Welcome to the 'Weekly Waffle'!
We aim to publish new content every week on a Sunday or Monday.
Written on 7th March 2021
So the roadmap is set and the 17th May 2021 will be our re-opening day.
We are happy with this, its a realistic and 'final chapter' of what has been a very long road and something that was unimaginable just one year ago.
The real impact has been the surrealism of the whole saga, being closed for a virus that seems to affect to few in a fatal nature may be seen by some as unworthy. However there is no price on a life and just because somebody has underlying health conditions, old age or eaten too many pies then its not something that by any means warrants an early departure.
When we reopen we would have lost almost a year in the 'lucky areas' like Bognor and pretty much a year in Kent. Has it been fun and have we enjoyed it from a 'business perspective' well, NO! It has been a disaster on unimaginable levels but like many other people we have had to play the hand that we have been dealt.
Many have wondered if we would start the closures, especially as 'normal people' we do not have the cash reserves of many other operators. I will be frank with you, we did get Tonbridge ready for closure and although it was not something we wanted to do we had to be ready.
Throughout the reopening period of December 2020 for Bognor we started plans for a big lockdown in 2021. It would of been tunnel visioned to think that the clock striking 12 would banish COVID and like a switch give us a return to recovery. Like a good night out comes the hangover, and 2021 could only ever be geared up to be the most hostile and vile hangover we could possibly imagine. We are in the hangover period now, and whilst the pressure will intensify in the last 10 weeks before reopening, we will tug ourselves over the line, but only just.
Tonbridge will be safe, we have managed to avert further redundancy and we have taken the time to energize the arcade. Although the smallest of the fleet, there will be some really nice games in there, ready to rock and roll. There have been particular rumours (we know the source) of us hanging on until our break clause there, but our intention is to continue the lease, possibly increasing the floorspace at some point.
Chatham has not been overseen like Tonbridge and Bognor has sadly, but we are going to be changing a great range of games there and bringing some absolute belters in utilising the vast floorspace that we have there.
Bognor will have the most ambitious change of all, many machines have already been selected and can be seen on the 'fruit machine waiting room' parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 on our reelfruits youtube channel. It is vital that classics that we have longed to bring back out are under the roof of our flagship arcade.
So with much speculation and depending on a new team member coming onboard to assist with Kent we look hard at our Maidstone Reel Fruits arcade. Now, many that remember reel fruits well for its tokens, small jackpots and vast array of games will not be disappointed. However much of what we can operate in the Maidstone location will largely depend on the flexibility of where I can be and of the new member joining us. Reel Fruits and the wonderful people we met there is always going to be special and close to our heart, but we have to secure a new lease and other things need sorting such as the carpet and also financial affordability. We aim to announce a reopening date in due course.
During the last 3 weeks since I last bored you all with a waffle we have been incredibly busy. The machines have been flowing at unbelievable rates and some of our ultimate wanted machines have been finally ticked off the list. Something we have been working on for almost a decade has finally come to fruition and massive projects have been undertaken with some already completed.
It will be hard in the coming weeks when we see the country open up and we are still forbidden, but we all have a responsibility and if that is what the experts feel is right then, for the last time it will be needed, we have to just 'put up or shut up' and use the time wisely to reshape things so we are lock n loaded ready to entertain.
Over the recent weeks we have tried to give a 'no holds barred' insight into the life of being a classic amusements and showcase some of the stores and bits and pieces that we are involved with. We always strive to share whatever resources we have and its wonderful to assist where we can.
There have been some great things to take from the lockdown with the family but, like us all, we are ready and wanting to get back to normal.
We are considering the viewpoint of having our Summer Party this year in August, to be held in Bognor Regis. The party days we have are insane madness but they bring so many people together and that is what makes the magic happen. We will not officially announce the Summer Party (inc all you can eat BBQ) until we can ensure its no risk to everyone and simply the right setting to do so.
Many of you will already be aware that Kev from Tonbridge arcade WILL be leaving Kent to move down to Bognor. We are still committed to Kent and have big plans there but I think Kev rightfully has fallen for Bognor Regis like we did back in 2018. We cannot wait to have Kev and his finally come here, it will be a great move for him and his lovely family but also a great win for Bognor and our visitors.
We would like to thank you all for your support, messages and care during this difficult time. Very special mention to the Brooks brothers who have been wonderful landlords for our Bognor arcade, support is so precious at a tough time like this so HUGE thank you and gratitude for your assistance.
There are many people out there, who may or may not read this, but no matter how tough things are we will all get through the other side, there is no doubt. These times are very strange and although people have lost lives and livelihoods we must all ensure that we come out better, and stronger people or all that has been lost will be in vain.
Keep smiling, and never stop believing.
Dave, Amelia, Ruby and Scarlett xxxx