News from Roland Joyal, reposted from the FSPA mailing list:
After a lot of false starts & stops with other established commercial locations, and a lot of searching and research for my own Pincade place, I have secured a place for FSPA/Sterling league and misc tournaments to play. All negotiations and due diligence has been completed and a lease was signed. This is a going to be a pin haven for pinball people run by a pinball person, and as such I will do almost all maintenance myself. My intention is to not only have this as the Sterling/Loudoun League location, but also as a “club house” or hangout for the league, and as such, it will be manned by volunteers under limited hours. You don’t have to be a finance major to know the between the expensive rent (unless you go way out), the lack of parking in many industrial complexes, and the typical non-pinball-friendly views of merchants and landlords, this area is not conducive to pinball places. But I have found an industrial area that is close by (just 1 mile past intersection of Rt 28 and Rt 606 Old Ox Rd), is perfectly configured, is just the right amount of space to be efficient with an actual shot at breaking even, and has plenty of free parking in the evenings and weekends (well over 50 spaces!), and a pinball-friendly landlord. The place will also serve as a showroom for used machines I am liquidating, as well as a couple new pinball machines from Stern. I am also working a deal to broker and offer $50 off to league members on just about all smaller brands of pinball machines drop-shipped that are generally not discounted in the market. Pinball sales/commissions are few, so I am not counting on much revenue from that, but every bit will help to pay the expenses.
The concept is we need evening and weekend volunteers (referred to as officers) that will have keys to the place and be trusted with opening and closing the place a few nights a week as well as weekends. Other than league night (when the place will be opened by league mangers) the regular volunteer officers will be able to play some games for free while they are there. We currently have a few volunteers lined up in off-line communications, but NEED MORE, so please email me off line at JoyalRJ@aol.com if you can be a regular officer or a backup when the regular officers can’t make it. To help pay the rent, heat/AC, and other utilities, plus a portion of the landlord’s expenses, parking lot maintenance, taxes (yes, sadly, tenants must pay that in just about all commercial leases), and liability insurance, I will need a LOT of coin drop, and will supplement that with proceeds from the sale of soft drinks, bottled water, and snacks, at vending machine prices, or maybe lower. In the club house style, we will use the “Honor System” to pay for those things and have a coin box to deposit exact change in quarters. We also need volunteers to run tournaments, similar to the existing ones run at other locations, as well as any other new ones if someone wanted to try something different.
I wanted a clean place that will make playing modern & retro pinballs fun, and therefore not be too dark, not too light, and highlight the games with proper acoustics, to allow the music and speech the designers work hard to produce to be properly heard. As such the place has both carpet and acoustic ceiling tiles, so the games will sound great and people will find it easy to talk and socialize, and not sound all echoey (is that a word?). The place is VERY clean with it’s brand new paint & carpet and it will be Non-Smoking, but smoking is allowed 25 feet away from the building.
After speaking with league mangers, we have decided to allow the current league to finish at it’s current temporary “MM’s refugees” location in Fairfax, but Joe can speak more to that if there are any questions. I had hired professional movers to wrap and move 5 pins, plus Touchtunes jukebox, large coin changer, and some misc furniture and fixtures …the move went well. Ultimately there is room for another 5 or more machines. And to that end, I am purchasing a Star Wars (Stern) and have had on order order a Guardians of the Galaxy since it became available, plus there is the Ghostbusters that we had for a littlle bit at Mighty Mikes before they got shut down. There will likely be a couple of C titles coming end of the month, so no biggie.
The hours will depend on league volunteers, and is still being worked on, but roughly they will be Mon (league night) 6pm to 10pm (or whenever league finishes or when the “after party” finishes). Tues & Wed, 6pm -9:30pm, closed Thurs, Friday 3 or 4 PM – 10 PM (Tim of Premiere has graciously volunteered to do this longer shift). Still looking for people to help with weekends, but if we get some more volunteers I am guessing it can be open Sat 1pm to 10pm (two shifts) Sun 1pm – 6pm. All that can change, and it may be closed sometimes when it should be open, and vice versa, but that is the best guess right now. I want to get a few chairs in I have on order, a small drink refrigerator, and the 2 new pins in before opening. The address is 22977 Eaglewood Ct, Suite G130, Sterling, VA 20166 and the name of the place will be, simply, “Roland’s Place” (yes, a nod to John of “John’s Place”)