Sunday, December 22, 2013

The raffle/donation drive and whatever I can fit into this post.

So I ended my previous entry on a bit of a downer but did promise that there was some light at the end of the tunnel.  If you have experienced any hardships in life you will know that your true friends and people who care come to show their true colors during these rough times.  I found out a lot about myself and also unfortunately found out too much about some people around me.  As promised I would not reveal certain names of individuals as maybe that person didn't realize at the time what they were doing, or not doing, which led to some hard feelings.  So moving on with this chapter........

Its near the end of January and I have basically what is an empty room with barely enough games to fill a small mancave.  There is a lease payment due come February 1st and the only source of income is basically charging venue fees for our console tourneys.  Talk about a dilemma....  So besides the fact the place is a mess, no arcade games, and money needs to be generated immediately, I guess things are okay right?  This might be the point in my life where I am genuinely at a loss.  Do I try my best to keep this place open?  Do I say F it and just close shop and let the community deal with finding their own gathering spot?  Normally I am very assertive and make quick decisions but this was something that I could not do on my own and I wouldn't be the only one affected by this choice so I had to be 100% sure I thought it out very carefully.  In all honesty the people I thought most about were my employees and then the community.  Here comes the part where I talk about the mushy stuff and how it motivated me to keep on going.

So knowing that I needed more than just physical help, I reached out to the community and arcade family for financial support.  I reluctantly started a wepay raffle/donation drive and wound up giving away a ton of prizes mainly from MadCatz.  These prizes included sticks, headsets, and control pads that we both received as gifts from MadCatz and from players who generously returned their prizes from our tourneys.  It took me some time even get this drive started because I was never in a position in life that I was not in control of.  I felt a slight sense of scumbaggery in asking people for money to put into a business where we would expect people to spend money at.  I guess the fact that we had over $3500 in prizes up for raffle helped me find some form of justification for my actions.  Day 1 of the drive starts and I remember putting it up on while making a ton of phone calls and just trying to figure out what my next step would be.  Within the first hour I received approximately $300 in donations and then all of a sudden a $2000 donation came in... WTF!!!!!!  Let me start by saying this, and I know I have personally thanked this gentleman many times over, but had you not done this I honestly don't know if I would've had the motivation to keep working so hard.  The donation drive eventually received somewhere in the neighborhood of $11,500.  To this day I refused to close the doors here because the community responded when I was asking for help, so now there was no way I could turn my back on them.  With a few bucks now available, rebuilding was starting to take place and we were working relentlessly to bring Super Arcade back to functional order.  We actually ran a few of our WNF and TRB tourneys with the arcade in this poor condition and let me say this.  I was opening the doors at roughly 7pm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday just to make some revenue from our tourneys.  Before people would show up the place was basically bare wall with consoles sitting in the middle of a grimey room.  The mood was horrible and just a blanket of melancholy covered the venue.  Still being very positive that we could turn it around I received a ton of support from all the players and the turnouts were decent.

As we proceeded to bring in machines and clean the place up there were the obvious people who really cared and the people who were just posers and didn't do much to help.  I want to tell this story directly to the person it is about because he might not even be aware of what went on during this time.  Like I said, many of us were working extremely long hours including people that weren't even employees.  But there was one person who never came around yet constantly asked me when the arcade was going to open up again.  In my mind I'm thinking, it would open up a lot faster if everyone helped right?  So aside from these constant annoying messages of when will I open, which I am getting from customers and expected, I just found it very frustrating to have someone I thought was on my team turn out to be such a selfish person.  It was bad to the point where I needed someone to be at the arcade to receive a drop off of equipment and left this up to him.  In turn I was shocked when this person told me he was there from 8pm till maybe 1am and said he expected to get paid for five hours of work......  so aside from not helping out you want to get paid for being at the place you work while everyone is busting their ass for free?  Not a good look and this person definitely moved himself out of the inner circle.  

But besides this issue I felt a lot of warmth towards the people who actually did help and I did what I could in terms of buying them food and keeping everyone occupied without asking for too much.  I also received a phone call from a friend of ours that is heavily involved in the Bemani and music genre of arcade games, and he had some great news for me.  There was a guy up in northern California who had a a bunch of music games he was willing to loan the arcade and revenue share if possible.  This is exactly what we needed as money was tight and filling up the arcade with games was a top priority.  It was Super Bowl weekend and we busted a cannonball run up to Sacramento starting at 7am.  Five hours after starting out on our journey we arrive near our destination and rented a UHaul to transport everything.  It took a few hours to load all this stuff between four people and we were dead tired.  With a couple stops for gas and food we arrived back to the arcade around 11pm that same night we began unloading and I think we left the arcade around 3am.  Thankfully these games brought in a new crowd to the arcade which obviously provided us with a new source of income so the effort wasn't wasted.  Along with these cabs we just brought down there was a few more people who helped immensely towards the cause.  One guy basically sold me a bunch of cabs with a payment plan which allowed the arcade breath and produce more income while not having to be completely strapped for cash.  We also purchased a few cabs from generous patrons who sold them below their estimated value as well as the old owner of Arcade Infinity coming through and giving me a good discount on multiple cabs and boards.  So all in all we were able to swing some deals, get a ton of help, and bring the place back to life in a very short amount of time in thanks to not only the people working here but those who donated and those willing to sell their cabinets at an affordable price to us.

Next post will hopefully include some current issues and my current mindset in regards to keeping a failing business open.  Thanks again for reading and stay tuned!

*To all the people I mentioned in my post, if you have a problem or feel you have been represented unjustly please contact me and we can resolve any issues you might have either publicly or in private.

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