Boom Times…for Now
Thoughts on Where We Are and Where We Might Be Headed
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
It’s June already. Time flies now that most of us are outside in the warm weather without a mask (at the right time and place) and it feels good. Imagine being in a major league baseball stadium right next to other people (as long as you’re vaccinated).
We have seen a lot since March 2020. Expect a booming economy this summer into the early fall at least. I don’t know how things will go as we get into winter, but the next five months should break records for consumer spending. With all of the locked-up and pent-up demand, remember that the rubber band snaps back the other way so you better be prepared for that effect on business that will be coming your way.
As I write this, there are shipping log jams, computer chip shortages disrupting production of goods, a labor shortage in spite of over 8 million people on unemployment, the government on a spending spree and interest rates at almost zero. It won’t be this way forever, folks. There will be millions coming off of the unemployment rolls and interest rates will rise, eventually.
We don’t get to pick and choose what circumstances there are in the world in which we operate a business. That’s why planning goes out the window and nimble navigation through the minefields of trouble have guided companies to profitability and growth…even in “bad times.” Sometimes, you need to make your own luck. The problem this time is that governments shut businesses down and as a result, many did not survive.
Those that did have the chance to get back to where they were or perhaps even better. You may not be able to make up for the lost business, but I’ve seen many restaurants expand their footprint and seating count by setting up outside tents in the streets or parking lots.
It’s obvious that the pandemic has helped some businesses and hurt many others. Have you tried to buy a swing set, outdoor furniture, jet ski, lumber or anything that contains copper? It’s hard and the prices are up…way up in some cases. I don’t think this will change this year.
Will you raise your prices in response to any rising costs or to “try and make up for lost time”? Sometimes, you need to raise prices to survive and stay in business. Your employees might want a raise and/or maybe a bonus for working through the pandemic. Also, it’s hard to find motivated, qualified employees today who care and are not on the unemployment train. Remember that hard work should be rewarded.
There will always be challenges. It’s how we rise to them that always matters. We have a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) attitude in many consumer sectors and more people have a general feeling that life is too short so, eat the cake first. Make mine triple chocolate, please!
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected] jerseyjackpinball.com.