Every Thursday through Sunday evening, visitors — and returning regulars — at Far Out Arcade can spend the night channeling their inner kid by playing retro video arcade games for hours on end. Visit its website and you’ll see a slew of enthusiastic reviews complimenting the space, its selection of games available to play and how people of all ages are having a blast and can’t wait to return.
Far Out Arcade is owned by Scott Anderson, who has been a Manhattan, Kansas, resident for 20 years and has been running Far Out Arcade for two years. In this edition of our Small Business Spotlight series, Anderson joins us to talk about the need Far Out Arcade fills for families in the Manhattan community, how he is getting through the challenge of running an arcade during a global pandemic and why customer testimonials mean the world to him as a business owner.
What inspired you to start a business?
There was a clear lack of affordable family entertainment venues in the area. The pool and zoo are only available during the summer. The theater, pool, parks and rec programs and the zoo all quickly deplete the wallet, and often separate parents from spending the time with their children.
I didn’t have previous experience as a business owner, just years of retail experience. But it was always my dream job. Once I knew I wanted to start a video arcade, I prepared by doing lots of research.
Where does the name Far Out Arcade originate from?
The thought concept of ‘far out’ just appealed to me. Upon hearing ‘far out’ my brain always associated the beach, space and radical time. Simply love all the definitions.
How did you decide on Manhattan as the city for your brick-and-mortar storefront location?
It was a natural choice after living here 20 years. The diversity and community is home, and there is just no place I would rather be.
We serve the whole community through affordability, location and compassion. In truth, Far Out Arcade has become its own community within the community. When unpredictable circumstances lead to me not being able to be present in May, volunteers stepped up and hosted on my behalf.
What were some of the challenges Far Out Arcade faced during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The first challenge was finances and getting loan approval during unpredictable times. The second challenge was timing. Our doors were only open a month before the pandemic shut down the majority of places where the spread would increase.
How were you able to overcome these challenges?
I stayed persistent, and kept believing in what I was doing. If you surround yourself with the right people, the right support will keep you winning. Even if you’re not making money, the right people make it a big win.
How has inflation affected your business and how have you been coping with it?
Woo, it stings! We have had to raise the entry fee and widen our vision to offer more in the way of live music and public parties.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner?
Joy. It’s seeing our customers enjoy our services and receiving compliments. This is something created from the ground up and people are enjoying it. One of my favorite customer reviews says “I swear Scott is Santa Claus gifting us with a place to create joyful memories.”
What does the future hold for Far Out Arcade throughout 2022 and beyond?
New location, new partnerships and new paths.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Go for it and don’t let anything hold you back. Even if you don’t make a penny, it is worth it to know you put forth the effort in something you truly love.
Stop by and visit Far Out Arcade at 1108 Laramie Street, Manhattan, Kansas 66502!
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