(Topic ID: 278159)

Malden MA Area Pinball Club

By dza33

2 years ago


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  • 48 posts
  • 28 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Shredso
  • Topic is favorited by 10 Pinsiders

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    #1 2 years ago

    All,

    I wanted to make a dedicated thread for an effort that I (and some others) have started to investigate.

    First a little background on me. I have been collecting arcade games since 2013. I basically started after I got settled in my house after moving from CA to MA. I have 24 of them housed in a my basement, home office, and work office. I am pretty active on KLOV (as just DZA) and was not into pinball games at all when I got into the arcade hobby.

    I now have 7 pins (bringing my total game count to 31). Currently I have, Gorgar, Genie, Paragon, Flight 2K, Centigrade 37, Black Hole, and Baby Pacman. I am much more into pinball for how they look (I love the old artwork) and working on them (hence I like older games that actually can have their electronics fixed/tinkered with). I do like playing them but collecting them is more of what I am after. Hence my current problem. That problem is that I have no more space but I literally would probably buy a pin every two months if I had the space.

    I had a storage unit for a bit but that was not working for me since I want to really see and work on the games. I could regularly sell games but the whole "collection" aspect is part of the appeal for me. I could stop, but that would be silly

    So, I decided I was going to get a dedicated space for games. I could do this just myself and have my own little secret stash. However, it seems like a better idea to share the space with locals and make it a "club". I saw the John's arcade episode recently on the Western MA Pinball club, and I said "I can do that". Probably easier said then done

    Anyway, that is a pretty good summary.

    At this point I have started to reach out to a couple folks and made a couple exploratory posts here and on NEACF. A couple of us have looked at a couple places in Malden MA. We have a solid contact in City Hall there, and there are numerous places that are an option. Frankly, it is just a matter of getting a team of folks together, picking a place, and making it happen. If you get to know me, you will get to know that getting things started is kind of my thing (I have been blessed to have started a couple companies).

    Here are some of the key elements for me:

    1. It needs to be close to me. I am happy to be part of something that is not close but I am not going to be able to commit to putting a game on location every couple months if I can't drive over within about 15 minutes.

    2. It needs to be organized and legit. I don't want to put games into a "hoarder" style location that is a complete crazy mess. I would need to work with folks that are interested in having it be clean, organized, relaxing, decorated, etc. It should feel really nice.

    3. It needs to start out as members only. I am not try to be exclusive. Rather I just need to be able to understand who will have access to eventually 10's to 100's of games.

    4. I DON'T need to break even on the place. I am fortunate to be in a position that I can spend some money each month on this place. That said, naturally the more members with skin in the game, the better.

    Ok, that is enough for now. The "team" and I will start to post more information, pics, etc. Stay tuned!

    #2 2 years ago

    Normally I'd be all over something like this, but until the CV19 ends - not enough people will venture that close to the city to play pinball.
    Everyone is staying within their very tight inner circles of pinball friends right now.

    Good idea, but maybe the wrong time.
    And...rent is insane in your area.

    I hope this happens: A north of Boston area pinball club is a great idea.
    Keep us posted please.

    #3 2 years ago

    Love this idea and would want to help in any way I can. Private locations may be part of how location pinball & arcades survive this current situation.

    -Mitch

    #4 2 years ago

    Obv I'm in!

    Private club is arguably the best way to manage to the CV19 risks and perhaps minimize financial overexposure, though maybe that's not a huge issue here.

    Either way, it'll take some time to find a space and nail down the particulars, so may as well get the ball rolling now. Who knows where we'll be 6-9 months from now.

    Thanks for kicking things off dza33!

    #5 2 years ago

    Thanks for the quick comments all.

    To be clear, I don't expect anything to be ready this year. I expect 2020 to be finding a place, getting it set up with a small group of folks, etc. I'd be happy to just have a place secured and just have my couple games in there for me.

    After that we'll have to play it by ear and naturally will be very conservative regarding opening things up.

    The timing is bad due to COVID but also good for other things (free time, places are opening up for rent, interest rates, etc.).

    #6 2 years ago

    P.S. Also as far as we have been told, Bit Bar is maintaining its plan to open up in Downtown Malden as well once the world is back to normal...

