Monday night was our last day of operation for the NEXT MONTH. Governor Zorak-o-lac ordered all places of PUBLIC ASSEMBLY closed. Taco Bell is still open, but just drive thru.
Spent the last 3 days getting stuff emptied of all money, throwing out popcorn, candy and close date soda, and saying goodby to most of the staff. I will be here every day during the day to intercept the mail and UPS shipments, pick up the phone and work in isolation on some major projects that were not possible while the place is full of people. Things like pulling out the EMs and cleaning score dials, which blocks isleways. I will also be moving games back and forth from the Hit Shed (storage building) with the goal of getting more games worked thru and ready for the big move.
The new building on the strip is also behind schedule. We STILL do not have building permits. Public Works held us up on the missing bollards at the edge of the sidewalk, and the property line had to be adjusted to include a possible future road-taking with a legal redrawing. I am told that next week, if the Building Department does not close due to Corona Virus, we have a shot at getting permits.
The builder has been chosen, a complete price has been negotiated and they are already ordering steel, concrete and roofing. Grading of the lot will begin the day after we get our permits.
The economic effect of staying closed for a month will be HUGE. Based on past years, one months income will be around 100,000 dollars. Add to that a ramp down in income in the days before the closure, and a ramp up to normal after we open, wasted materials, utilities, and we are looking at 150 Large.
While this will hurt, it will not kill us. We have been preparing to pay for the new building for the last several years, and cash on hand is over 4,000,000. This big chunk of change will start going down RAPIDLY once we start construction, and should be gone in 9 months. It is at that point that we will have to go back borrow more money. We had hoped that we would be able to coast thru the end of this without any more debt, but YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YA GOTTA DO. The debt will be repaid out of profits once we get open on the strip. The only REAL losers in this equation are our charitable partners, who will wait longer before we return to making gifts to them.
Our lease back on our current building runs out 21 months from July 1st 2019. If we do not have the new place ready by then, we can rent an additional 10 months for a HUGE monthly amount.
I do consider us very lucky to be on very strong financial ground LONG TERM. I know of many in the Amusement Business who are so close to the edge that they might not open back up after all this is over. Circ Shows here in Las Vegas got their debt downgraded to CCC today with a notation that "they might not be able to continue as an ongoing concern". If you have seen any of these amazing shows you know that they spent lavishly to make a GREAT experience, but spending big put them in debt, which when you are selling NO tickets for a whole month is devastating.
Perhaps the best news out of all this is that NONE OF US ARE SICK. I have a pre-exsisting lung condition and am 64. I talk a lot of shit about how strong I am, but given just one unlucky rub of the face, I could fold up like a June bride. All the rest of out hard working crew are also fine. So I am going to take the rest of the time and get the equipment ready. I thought of taking a vacation, but there is no place to go except back to nature, and that ain't happening.
I will keep updating here from time to time if anything changes.