In my line of work, I cross paths with a lot of people in the amusement industry. But I am developing a special place in my heart for the Family Entertainment Center owners. All in all they are a pretty fun-loving bunch of people, as you would imagine. I am consistently surprised by their tenacity and commitment to the business of making people happy. More than once some new startup has told me about: losing their building site before the project starts, delays of a year or more, and in one case complete destruction of a facility under construction by hurricane Katrina. But still they push on.
There is something quite intriguing about middle aged business people who like to think about the best layout for a miniature golf course, what types of games and toys to buy for an arcade, or the ice cream flavor of the month. Of course everyone wants to make a living, but what makes the most successful living in this industry is serving up a great time to guests. Digging into that inner child to remember what makes for fun, leaves a bit of “big kid” floating around on the surface of a lot of these folks. These owners all have a real connection to their park and behave a lot like a host at a great party.
I think a little part of all of us fantasizes about creating the ultimate playground. I know that there are actually two sites in my hometown that I think are “ripe” for a miniature golf course and go karts. I imagine the teens, children and families of our town enjoying time together outside on a summer evening enjoying a game of mini golf, with the renovated Drive-In across the street for after the game. The food I would serve, the music I would plan…but I digress.
It is a lot harder than it looks. For all of us to have our fun and games, there are some very hard working people coordinating the fun behind the scenes. But, although they work hard, they also seem to carry a bit of the joy they bring to the world with them everywhere they go. The business of fun; what a great business to work with. You guys rock!