    #7 2 years ago

    I can tell you from experience....you'll be in for a lot of work. With that being said....it has been rewarding...even if it is hectic! Now if we can just get this flipping pandemic to end so I can stop having a really expensive storage locker with electricity.....

    #8 2 years ago
    Quoted from ejacques:

    I can tell you from experience....you'll be in for a lot of work. With that being said....it has been rewarding...even if it is hectic! Now if we can just get this flipping pandemic to end so I can stop having a really expensive storage locker with electricity.....

    I’m sure if we get that far we’ll be hitting y’all up for advice!

    #9 2 years ago

    Cool stuff, and very welcome when a few prime locations in this state have closed. I'd join as a dues paying member, just like I want to rejoin the SNHPC once it seems reasonably safe to do so.

    For something else for locals to do I've wanted to start hosting pinball nights at my house (which is also half a mile from the commuter rail for people who don't have a car), but obviously not until the covid stuff seems to be clearly on the decline. Our state numbers have been climbing pretty consistently again, unfortunately.

    #10 2 years ago

    Watching this thread

    #11 2 years ago
    Quoted from VALIS666:

    Cool stuff, and very welcome when a few prime locations in this state have closed. I'd join as a dues paying member, just like I want to rejoin the SNHPC once it seems reasonably safe to do so.
    For something else for locals to do I've wanted to start hosting pinball nights at my house (which is also half a mile from the commuter rail for people who don't have a car), but obviously not until the covid stuff seems to be clearly on the decline. Our state numbers have been climbing pretty consistently again, unfortunately.

    Definitely count me in Pete with your collection

    #12 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAir:

    Watching this thread

    Me too

    #13 2 years ago
    Quoted from jhoward1082:

    Definitely count me in Pete with your collection

    Oh, no doubt you're invited! Any time.

    #14 2 years ago

    I think this is a great idea, the key will be finding the right location. I look forward doing anything I can to help you get this off the ground

    #15 2 years ago

    location is definitively key. finding secure space for a reasonable amount has been the main reason why this hasn't happened already in this area. I'd be willing to help if some one can find a suitable location.

    #16 2 years ago

    As Mitch and Chuck said- I'd definitely be interested in helping out if you can find a suitable location. At SNHPC we looked at moving closer to the city, but couldn't find anything that worked with the membership fees we wanted to charge- and in our case even "in Massachusetts" would have been closer.

    #17 2 years ago

    Hi all, been lurking in these forums (ok, mostly the marketplace) for ~a year now; I'd be game to join a club of some sort (& pay the dues!) once CV19 goes away... I live in Littleton MA; there's TONS of empty storefront/restaurant spaces in the Westford/Acton/Littleton area. Rents are probably still stupidly high, but there's an absolute glut of inventory along Routes 110 and 2A. Just my $.02!
    My own collection is pretty meager but until I can expand my collection with a more modern game, a club is probably my best (and most economical) way to enjoy the hobby.

    #18 2 years ago

    Ideally a space with at least 1500 sq ft and sub $1k rent including electricity. it also has to have decent heat/ac and parking with neighbors that won't complain about the noise especially at night. in short- to make it work you have to find a sweetheart deal somewhere in my opinion.

    #19 2 years ago
    Quoted from Chuckwebster:

    Ideally a space with at least 1500 sq ft and sub $1k rent including electricity. it also has to have decent heat/ac and parking with neighbors that won't complain about the noise especially at night.

    This brings up the importance of visiting the existing clubs to see their neighborhoods and how they set up. I would suggest visiting SNHPC and the Burlington (VT) club at a minimum; quite a contrast between those two.
    .................David Marston

    #20 2 years ago

    LOL Malden area. I used to live in Malden on Medford St. near the Malden center T stop would be a killer location but obviously anything that close to Boston will have insane rents.

    #21 2 years ago

    Come to Rhode Island... cheaper and I’d be in for sure!

    #22 2 years ago
    Quoted from Richthofen:

    LOL Malden area. I used to live in Malden on Medford St. near the Malden center T stop would be a killer location but obviously anything that close to Boston will have insane rents.

    It can be cheaper than you think. It depends on who you know and how much work you want to put in.

