It has been 4 years since our last store opened in Evansville, Indiana as a franchise. At the time we had two company owned stores in Terre Haute and Bloomington here in Indiana as well. We had just finished filing all of our franchise documentation with the state of Indiana and at that time franchising seemed to be the best way for us to continue to expand.
Since that time a lot has happened. Obviously the biggest change was that the recession came to the Midwest in full force. Everyone lost so much of their net worth as stocks plummeted and 401k retirement savings shrank. It just seemed everyone went into hibernation to wait and see how and if the economy would recover.
The biggest changes since that time has been in the ownership of eBash at the corporate level. In 2006, myself and my partner Shawn Wells were approached by an investment group that we allowed to buy a majority of the company to help us with expansion plans. Over the next 4 years that group invested over $1 million, many times at their own discretion. Many different things were tried including a different store design in our Bloomington location and of course franchising.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but circumstances and the recession forced the investment group’s partners to move out of the area and in 2010 Shawn and I bought back the Terre Haute location. We continued to negotiate the rights to the overall eBash name and all assets company wide and a few months ago we became the sole owners again of the name eBash and all associated goodwill.
During this time I have always received 5-10 inquiries per month from potential new game center owners asking for advice, consulting and start-up assistance. I try to help as much as I can in an honest, no-nonsense way that hopefully paints a realistic picture of our industry and business strategies. Until we controlled the rights to the eBash name I could not really offer anything other than ideas and suggestions. However when I met Derek Rankin and Harry Kim from Charleston, Illinois the time was almost perfect to start our new program in conjunction with their plans to open a new video game center.
The great news now is that we are launching a new plan to allow centers to operate under the eBash “umbrella”. In talks over the years with publishers, developers and manufacturers we know that until we have around 10 stores operating as eBash in a diverse geographic area we won’t be able to get any kind of benefits upstream in the video game industry. This new partnership agreement gives us the ability to help new and existing centers grow their business AND allows those stores to operate under the name eBash.
As we move forward in Charleston I plan on sharing our progress here on my blog that will continue to help many prospective and existing game centers with their own planning and expansions. I also plan on releasing the details on how centers can purchase access to all of our planning and financial data as well as become partners under the eBash name. If you would like more information just comment here on my blog or contact me : http://terrehaute.ebash.com/index.php/info/contact-info-store-hours/