Monday, December 16, 2013

Past issues, sacrifices made, and how I became sole owner.

I was really on the fence about talking about the problems that Super Arcade has encountered and is currently going through, but since the can of worms is already open there is no need to sugarcoat anything or try to hide the fact that this place is not in the greatest shape physically or financially.  This post might portray somewhat of a desolate tone but I can assure you all I am still hopeful and still operating as best I can given the circumstances.

Past issues, oh man, where do I start?  Let's just say from top to bottom there are so many things and so much work required just to keep this place operational.  I'll kick things off with the restroom since it seems to be a topic some people like to bring up.  For starters, if you have used our restroom in the past two years and think it's gross, foul, atrocious, or just straight up reeks of death, then I have news for you.  Before the current state of loveliness you guys seem so quick to jump on and complain about, there was a room here that I will refer to as the "toilet of the damned."  I am assuming people did not like the previous owner or his workers because this place looked like something out of a roadside horror flick.  People pissed in the sink, in the mop bucket, on the floor, and even on the walls.  The drywall was corroded to the point where insulation was exposed on at least 30% of the surface area.  The walls that didn't crumble had graffiti and other forms of tagging that resembled a porta potta located in the middle of a gang war in south central la.  The door, if you can even call it that, had a typical slide lock on it that was easily kicked if needed, so there was basically zero privacy available.  Not that you would likely camp out to take a dump here but the option is at least available now and there is a functioning door that closes and locks.  I even put in red, yellow, and off white tiles to resemble McDonald's as a troll when we attempted to salvage the place but I don't think anyone noticed.  Let me move on to the electrical problems that lurk and unfortunately were just resolved about a month ago.  As you can tell, most of the outlets are being used close to maximum capacity and beyond in some cases.  The wiring in the building is very old and the previous owners took horrible care of everything.  Can anyone say fire hazard?  This was a huge safety issue and thankfully with some hard work and tedious hours of thorough testing, this issue is now finally resolved.  With all that being said, these are just some of the structural and cosmetic issues, wait till we get to the nitty-gritty of what went down and why I am fighting this good fight alone.

Before you read on I really want to express very seriously that I am not listing any of the following problems for any other reason than to inform the people how hard it is and what sacrifices I have made just to stay open in the recent months.  I am not looking for sympathy or apologies, I am a grown man and have made my own decisions and will live with them.

As stated in a prior post, I was working literally 100 hours a week just to make sure everything was going well and keeping everything in line during operating hours.  I am a firm believer that you get what you put into something and I truly believed that if I gave this my all I would reach my goals and have a prosperous place for everyone to enjoy.  After about 18 months the owner at the time was ready to call it quits on the place as it was not generating any positive income and basically just becoming a burden for him.  I was working on details to purchase the business entirely and working on negotiations to have a final price so we could move on.  During this time I was not able to put my best foot forward business wise due to the fact my wife just gave birth to my beautiful baby daughter.  Even after becoming a father, the arcade was still a top priority of mine and I wasn't about to let so many hours of hard work just go down the drain.  I was still working about 60 hours a week and made sure I was there both for my kid and the FGC.  So eventually I had agreed to take over full financial responsibility of the business near the end of 2012 but hadn't finalized all the details as to transfer of ownership of the arcade machines, the current leasing agreement, and changing names on the business license and utilities.  So as the days past I am basically running the place with all responsibility under my name and having the burden of being the sole owner.  I guess the title of "owner" is pretty cool, and I'm sure for those not completely informed of all technicalities of being an owner, this might seem like something really awesome.  Well guess what?  Things are always fun when they first start out but when you are faced with paying your employees, paying to restock your shop, and just paying the bills and lease, this is when things are definitely not fun.  I made it through 2012 still able to take home a small paycheck for myself and keep things afloat but then a nightmare occured...........

Here is the part where things get really dirty and where I must be very careful with everything I say because this is when the person I was attempting to purchase the arcade from came back to bite me in the ass.  I want to lay the groundwork for this story before anything just to eliminate speculations of my stupidity and logic I used during the matter.  I had known this person since roughly 1991 and was attending and winning tournaments at his more well known establishment.  This is a person I honestly considered a very good friend and even reminded of my late father.  I had no reason to believe that a handshake or verbal agreement wasn't enough to seal the deal and make everything proper.  Low and behold oh how I was wrong.  I want to go into very specific details about all this but I really can't.  If you care to hear the full story I am all up for talking to you in person and giving you all the juicy details but on the public platform I must limit things.  Basically I handed over money for down payment and things went sour after that.  Come early January 2013 I get a phone call from and employee stating my business partner has arrived and closed up the shop around noon.  I was also informed through the phone that this person specifically asked the worker not to call me and he would contact me himself.  Really?  You are at the arcade, kicked everyone out, and now pulling out machines and I shouldn't be notified?  Talk about shadiness 101.  Regardless, my kid is only a few months old at the time and my wife was at work so there was absolutely no way I could get down there in a timely manner so I eventually showed up about three hours into the mess.  When I get there I see the place more than half empty and I am having trouble controlling my temper and emotions.  I eventually take it out on the fridge and left a hulk fist in the side of it and at this point in no mood to be civil.  Oh how I wanted to just rampage this bitch and send him into the ground.  I felt completely betrayed and taken for a fool.  Just imagine showing up to a place you had spent basically 75% of your life improving for over two years, and then seeing it just being torn apart without any notification?  This idiot even had to nerve to try and talk to me like we were still buddies and jokingly said if I was mad to go ahead and pop him one in the chin if it made me feel better.  This was the second time in 4 years I was confronted with internal rage and self control and fortunately I came out the bigger man and didn't knock this dickhead out.  I will talk about the other time in a later blog :)

So here I am left with an arcade with only a pair of Astro City Cabs, a Street Fighter Pinball machine, and a few random showcase cabinets.  I feel like my heart was ripped out and I wasn't sure what the immediate future was going to bring.  I want to tell guys all the details, I really do, and I don't mean to be a tease so I will say what I can.  Basically the previous owner wanted out, knew I would do everything I could not to close, and just went about things his own way.  There might have been some tough love in a sense, and he actually tried very hard to persuade me into giving up but that is not me.  That's not how I roll and I have never not tried to put my full efforts into making something to succeed.  My first concerns were not about the money I had lost, and not about what I was going to do if the arcade was done.  My first concern was where the hell am I going to run the tourneys on Wednesday and Thursday.  I even tried to convince the person who just screwed me over to let me use the building in its current state to keep the tourneys rolling and put aside my anger to try and at least salvage what I could for the community.  At this point I'm sure some of our patrons can recall what this place looked like during this dark time.  The ceilings were crumbling, figuratively and literally.  There are a couple bright sides to the story and knowing things did take a turn for the better I will end this entry and hope you all continue to read.

Next post will include how super was saved, selfless acts, and the current status of things.  See you all soon!