FEC Articles

New FEC Conference Slated for Feb. 24-26

By |September 12th, 2014|

F2FEC, the new educational conference for the family entertainment trade, has set Pointe Hilton Tapitio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, Ariz., as the venue for its inaugural event to be held Feb. 24-26.  F2FEC, short for Face 2 Face Entertainment Conference, is a North American conference for the benefit of entertainment center professionals including manufacturers, suppliers and operators under the expansive FEC umbrella including traditional family entertainment centers, bowling centers, roller skating, trampoline, water parks, hybrid parks and specialty entertainment center attractions 

“Environment and location are each vital to help create a great relaxed feeling and sharing attitude among attendees and we found this and more in the Pointe Hilton Tapitio Cliffs Resort” reported Ben Jones, one of the co-founders of F2FEC.

“The resort has great venues and the right mix of amenities which are so important for stimulating great conversations, and we have the space with freedom and flexibility to hold meetings, social functions and bar time [...]

Live Oak Bank Funds Multi-Million Dollar FEC Transaction

By |August 28th, 2014|

Live Oak Bank, headquartered in Wilmington, NC, the nation’s only bank whose sole mission is to provide financing to independent business owners, announced that it has  funded a multi-million dollar FEC transaction to Florida FEC operator GameTime, refinancing existing loans and providing 100% of the new capital needed to remodel GameTime’s flagship location in South Miami, Florida.

“Live Oak Bank had a unique, personal touch,” said GameTime CEO Michael Abecassis. “They took the time to visit each of our locations, and spent one-on-one quality time to discuss my vision and goals. I feel as if we structured the perfect loan and moreover I really have a partner in Live Oak moving forward.”

“We are committed to making a difference in the amusement industry,” said Live Oak Bank FEC Expert Ben Jones. “It is a great feeling to help people do meaningful things. Having access to both experience and capital is a positive change in the industry, and we are excited to [...]

GameTime Secures Live Oak Credit Facility

By |August 14th, 2014|

Florida FEC operator GameTime has closed on a multi-million dollar credit facility with Live Oak Bank. The proceeds of this transaction were used to refinance in whole the existing equipment loans and upcoming remodel of GameTime’s flagship location in South Miami, Fla.

“The streamlined process with Live Oak Bank has made it possible to refinance and position GameTime for growth,” said GameTime CEO Michael Abecassis. Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Davie, Fla., GameTime operates two high-volume entertainment venues and four inline, arcade-style amusement centers. To learn more, log on to www.gametimeplayers.com

Smiles Are Contagious

By |August 14th, 2014|

FEC Specialist, Live Oak Bank

Create Smiles Everyday…this is the mantra of my dear friend Michael Getlan.  Smiles are simply at their core, an expression of positive attitude. We can all create and deliver smiles everyday by simply deciding to be nice and project a positive attitude.  It’s easy, simply wake up and look at yourself in the mirror with a positive mindset of being happy…then SMILE. Done. Easy.  But now I want you to share your smile with your company and in life.

Action equals reaction and the smile we share is returned as a reward for our gift of giving.  This means that the smile we create every day can be given to others which means it’s communicable and if someone can receive it, it’s catchable and if it’s catchable, it’s teachable. Here are a few teaching steps toward sharing a smile in your organization.

1) People have voices, listen to them.  Listen, give credit and implement the ideas and [...]

Top Notch Industry Speakers Share Valuable Information

By |June 11th, 2014|

Attendees of the LASERTRON May Conference were treated to a wealth of information pertinent to their businesses and future goals.
Industry leaders, Ben Jones and Michael Getlan presented “Customer Service & The Intangibles of Business” which ranked #1 as Most Helpful on the attendee surveys. Role playing, sharing of ideas, real world techniques and their many combined years of experience all contributed to a great presentation.
Ben Jones, representing Live Oak Bank presented “Business Plans: Show Me the Money” on the first day of the conference. It was not your typical “how to” write a business plan session, rather one from an equity investors and bankers perspective.
Here are just a few of the testimonials we received from attendees of the May Conference.

“A well needed injection of core knowledge and values to help me operate my center better”- Tony Houst-Space Entertainment Center

“As a manager of a location that runs LaserTron the information regarding management, hiring, training and customer service absolutely [...]

