Big Changes Are In Store for Adam Pratt’s Game Grid Mall Arcade
by Adam Pratt, Game Grid Arcade & ArcadeHeroes.com
Happy (belated) New Year! The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 have been hectic in a good way, although that did prevent me from finishing an article for the last issue. Let’s get up to speed.
IAAPA 2016 was an excellent event for me –– perhaps the best IAAPA I can recall. The visitor numbers certainly reflected excitement among attendees as connections were created and deals were made. I made some new business relationships, as well as friendships, while fostering old ones. It is how you want every trade event to go.
The energy and opportunities from that event fed into my plans for the future of my video arcade business. I had already been seeking to move the business (again) to a larger venue. For those who have followed my journey over the years, you know that this isn’t the first –– or even the second –– time such a change has come to my business. Previous times were not really under my control so I had to “roll with the punches” so to speak. This time, I reached out to the mall management about the change.
Now, I cannot entirely dump on the location where I have been since 2012. It’s where I have truly grown, expanding from about 25 games to 55. Last year I bought a Galaga Assault (Bandai Namco), which has been doing well for a game at its price point. It is also set to “Amusement Mode,” not operated for tickets. More recent than that, however, has been the addition of Cruis’n Blast by Raw Thrills. At the time of this writing, I’ve had the game for two weeks and it has solidified its place as my #1 game. As my first pair of brand new drivers (previously, I’d just bought kits, used or a single new driver like Batman), I wasn’t sure how it would work out but there is no need to worry. Cruis’n Blast surpasses Jurassic Park, also by Raw Thrills, which had been #1 since I placed it in 2015.
It is this growth and success that has me looking for more space. If you were to enter into my store at the moment, you might call it cramped. After you feel cramped, you want to expand for some breathing room.
So the games are doing fine for the most part –– except for those breakdowns which seem to happen in waves. Hopefully by the time you read this, my DDR machine will be working again and I can figure out what is wrong with Jurassic Park III (both Konami games). I also have experienced issues with the old Rowe changer we picked up last year. Despite a few of these hurdles, most games are in operating condition which keeps players happy.
That leads to the new location. With an additional 1,600 square feet of space, it’s going to provide a lot of “breathing room” over what I have at the moment (55 games in 2,000 square feet of space; several of the pieces are large games with 55” screens). We intend to build a party room so we can rent that out for events while also having enough space for a sports game area that can fit our air hockey, foosball and possibly a couple of basketball machines.
Unfortunately for me, the space is requiring a lot of work to remodel. In part that is my own fault. I like these opportunities to refresh the business and give it a more modern look. The mall also wants something nicer than what is there, but what they are willing to cover isn’t much. That takes money and time, plus a lot of back breaking work when you do it yourself. The main concern isn’t so much the walls –– they need some work, but nothing terribly serious. The challenge is the floor. While it would be easier and possibly cheaper to replace the old carpet that’s there, the issues I’ve had with carpet in previous locations has me looking to a polished or acid wash concrete floor. I’m looking to keep it simple, but that’s much easier said than done when it comes to removing 3,500 square feet of carpet glue. (An office/storage space in the back at least saves me about 100 square feet.)
Check back next time for a progress report. The best case scenario, I’m open and running smoothly! A not-so-good case scenario, I end up with less hair!
Adam Pratt is the owner and operator of the Game Grid arcade near Salt Lake City, Utah. He also publishes the Arcade Heroes blog site and serves as an advisor for the web-based game supplier BMI Worldwide. He can be reached at [email protected].