Move fast and break things: New smash room opens in Grass Valley (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY) |

Move fast and break things: New smash room opens in Grass Valley (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY)

Annihilation Station’s Chris LaCentra obliterates a glass vase Tuesday at his Grass Valley smash room. The business is meant to help people release stress.
Elias Funez/

Annihilation Station

124 Clydesdale, Grass Valley

Wednesday through Saturday, by appoint only mostly after 5 p.m.

For years Chris LaCentra was a stunt man.

During that time he would throw himself onto the ground from significant heights, was smashed head first into cars, engaged in car wrecks and was actually lit on fire.

But after a physician told him that another physical injury might make him disabled, he quit.

Today, he runs the Grass Valley hauling company G.I. Junk, and co-owns Re-Useful thrift with his business partner Barry O’Sullivan.

About two months ago, O’Sullivan and LaCentra started a new local gig: they opened a smash room.

The company, based on what is commonly referred to as a “rage room,” is called Annihilation Station, and offers customers the opportunity to smash a variety of items guilt-free in an enclosed space.

“We thought it would be something fun to do,” said O’Sullivan. “Something different.”

As heavy metal music plays as a backdrop, people wear goggles, hard hats, gloves, closed toed shoes and pants while they wreak havoc on glass bottles, video cassettes, computer monitors and more.

LaCentra and O’Sullivan said people enjoy the process of smashing things to pieces because it gives them a chance to do something they are otherwise told not to do, thereby eating the forbidden fruit, so to speak.

“I have a lot of people say, ‘it’s empowering to be able to break some glass and to not feel bad about it,’” said O’Sullivan.

Annihilation Station’s pricing, which LaCentra said is very low, is based on the amount and size of items that one is breaking, in addition to the time allotted to smash those items.

Both business owners acknowledge that the three businesses — the retail shop, hauling company and smash room — play off one another. The smash room is never without material to smash as worn and donated items are always coming in from either the hauling company or retail shop.

Although O’Sullivan and LaCentra said they recycle much of what they can, they noted that not all glass is not recyclable.

Thus far, LaCentra said the business has been struggling to sustain itself. Although the company sold $400 in vouchers at this year’s Cornish Christmas, said LaCentra, the business hasn’t been able to break even because it is not yet well known. The co-owner acknowledged that Annihilation Station may relocate to the Re-Useful thrift shop on Maltman Drive in Grass Valley by the end of February.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey email or call 530-477-4219.

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