    #23 2 years ago
    Quoted from dmarston:

    This brings up the importance of visiting the existing clubs to see their neighborhoods and how they set up. I would suggest visiting SNHPC and the Burlington (VT) club at a minimum; quite a contrast between those two.
    .................David Marston

    Agreed. I hope to get to the Western MA club soon.

    #24 2 years ago

    I've been thinking of eventually trying to get a space in the NH Seacoast in the Rollinsford Artist Mills just outside of Dover. Just waiting to get the gumption up and the right space to open up....

    #25 2 years ago

    Small update: we've seen some good spaces in Malden. The issue really is not IF but WHEN. (along with all the uncertainty the COVID brings).

    I'd love to hear what key elements folks think a place should have along with what membership plans/structure/etc. have worked best for folks. Just curious about the broad strokes.

    Just some things to keep the conversation going.

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from dza33:

    I'd love to hear what key elements folks think a place should have along with what membership plans/structure/etc. have worked best for folks. Just curious about the broad strokes.

    No creeps. No jerks. No drinks on the glass.

    I am curious how access works for these places. I seem to remember that the SNHPC has 24/7 access for members and one night a week open to the public. Seems like a good deal, but also seems like a ton of red tape to figure out from an admin side of things. Anybody have any know how on how places like this run?

    #27 2 years ago
    Quoted from radial_head:

    No creeps. No jerks. No drinks on the glass.
    I am curious how access works for these places. I seem to remember that the SNHPC has 24/7 access for members and one night a week open to the public. Seems like a good deal, but also seems like a ton of red tape to figure out from an admin side of things. Anybody have any know how on how places like this run?

    I am learning about how the other clubs run. I will say however that this will start slow (especially with COVID going on). I am going to have many of my personal games there, so access will be regulated. Also (for any number of reasons), this "club" will be focused on pinball enthusiasts and less so on the public.

    #28 2 years ago

    I'm in the process of doing this exact thing in Delaware. We started hashing out ideas in late 2019, and then in early 2020 we started making moves. Then COVID hit and halted everything for the time being. Here are just some thoughts of what we uncovered.

    1. We reached out to several other established pinball clubs to hear their stories. One that has a lot of info already online is the Richmond Pinball Collective.
    2. We were looking for at least 2000sq feet, the problem was everything was grossly overpriced to be self sufficient on membership dues alone. We estimated 2000sq ft because that would allow us to have roughly 50-60 games, with plenty of room to host 75+ people when we hold tournaments.
    3. The best space we found was around 1700sq ft for around $1400 a month. This did not include utilities and other expenses. All in expenses would have been around $2000 per month for operations.
    4. We were in the process of forming a 501(c)7 corporation, so we could be non-profit and operate as a private social club. This would allow us to be closed to the public and only open to members. It also would allow us to host 12 public events a year.
    5. We also formed a board of directors.
    6. No one on the board was invested to LOSE money. We obviously aren't a part of the board to make money, but our #1 goal was to have the club be 100% funded by members. In order to do this at the $1400 a month space, we would have to charge $40 per month, per member and would need AT LEAST 50 members paying that price per month. Make sure you actually have 75-100 people local enough that would support this club.

    Good luck!

    #29 2 years ago
    Quoted from radial_head:

    No creeps. No jerks. No drinks on the glass.
    I am curious how access works for these places. I seem to remember that the SNHPC has 24/7 access for members and one night a week open to the public. Seems like a good deal, but also seems like a ton of red tape to figure out from an admin side of things. Anybody have any know how on how places like this run?

    Regulated with an electronic keyfob system. Our club would only be open to members on set days at set times (similar to the Richmond Collective). We would then host 12 public events a year.

    #30 2 years ago

    For me - a 45 min drive one way with no traffic is probably too far to be doing this regularly, but i'd love to be an "occasional" member if such a status could exist. Like one night a month or something.

    #31 2 years ago

    I would 100% pay dues to gain access to something like this. Would the machines be on free play or still pay/play?

    I personally would pay more than the $40/month the other guy referenced. Maybe you should do a poll to figure out what people are willing to pay and how many games would people be willing to offer. I also am assuming that a member does not have to contribute a machine?

    #32 2 years ago

    Interested

    #33 2 years ago

    I’d prob be in at $40/mo. I’d also be interested in prepaying for a year at a 10% discount.

    I’d want to bring my wife and/or son occasionally too, maybe a one time guest fee, or each member gets one guest pass per month or something?

