Paradise Distribution Sets Up Shop
“By Operators, For Operators” Mantra for Bob Burnham’s New Biz
Bob Burnham has been in the arcade business for more than 20 years – first with his Paradise Pinball & Amusement route and later Flippers Family Arcade in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He’s an operator through and through, and his latest venture takes that variety of experience and puts it to good use as a full-line distributor.
It’s unusual in this day and age for a new distributor to join the marketplace, but Burnham was ready to take on the challenge.
“There’s definitely the new kid on the block feeling,” he said. “Starting out, it was very difficult to get lines. I had to buy and stock a lot of product. We try to make sure we’ve always got I.T.’s Golden Tee PGA TOUR and pinballs in stock, for example.”
Burnham said the “massive challenge” of starting up has given way to manufacturer trust. He’s been a longtime Stern Pinball supporter as an operator, and they were the first to sign on with Paradise Distribution.
“I’m very, very loyal to Stern,” he said. “Gary and the team always say I’m the pied piper of pinball – the pinball evangelist.” (Though he has a full-line route, given his operation’s name and his pinball-based arcade, you probably could have guessed that.)
Incredible Technologies, Bandai Namco and Kalkomat were other early adopters of Burnham’s new distribution arm. Since then, Pipeline Games, S&B Candy & Toy and Raw Thrills are among other companies that have started a relationship with Paradise. They’ve got 14 lines at the moment with AMI Entertainment being the most recent addition.
“We are happy to have Bob and Paradise Distribution as an AMI distributor,” said Chris Owens, AMI’s vice president of sales. “He has great relationships in his market, and he has already been a great addition to the AMI distribution family.”
“I believe in these companies,” Burnham explained. “Our focus is really on the operator. That was the reason a lot of these manufacturers wanted to bring us on. We’re really focused on the operator and trying to help the operator get equipment out on the street because I’m an operator as well.
“We’re not just selling equipment,” he continued. “We’ve been out in the trenches with them.” That’s the idea behind Paradise Distribution’s “by operators, for operators” motto. He noted that while operators of yesteryear groused when their distributors were operators, too, “I think a lot of the newer-generation operators recognize the value in that. It really gives us a good angle because we can provide that extra service to customers, being operators ourselves,” Burnham said.
Paradise Distribution first started percolating 3-4 years ago and the idea really started to ramp up about two years ago; it officially started in November 2021.
“It was a natural transition,” Burnham said. “The friendships I’ve made with AMOA and the contacts I’ve made there – it just sort of made sense and we started looking in that direction, and opportunities started to present themselves. I’ve spent a lot of years driving on the road, picking up equipment. We’ve grown to know a lot of operators out there.”
Paradise Distribution serves operators nationwide (being respectful of territorial arrangements some of his direct suppliers have with other distributors), and sells some machines to the home market as well. (As an operator, Paradise Pinball & Amusement has also refurbished equipment and sold used games over the years.)
“It was an easy extension,” Burnham said, noting that the new business started in the storefront of their 2,500-sq.-ft. space. “Since we try to keep a lot of product in stock, we started realizing that wasn’t going to work.”
Paradise Distribution upgraded to a 6,000-sq.-ft., multi-level warehouse in Cheyenne about seven months ago. Now they can do open houses for different manufacturers, plus it has tractor trailer access, which works out nicely. The space’s showroom is filled with new and used equipment and stock, parts and repair space are in the back.
Burnham said they keep about 250 machines in stock – from different pinballs and boxers to plenty of Skee-Balls and Golden Tees.
“We try to keep machines the operators will use in stock,” he said, adding that new and used equipment is coming through all the time. “It’s been challenging to figure out the logistics, but we’re doing well.”
As for his new position in the industry, Burnham said: “The industry just doesn’t see new distributors anymore, so it’s an honor to me. It’s real exciting to be a part of that. I’m eager to see where it goes, but what we’re doing has already been very, very well-received.”
To learn more about the company and view their catalog visit www.paradisewyo.com.