Meet the New Chief
Beyer & Brown Owner Greg Trent Takes Over as AMOA President
As the owner and president of a historic, nearly 80-year-old company, Greg Trent knows a thing or two about executive leadership. This year, as Trent celebrates his own 30th anniversary in the amusement industry, he also takes the top slot on the AMOA board of directors as its president.
Started in 1941 by Charles Beyer and Charles Brown, the amusement service and supplies company Trent runs has undergone various changes over the years, as one might expect. One thing has maintained: it’s always been a family business (though it has gone through a few different families).
Today, Beyer & Brown – along with its Pool Tables Plus arm – services and leases all types of coin-operated amusement equipment. It’s a diverse company with a route operation, a storefront for game room furniture, dart and billiard supplies, jukeboxes, pinball machines and more. In recent years, for example, they’ve began operating three bar-restaurants where they also test equipment.
Trent started at the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Beyer & Brown in 1990 when he was in college. At that time, he was going to school with the ultimate goal of becoming a CPA. In the meantime, he needed a job and found one at Beyer & Brown.
“I did all the kind of stuff you start out doing,” Trent said. He made deliveries and cleaned games, worked as a route collector and, by the time he obtained his degree, was managing the place.
It was about this time when Trent said his duties helped him see the everyday challenges that you have. “It was always stimulating to my mind to come up with solutions for those problems. I quickly realized I didn’t want to be behind a desk all day as a CPA,” he said.
In 2000, then owners Jerry and Marie Kempisty were selling the business and Trent and his wife Maria were offered first dibs to buy, so to speak.
“I really couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” Trent said. “Once I caught the bug of working in the business, it was a great opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I knew this was going to be the path our lives would take.”
Since then, the Trent family grew the route side of the business substantially. In 2000, they had about 80 locations and the small retail store. After purchasing numerous smaller routes in Florida over the years, they’ve grown to a few hundred locations.
“It’s become a big part of our business model,” Trent said. Maria, meanwhile, is mainly involved in the sales and retail operation – keeping the showroom top-notch, researching furniture trends, buying jukeboxes and always working to expand the operation.
Two of Trent’s six children have basically grown up in the business. “They were always running around in the store,” he said.
The youngest, Gregory, 13, was recently on hand when they opened an esports arcade location in a local mall. He was the on-the-ground, target-audience tester who provided feedback on the best games. Daughter Alyssa Trent, now in college, has helped with the accounting side of the biz.
The 15-employee Beyer & Brown team is based in Daytona Beach, but the operation branches out about 300 miles to the south and northwest. “We’re operating in different types of venues from bowling alleys and FECs to bars and restaurants.”
They also operate PPD and NDA dart leagues, and in the past few years, branched out to owning three bar-restaurants, which has been a tremendous help with testing equipment. “There’s a broad range of bar scenes here in this area,” Trent added. From sports bars that cater to racing fans to brewpubs and biker bars, he said, Daytona Beach has it all.
And so does Trent himself – still enjoying the day-to-day operations and challenges of the job, and being able to do it alongside family.
“Between work and family and AMOA (and also AMOA of Florida as treasurer), there’s barely time to sleep,” he joked. But he’s been able to get involved with his kids through Eagle Scouts, and coaching football and basketball. They’re also big Orlando Magic fans and season ticket holders.
In 2020, there’s another challenge for Trent (and another reason he might need a nap) – the AMOA presidency he took over from now past president Emily Dunn.
Trent first got connected with AMOA in 2010 at the recommendation of well-respected local industry veterans Phil McBride (T&G Music, Titusville, Fla.) and Phil Juckem (All Brands Vending, Tampa), both former board members.
“Getting involved was one of the best things I ever did for my business,” Trent acknowledged. Some of the things he’s taken advantage of through AMOA – like its Notre Dame education program – are what he wants to continue advocating for as president.
With the Notre Dame program specifically, he sent a few of his own employees to learn more management skills and how to be more productive. It’s allowed him to divert some of his own time from the company and allow his managers to take some control.
Then there are AMOA’s On Demand courses, technician type education, portals on the website with informational videos, plus their On the Road education program, which is getting enhanced this year. He said all of the educational tools, training and help AMOA provides its members are there “to help make you a better business owner.”
Trent also noted that the AMOA office staff can customize a promotional brochure for members about their companies – a great help to smaller operators who might not have the resources to help sell themselves better.
Then there’s the legislative side of things. Trent said AMOA is working on adding a tracking tool for members to stay connected with proposed laws that could impact the industry.
Finally, there’s the work to increase membership and adhere to the association’s “building engagement in real life” mantra.
“We’ve really had an influx of a lot of younger owner-operators,” he said. “They’re getting engaged with our association to see things differently.” They, in turn, help the veterans see things differently. “Having board members in that age group and part of committee meetings has really helped our association reach out and be more inclusive of its members.
“My biggest goal is to continue building engagement with our members,” Trent concluded. “We’re going to keep on coming up with new ideas to make membership essential to those our association serves.”
This month, AMOA president Emily Dunn reaches the end of her one-year term, moving on to her new role as past president. She’ll also spend less time on the road away from her Tom’s Amusement Co. in Georgia. She and her husband Tom Dunn ran the route until his untimely death in 2002, and she’s grown the business substantially over the years. It covers Georgia, eastern Tennessee and parts of western North Carolina, and while it’s evolved along the way, Emily has kept close to its original form as a traditional street operation. Today’s equipment is chiefly video games, pool tables and redemption machines and her company also supplies games to FECs as that market has exploded in more recent years. Among the goals of her presidency have been to focus on member outreach and growth, as well as education. This month, we checked in with her to get her thoughts on her year at the association’s helm.