    #34 2 years ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    I'm in the process of doing this exact thing in Delaware. We started hashing out ideas in late 2019, and then in early 2020 we started making moves. Then COVID hit and halted everything for the time being. Here are just some thoughts of what we uncovered.
    1. We reached out to several other established pinball clubs to hear their stories. One that has a lot of info already online is the Richmond Pinball Collective.
    2. We were looking for at least 2000sq feet, the problem was everything was grossly overpriced to be self sufficient on membership dues alone. We estimated 2000sq ft because that would allow us to have roughly 50-60 games, with plenty of room to host 75+ people when we hold tournaments.
    3. The best space we found was around 1700sq ft for around $1400 a month. This did not include utilities and other expenses. All in expenses would have been around $2000 per month for operations.
    4. We were in the process of forming a 501(c)7 corporation, so we could be non-profit and operate as a private social club. This would allow us to be closed to the public and only open to members. It also would allow us to host 12 public events a year.
    5. We also formed a board of directors.
    6. No one on the board was invested to LOSE money. We obviously aren't a part of the board to make money, but our #1 goal was to have the club be 100% funded by members. In order to do this at the $1400 a month space, we would have to charge $40 per month, per member and would need AT LEAST 50 members paying that price per month. Make sure you actually have 75-100 people local enough that would support this club.
    Good luck!

    Great list. #4 is really good to know and I will look into this. #6 is not an issue in this case fortunately. This does not have to be 100% funded by members. Because of this, the hours, access, etc. can be much more controlled and selective.

    The place we are looking at is 1500 sqft+, is a warehouse style location (plenty of unloading space, freight elevator, etc.), and has a nice community vibe. I hope to have more of an update in a week or so...

    #35 2 years ago
    Quoted from Bospins:

    I’d prob be in at $40/mo. I’d also be interested in prepaying for a year at a 10% discount.
    I’d want to bring my wife and/or son occasionally too, maybe a one time guest fee, or each member gets one guest pass per month or something?

    This is a good data point. I am a BIG fan of exposing family to the hobby.

    #36 2 years ago
    Quoted from ShaneyMac:

    I would 100% pay dues to gain access to something like this. Would the machines be on free play or still pay/play?
    I personally would pay more than the $40/month the other guy referenced. Maybe you should do a poll to figure out what people are willing to pay and how many games would people be willing to offer. I also am assuming that a member does not have to contribute a machine?

    The games will be freeplay. Also another good data point on price. Membership tiers, pricing, loaning games, etc. are all TBD. There should be something for everyone.

    #37 2 years ago

    I'd probably be interested but as stated above rents in this area are stiff... Might be better a little outside the city.

    #38 2 years ago
    Quoted from Bospins:

    I’d prob be in at $40/mo. I’d also be interested in prepaying for a year at a 10% discount.
    I’d want to bring my wife and/or son occasionally too, maybe a one time guest fee, or each member gets one guest pass per month or something?

    2nd this. Reasonable fee + flexible options for guests + annual discount for lump payment (easier book keeping, less chasing).

    Quoted from radial_head:

    No creeps. No jerks. No drinks on the glass.
    I am curious how access works for these places. I seem to remember that the SNHPC has 24/7 access for members and one night a week open to the public. Seems like a good deal, but also seems like a ton of red tape to figure out from an admin side of things. Anybody have any know how on how places like this run?

    I loved my time at SNHPC. I visited a few times and then became a member. Only thing was that I'd get emails to pay my dues, dropped my dues in the box there... and then it just went silent for a while. I never got dues notifications, and I didn't know what was up. I ended up not going anymore because I didn't want to get a bill for like $200 in back dues. And I still never heard back so I just stopped going completely and told a few people as a CYA. Now that I work from home, and am a few miles away, in theory it would be an awesome place to work remote a day each week, but the COVID has me not rushing to return any time soon (I keep myself pretty distant during this). I still didn't know if I got the boot or not. I'd like to think I was a pretty darn responsible and friendly member there.

    Long story short, OP was looking for advice on how these places should run. Good communication. Also, the 24-7 access was pretty damn sweet for a local.

