Rusty Quarters arcade facing renewed financial troubles, begins second donation drive in year
"Lots of people love Rusty Quarters, but if they don't play, we can't exist," Annie Spirtos told City Pages last year. That comment still holds true.
Annie and Sage Spirtos -- the wife-and-husband owners and operators of Lyn-Lake's Rusty Quarters Retro Arcade -- would prefer people come to 818 West Lake Street and spend their money playing games. But since that hasn't happened as much as they need it to in recent months, they've again turned to a donation drive in hopes of keeping their fledgling business open.
For the second time in a calendar year, Annie and Sage need to meet a fundraising goal on a tight deadline. Last year, they successfully raised $3,000 between May and June. This year, they're hoping to raise $8,000 by the end of May. If they can't do it, they say they'll have no choice but to close.
Rusty Quarters finds itself in financial trouble once again despite raising the price of games from 25 cents to 50 cents a little less than a year ago. In a lengthy note published Saturday on Indiegogo, the Spirtoses blame their current plight on cold winter, slow foot traffic, and high rent.
"Unfortunately for us to stay open, we need to call on our neighbors for help," they write. Here's the note in its entirety:
Everyday is a fun day for us. We always get to see new faces walk through our doors, excited to see the glowing screens and hear the pew-pew noises from each arcade and pinball machine. It's fun to make new friends that remember playing these arcade games when they were a kid or watching parents with their little ones, huddled over a game and cheering with their son or daughter as they jump that barrel, stomp on the turtle, or shoot that last spaceship.
We always hear you guys and gals cheer, "Thank you for doing this, for opening up in my neighborhood."... And we always respond with, "Hey if it wasn't for you guys showing up, we wouldn't have a fun place for you guys to hang out".
But the way things are going, Rusty Quarters might have shut our doors forever.
Recently we've seen a drastic decline in attendance. Drastic enough that it is affecting our day-to-day business. Some of this is due to the recent moody weather (warm/cold/warm/snow/cold). Some is due to a newer and more fancy arcade that recently opened up in the MPLS area. And some may be just for the fact that the novelty of bringing a retro video arcade back to life has just faded by way of the dinosaur...
We are currently in a high rent lease, locked in for almost 2 more years (lease is up in 11/2014). We started this labor of love with a very small shoestring budget. We have spent every penny to keep us open. We've sold cars, tiki mugs, shirts, and every other personal bauble to keep this place going. We've looked into second jobs to make ends meet but are shut down with words like, "You're overqualified" or "I can't hire someone that's just going to quit right after their business picks up". We have exhausted all of our savings and because of slow attendance we've been a bit shy of the rent for a few months, leaving us in the red with our landlords for $8,000 in compiled back rent...
The fact is that THE RENT IS JUST TOO DAMN HIGH! We've tried our best get a Small Business loan but have been denied at every turn. (Turns out, you have to have money to borrow money) And it turns out that we are too small of retail space for a food/alcohol license. All we can do is try our best to get better attendance and keep Rusty Quarters open for 2 more years until we can find a larger place with cheaper rent, a proper HVAC system, running water and a grill.
Bottom Line, if business doesn't pick up soon for Rusty Quarters, we will have to close our doors June 1st.
In conjunction with asking for donations, we just hope that if you get bored around the house, had a hard day at work, need to do something fun with the kids, or just need a cheap date night, you'll decide to stop by your neighborhood arcade and spend a couple of quarters. Relax with fan favorites such as Donkey Kong, Galaga, Rampage, Ms. Pac-Man, Tekken, etc. Also, keep us in mind for your next birthday party or event. Revenue from those activities make up for those slow days...
But if you really want to help us out, we're willing to make it worth your while with a list of Donation Perks which may be found on the right of the screen. Even though we've set our perks to $5 Donations, you are welcome to donate as much as you want.
Also, please join our Facebook page and spread the word to your friends and family that there is a fun place in town to spend your afternoon/evening.
We do understand that this is our second donation drive (we needed your help back in 04/12) and would like to thank everyone in the past that has help to keep us open through these hard economic times. Once again time are tough for us at Rusty Quarters and hope with your continue support of our business, we'll be here for your retro video game needs for years to come.
We're not asking for all of your hard earned money. All we're asking for are your spare quarters, which believe it or not truly add up. With your continued support of this neighborhood small business, we'll keep you guys playing with new games in a kid safe and clean environment... And with a little luck, we'll be able to clear up present issues with our landlord.
Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you soon!
Annie (Boss Lady) & Sage (The Rube) Spirtos
Rusty Quarters Retro Arcade & Museum
818 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408
After the first day of the fundraising drive, Annie and Sage had already raised $557, or roughly seven percent of their 60-day goal.
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