Family entertainment centers around the state are booming as families continue to staycate this summer.
“A lot of people with the economy being tough right now are staying closer to home, but are tired of sitting around. This is why sales are up this year,” says Wynn Malikowski, personnel manager at Bend-based Sun Mountain Fun Center. Family centers offer sport lounges, high-tech virtual golf systems, Wii setups, bumper boats and classic games.
Big Al’s, based in Vancouver, Wash., is adding a second location in Beaverton this August. Wilsonville Family Fun Center is seeing a rise in sales. Sun Mountain Fun Center says their profits are up following a $2.5 million remodel two years ago, and Portland’s Electric Castles Wunderland is looking to add a sixth location.
Suppliers are riding the coattails of entertainment center profits as well. Specialty Coin Products of Portland, a game retailer, says its profits are up 15% to 20% over last year. Salem-based J&J Amusements, a bumper car and bumper boat manufacturer, also reports sales are up to family centers.
“I have heard from top operators in high-end [family entertainment centers] that they have never made so much money before,” says Fred Groh, managing editor of International Bowling Industry. Over the past nine years, the state says wages for the Oregon amusement and arcade industry have increased by $600,000 and employment has grown by about 60 jobs, though no new centers have opened.
“This year is better than last,” says Keith Putnam, operations manager at Electric Castles Wunderland. “We have our eyes open for a place to expand.”