    #39 2 years ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    I'm in the process of doing this exact thing in Delaware. We started hashing out ideas in late 2019, and then in early 2020 we started making moves. Then COVID hit and halted everything for the time being. Here are just some thoughts of what we uncovered.
    1. We reached out to several other established pinball clubs to hear their stories. One that has a lot of info already online is the Richmond Pinball Collective.
    2. We were looking for at least 2000sq feet, the problem was everything was grossly overpriced to be self sufficient on membership dues alone. We estimated 2000sq ft because that would allow us to have roughly 50-60 games, with plenty of room to host 75+ people when we hold tournaments.
    3. The best space we found was around 1700sq ft for around $1400 a month. This did not include utilities and other expenses. All in expenses would have been around $2000 per month for operations.
    4. We were in the process of forming a 501(c)7 corporation, so we could be non-profit and operate as a private social club. This would allow us to be closed to the public and only open to members. It also would allow us to host 12 public events a year.
    5. We also formed a board of directors.
    6. No one on the board was invested to LOSE money. We obviously aren't a part of the board to make money, but our #1 goal was to have the club be 100% funded by members. In order to do this at the $1400 a month space, we would have to charge $40 per month, per member and would need AT LEAST 50 members paying that price per month. Make sure you actually have 75-100 people local enough that would support this club.
    Good luck!

    Thanks for the info! Do you know if your city requires licensing payments for each machine on your location?

    #40 2 years ago
    Quoted from colinize:

    Thanks for the info! Do you know if your city requires licensing payments for each machine on your location?

    Being a private club, with games set on freeplay, does not require licensing.

    #41 2 years ago

    I’m surprised, I thought if you opened as a private business or warehouse you could limit whoever you wanted. Is there a reason you have to be a nonprofit to have limited membership?
    The keyfob system is pretty cool. I saw something about that on one Deadflip’s streams

    #42 2 years ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    I’m surprised, I thought if you opened as a private business or warehouse you could limit whoever you wanted. Is there a reason you have to be a nonprofit to have limited membership?
    The keyfob system is pretty cool. I saw something about that on one Deadflip’s streams

    I'm not fully up on the legalities, we had one of our other board members handle all of that so I don't have a direct answer for you. Plus so much changes between counties, states, etc., that what can happen in Delaware might not be the same in your area.

    I know one of the driving forces behind us filing for the 501(c)7 corporation was to make sure we were classified as a social club which also made us tax exempt. It also would allow us to apply for a liquor license to sell alcohol (to further help cover expenses, game maintenance, etc.)

    #43 2 years ago

    I think you are going to find with time that Main Street retail properties are going to become very abundant. Mom and pop Retail businesses are closing at record rates. The month of August had over 2200 retailers close and never to return.

    I feel for all those businesses and wish this weren’t the case. The last 7 months has accelerated the rate of retail decline that was already in place.

    It’s a shame.

    #44 2 years ago
    Quoted from Nhpolarbear:

    I think you are going to find with time that Main Street retail properties are going to become very abundant. Mom and pop Retail businesses are closing at record rates. The month of August had over 2200 retailers close and never to return.
    I feel for all those businesses and wish this weren’t the case. The last 7 months has accelerated the rate of retail decline that was already in place.
    It’s a shame.

    Only speaking from my experience here in Delaware, again could be different elsewhere, but the area we were looking in had numerous strip malls (30+ store fronts) with very few tenants. This was Pre-Covid. I begged the property owner to try and cut us a deal and he said he actually makes more money with it empty. I believe because he can write it off as a tax loss? Either way, pre-covid the property owners weren't budging on price even. Maybe that will change now.

    #45 2 years ago

    Glad to know about his thread! I have loved visiting both the SNHPC and Western Mass. clubs and would love to help establish a spot closer to home. I have games to contribute and would gladly lend a hand in whatever way makes sense.

    #46 2 years ago
    Quoted from djreddog:

    he said he actually makes more money with it empty

    Sound's like Major Major's father got out of the alfalfa game and into real estate.

    1 week later
    #47 2 years ago

    Did the BPA move off of Yahoo groups?

    #48 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinballAir:

    Did the BPA move off of Yahoo groups?

    Yahoo groups is closing. Much like every other time change is mentioned on the BPA, someone comes up with a decent solution, then people cry about it and it goes quiet. It's too bad, I like the group.

    Reply

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