  • three amigos

    Three Amigos Iceberg, Jones And Smith Plan F2FEC: Phoenix, Feb. 24-26

Three Amigos Iceberg, Jones And Smith Plan F2FEC: Phoenix, Feb. 24-26

By |June 2nd, 2014|

ROCHESTER HILLS, MN — Three longtime innovators in the family entertainment center industry are planning to stage a comprehensive FEC conference in February 2015. Rick Iceberg of C.J. Barrymores (Clinton Township, MI) again has teamed up with Ben Jones, Live Oak Bank (Rochester Hills, MI), and George Smith, Family Entertainment Group (Barrington, IL), to organize F2FEC (Face to Face Entertainment Conference). Known familiarly as the “Three Amigos,” all are veteran operators, industry supporters and active volunteers with 95 years’ combined experience in family entertainment.
The Amigos last joined forces for an FEC workshop in Phoenix under the auspices of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions in 2013. “FEC Phoenix was groundbreaking, well received — and we feel that we only got it 70% right,” Iceberg said. “We can do better, do more, and we can create a better experience and value for everyone attending.” They therefore will return to Phoenix from Feb. 24 through 26 of next year with a pledge for the [...]

FEC Financing: Olympic Teams and You

By |May 8th, 2014|

Greetings Bay Tek readers, Ben Jones here.  Very pleased to be contributing to the industry alongside my friends at Bay Tek.  As some of you know, I am a former FEC owner/operator of 21 years and recently completed a wonderful tenure with IAAPA: 20 years as a volunteer and as a FEC Specialist, where I coordinated FEC programming and counseled FEC members on business planning and best practices. I am now an enthusiastic member of Live Oak Bank as its FEC Domain Expert, a new role for me and a crazy exciting opportunity for our industry – access to capital and long-term project financing!

This is the first in a series of features focused specifically on operating and growing your business. What most of you may not know is that I was an accomplished athlete and competed at the highest junior, collegiate and professional levels in multiple sports. I am also a fan of sport and the Olympic spirit grabs [...]

Lasertron hosts conference

By |May 1st, 2014|

Lasertron, provider of high-end laser tag equipment, arenas, and center management systems, is hosting its second Entertainment Center Conference of 2014 on May 20-21 in Buffalo, N.Y., held at the longest running laser tag facility in North America. The focus will be on management leadership systems and operational systems.

Notable speakers will include Michael Getlan of Amusement Consultants, Ben Jones of Live Oak Bank, Scott Gilmore and Dave Reiners of Betson Enterprises, and Jason Mitchell of Intercard Inc. Getlan and Jones will present a session titled, “Customer Service and the Intangibles of Business.” Jim Kessler of Lasertron will also have a Fireside Chat with Jones. The next conference is slated for August 5-6. For more information, visit (www.laser-tron.com).

As seen in Play Meter’s eNewsletter

RePlay Article: FEC Financing

By |April 23rd, 2014|

If finding your mission in life involves locating the intersection of your talents with the world’s needs, then family entertainment pro Ben Jones has found his sweet spot. Jones, a former hotel and FEC operator who most recently headed up IAAPA’s outreach to family entertainment facilities, has teamed up with Wilmington-based Live Oak Bank to provide capital to existing operators looking to grow their businesses.

“I love what I am doing. I like the people, the bank and the culture,” said an effusive Jones when we caught up with him last month. “I think they have a good reason for lending money. We have an overriding objective of fostering safety and soundness, and we want to help people grow their business. I joined the bank because I felt I could make a difference. It’s not just making loans but enhancing the industry that attracts me.”

In his new role at Live Oak, Jones will essentially create an FEC division. He connected with the bank through former IAAPA Chairman Bob Rippey, who was familiar with the financial institution and knew they were looking at new markets. Live Oak [...]

RTown Webinar focuses on FECs

By |April 14th, 2014|

Redemption Plus recently launched Rtown Academy, its new educational resource, and kicked it off on Jan. 15 with the first in a series of four Webinars.   The Webinar was titled, “Three Wise Men Discuss Hot Topics in Family Entertainment Center (FEC) Operations”.

The moderator was George McAuliffe of Pinnacle Entertainment Advisors; presenters included Rick Iceberg of CJ Barrymore’s in Michigan; Ben Jones, Senior Lender and FEC Domain Expert for Live Oak Bank; and George Smith, President of Family Entertainment Group.

Play Meter attended the Webinar; below is a sampling of the sage advice from this trio of experts.

Iceberg said CJ Barrymore’s has undergone tremendous expansion since it opened in 1974 to now offer more than 15 different attractions. He has followed a path of continued improvements, most recently adding full-scale bowling, which he said “turned out to be dynamite,” also mini bowling, with the combination being “a home run for us.”

He said, “When we committed to bowling we flew all over [...]