.
The prize package is made possible with the support of sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the downtown core: Blanket Marketing Group, MeringCarson, Consolidated Communications, LJ2 Interiors, SMP Law Corp and more.
Join the conversation on social media using #CallingAllDreamers and #DowntownSac.
Press Contact: Jordyn Anderson
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Photo credit: Downtown Sacramento Partnership
Video credit: NEO Escape Rooms
About Downtown Sacramento Foundation
Established in 2011, Downtown Sacramento Foundation (DSF) is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 that supports programs that complement Downtown Sacramento Partnership priorities to improve the economic, physical, cultural and social environment in order to foster civic pride.
About Downtown Sacramento Partnership
Downtown Sacramento Partnership is a nonprofit, property-based improvement district (PBID) that serves as the collective voice for the 197 property owners and more than 5,000 businesses located within the 66-block urban core of Sacramento. Driven by the mission to build value downtown, Downtown Partnership is the principal advocate, champion and steward for those who work, live, visit and do business here. For more information, visit www.downtownsac.org + godowntownsac.com and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.