News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks MagazineNovember 12, 2013 No Comments
Jonesville, Mich., Bowling Center Add the Laser Maze Challenge®
Jonesville Lanes (L & J Lanes) in Jonesville, Mich., is the latest bowling center to add a Laser Maze Challenge® to their amusement offerings. Opened on October 11, L & J Lanes’ Laser Maze features Funovation’s Time Portal graphics, lighted door entry and the newest innovation – Video Capture. While a small footprint attraction, The Laser Maze Challenge® offers just the right mix of brain and brawn and narrative and innovation, making it a bright and complementary addition to any center. For more information on L & J Lanes, please visit http://www.ljlanes.com/
A Letter from Ben Jones, Senior Lender and FEC Domain Expert, Live Oak Bank
I am very excited writing this as the newest member of the executive team at Live Oak Bank, where I am part of a small group of specialized lenders who are starting a new niche lending division that will focus specifically on providing financing for FECs, small parks and attractions.
As Senior Lender/FEC Domain Expert of Live Oak Bank’s FEC vertical, my role is to facilitate loan opportunities by assisting manufactures, suppliers, distributors and operators to identify needs and then working in concert with clients to formulate the financing avenues to meet those needs. As an industry peer and former operator, I am uniquely positioned and bring practitioner experience to the financing solutions we will offer FECs and related industries. The programs we have established encompass refinancing, acquisitions, new development, remodeling, equipment purchases and succession financing. With loan amounts of up to $5 million, our terms and rates are competitive with fully amortizing maturities of up to 25 years without balloons, calls or crazy covenants. We are a cash flow lender with a focus on our client’s long-term health, prosperity and growth. If you have financing needs such as lowering existing loan payments to improve cash flow, making an equipment purchase, or if you want to grow your business, we should connect.
Live Oak Bank started in 2008 with a singular goal to provide loans to small independent businesses whose markets and industries had been overlooked by traditional banks and institutions. Being overlooked or even mistreated by a vast majority of the banking world is a familiar cry to almost every FEC operator or professional. In the 27 years I have been involved in the amusement and FEC business, we have never had a national lender remotely interested, let alone committed to learning about the nuances of our business or lending money to our industry. Live Oak Bank’s approach and business model is working, as Live Oak is already the nation’s second largest originator of small business loans with clients all across the country.
It is inspiring to be part of an amazing company with great vision, a willingness to learn and where the opportunities to make a difference within an industry I love are endless. In the coming weeks and months, I will be reaching out to the FEC community with more details. In the interim, let me know how I can help you, your business or our industry. I invite your inquiry and feedback. Looking forward to seeing you at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando.
(For more information, visit www.liveoakbank.com.)
Tourist Attractions & Parks eNewsletter Feature
Top Tips for Selecting Outdoor Furniture (Part I of Two Parts)
Not long ago, the owner of a small amusement park took a look at the aluminum benches that dotted the grounds of his establishment and was less than pleased with what he saw. Although they were only a few years old, they were cracking and, he said, looked awful. As it turned out, the problem stemmed from the fact that the benches were manufactured from aluminum that had not been properly reinforced. “We really weren’t all that careful when we were shopping around, and because of that, we spent several thousand dollars on replacements,” the operator said. “We’ll never make that mistake again.”
As this anecdote shows, selecting outdoor furniture is not a task to be approached casually. Rather, it requires due diligence on many fronts. “It may take time and effort,” observed Marilee Gray, marketing manager for outdoor furniture manufacturer Kay Park Recreation. “However, it will be worth it in the long run.”
Start by limiting choices to products that have been produced especially for commercial installations, rather than for residential ones. “Even if it’s of very high quality, outdoor furniture designed for homes just won’t withstand the heavy use it will get at a theme park, family entertainment center or” similar venue, Gray observed.
Look for outdoor furniture that not only stands up to use (and abuse), but is also as impervious as possible to the elements, from the blazing-hot sun in the summertime, to snow and salt air. In choosing metal furniture, remember that the lower the gauge, the sturdier the product. Sources recommended avoiding pieces manufactured from cast aluminum because the latter comprises only 60 percent real aluminum. The balance of its composition is junk metals, rendering it especially susceptible to cracking and breaking. Outdoor furniture made entirely of wood, too, should be avoided based on the tendency of the material to rot and chip, sources said.
Plastisol (PVC)-coated expanded metal and laser-cut steel rank among popular materials from which commercial outdoor furniture is manufactured; both Kay Park Recreation and Premier Polysteel have PVC-coated metal products in their commercial outdoor furniture collections. Plastisol coatings are said to provide a strong layer of protection against the elements, and to afford UV as well as mold resistance. According to Premier Polysteel, PVC-coated products whose surface has been oven-cured for an extended period of time at high temperatures fare better than those whose surface has not undergone oven-curing. An oven-cured surface, the company claims, is smoother and more resistant to bacterial and fungal growth than a non-cured surface. Uniform curing also enables the PVC coating to better adhere to the metal beneath it, enhancing wear resistance and eliminating any openings that may attract bees and other insects.
Recycled plastic, too, has been garnering increased favor as a component of furniture for outdoor use in theme parks, waterparks and family entertainment centers. Furniture marketed as being made from recycled plastic contains at least 96 percent post-consumer/industrial materials, like milk jugs, pop bottles and plastic bags, plus other stabilizing agents and UV stabilizers to protect against noticeable sun fading and to enhance color. Major benefits afforded by recycled plastic encompass resistance to chipping and fading and less flammability than wood.
Yet a third material frequently used to manufacture tables and benches is concrete. Concrete pieces comprise a metal skeleton covered with concrete, which gets its rigidity from an aggregate of pebbles or small particles of glass. This rigidity, coupled with the material’s weight, make concrete products difficult to vandalize and almost impossible to steal. Many manufacturers use inorganic pigments to permanently color the concrete used to fashion furniture, and some add surfaces that are made to look like natural materials.(See the Nov. 18, 2013 eNewsletter for Part II)