As promised I am back and would like to speak about a few conversations I have had with people over the past few months regarding both our kickstarter campaign and our renovations. For those of you who dont know, I actually spend a lot of time looking at social media in regards to feedback for the arcade and although its impossible to please everyone, I do make a genuine effort to try. So I would like to set the record straight about an issue that seems to linger to those who arent fully informed and for those who havent actually taken the time to read through some of the blogs I have posted previously.
Lets get into the matter of keeping the promises made through the kickstarter. I promised to remodel an arcade and provide a place for people who love arcades somewhere to go. This has not changed, and although there has been a change in location, that does not affect the fact that there will be a physical location that people can attend as soon as possible. Also, there was a grand opening party promised, but due to many things going wrong we were stuck in a sort of stand still in terms of progress being made to complete the remodeling process. A stage and stream area was never finalized and also the truss beams were never installed due a few factors. But back to the main point. The plans to have a fully remodeled arcade are still being worked on and that will not change.
Now onto a subject that has bothered me for some time and recently talking to a few people that used to attend our events, I have had a chance to try to put myself into their shoes to get their perspective on things. I was told that the way I went about saving the arcade was in sense a "guilt trip" and set a negative tone towards people. They didnt like the idea that I was blaming the community for their lack of attendance and stating that this was the cause for the downfall of the arcade. This is where things can get sticky although this person has claimed to respect me for always being honest, he lost all respect for me an a business owner. This is where I can start explaining myself and hopefully people can understand my personal view on this matter. A typical business owner normally goes into business with the plan of making money. I was basically handed an empty arcade overnight and left with a decision to either keep things going, or let the place just fade away. This was back at the end of 2012 when Ralph decided to shut down operations. So I stepped in and with the help of some people we ran a very large raffle that generated roughly $11,000 and gave away prizes somewhere in the retail worth of maybe $3,500. The money gained from this raffle/donation drive was used very carefully to fill the arcade with machines and keep things going. At that time I also had some savings I used to keep scraping by every month to keep the arcade up and running. With all that, I managed to keep the shop running for about a year with no hiccups and people seemed to enjoy our events hosted there. But just like any other business, the seasons change, business starts to slow down, and eventually financials do become a big issue. This is where the idea of a kickstarter came about and how it all went down.
Now mind you, I work a ton of hours at the arcade just to keep it in decent condition. There is a lot of things that are very time consuming when running a place that serves the public and when it comes to being clean, that is not a customers first priority. Even just including the 3 nights a week where we are open till 3am to accommodate our customers, its not a simple task to work till that late a time and maintain a normal sleep schedule. Regardless, youve heard it a million times, yeah yeah yeah, we work hard, we work long hours blah blah blah. Thats really not the issue here though. The real issue is, if people are not going to show up, then what is the point of continuing on with the arcade? So as usual I spoke my mind and told the people that the arcade is dying due to a lack of attendance. If it was a case of people not showing up and it was taking away my steak and lobster dinners, no problem, we can downgrade to McDonalds all day. The problem is, we rely on each and every person that steps through that door to barely make it by every month, and when the attendance dips, money comes out of my savings to keep the shop alive. So basically the kickstarter was a last ditch effort to either have the fans and patrons help out and rebuild the shop, or we could just close down and not have wondered what might have been. The FGC showed its support and our kickstarter was fully funded, allowing us to move on and build a better Super Arcade for everyone to enjoy. But here lies another problem. Now all of sudden what seemed to be an achievement was somehow twisted into Watson was begging for money. Let me say this, I was always a person that kept to myself and just worked hard to gain what I wanted in life. This arcade put me in financial turmoil and I asked the people if they wanted to keep the arcade around, then they would have to pay for it. I never begged for money from anyone and I even had to stoop down very low and borrow money on many occasion just to get by. People dont see what really happens behind closed doors and only see the nights where we are packed and think we are raking in the big bucks....... dream on.....
So as things stand now, I really hope people dont feel like I was trying to guilt trip them into attending our shop and events. I never had the intention and only complained publicly because you always here people say, "I wish I went more before they closed" or "I shouldve hit up more tourneys," and then when they dont, the business shuts down and you are left with no where to go. I simply stated the obvious that people werent showing up and if they wanted the doors to stay open they needed to make an effort. If I was wrong for doing so, Im not sure how to explain it because I dont feel as though I have wronged anyone.
My job now is to continue searching for a better location and gets things up and running as soon as possible. We are looking at our options locally for now but if nothing pans out we will still pursue other surrounding cities who will grant a business license for an arcade. This is a tougher task than many people can understand, but its not impossible either. Anyways, its 5 minutes before the new years kicks in, hope all of you have a safe time and heres to a brighter year ahead. Happy New Years Everyone.