Adam Pratt Updates Readers on the New Game Grid Mall Arcade
by Adam Pratt, Game Grid Arcade & ArcadeHeroes.com
It’s been a little while since my last column in which I laid out the work that was being done as we began the process of remodeling a new space at the mall for our Game Grid Arcade. Since that process has involved using family and colleagues instead of expensive, professional contractors, it’s been a long, toilsome process. But as of this writing, the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” is approaching fast!
Throughout the process, the primary challenge has been the floor. The space featured an old blue-grey carpet with plenty of wear and tear. Every store I’ve rented has had carpet and twice we replaced what was there. After various issues, generally involving gum, water leaks in the ceiling and spills from drinks (even though we try to keep them out entirely), I’m ready to try something new and easier to clean!
In the last article, I wrote that I’d been considering polished concrete, but unfortunately that is well outside of my budget, costing close to $10,000 for the space. That was even after we had removed the carpet and most of the carpet glue, the latter being work we could have avoided had we talked a little more with the gentleman that let us borrow his floor grinder.
As it turns out, he has a sister who owns a flooring materials company. Eight months ago, she took on a project of providing VTC tiles (vinyl tiles that you often find at supermarkets, schools, airports, etc.) to a school. They ended up wth many more boxes of this tile than expected and months later, the two palettes were still collecting dust in her warehouse. To my benefit, the tile which is normally $40 a box was only $10 a box! The only catch: I just had to take whatever colors were there. Given that the palettes would cover most of the 3,100 square feet of floor space and her brother was a carpenter by trade and would install these for cheap, I took the plunge. We had to buy a few more boxes at full price to cover an area or two, but all that said, I got the materials for under $1,000.
The next challenge was figuring out a pattern of tiles that would look nice while also receiving mall approval. When we got them into the space and really took a look, I was hit with a curveball: A vast majority of the tiles were a watermelon green! Then you had light blue, yellow, purple, white, dark purple, dark blue and orange. With a color selection like that against the racecar red walls we’d started painting, a design solution didn’t immediately come to mind.
Sitting down with an online pixel art program, I hammered out of a couple of designs over a few days and came up with something that appeared to make the best use of the colors for the arcade. While I did get some of the measurements and counts of certain colors wrong so that adjustments had to be made on-the-fly, the end result is something I’m happy with.
Beyond that, getting the electrician in to complete the needed upgrades in the space has been an on and off process, the same with getting a new desk designed and ordered. At the time of this writing, I still have about two weeks before that will be delivered so we will be making do with the ugly desk that’s there for now.
We have also moved some temporary walls that had been stored in the back into a party room configuration. That’s still incomplete as we need more wall support and then have the fun of sheetrocking, mudding, sanding and painting. At this point, we’ll focus on completing the main arcade area so we can move equipment in and then finish the party room after the arcade is open.
I also have been waiting on the mall management to figure out what they can do with the storefront area, a process which keeps it all “up in the air” as it doesn’t feel like I can really move until that is complete. The other day, they told me that they’ll get started on a quick solution so that my sign can be moved, but it looks like the “swimming pool tile” face is going to be sticking around for now.
Hopefully by the time you read this, we’ll have moved equipment over and begin to enjoy the benefits of this new, nicer space. Unfortunately, these things never work out in the timeframe you want, especially when you are handling a lot of your own construction.
That said, the potential results are very exciting as this is easily shaping up to be the nicest store that I’ve ever operated since opening my business in 2008. If you’re ever in the Salt Lake City area, be sure to drop in, check out the new Game Grid Arcade in person and play some games!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.