In the history of eBash many things have happened, both successes and failures. We started in Terre Haute at an old warehouse in 2004 and then grew and moved to our own building in 2006. Later that year we brought on investors to help us expand and opened up a small location in Clinton (RIP). After a few months in Clinton we realized that the town was too close to Terre Haute and we were cannibalizing our own customers so we shut it down and move the equipment to a new store in Bloomington, IN in 2007.
I won’t go into details of what went into making the decisions on each of these steps, but we have learned many things in our journey. In 2007 we filed in Indiana to be a franchise company and one of our investors helped a guy in Evansville purchase and open our first franchise in the beginning of 2008. That franchise ramped up nicely and we had it profitable by the end of that year. Many Evansville customers from those days will remember how great that store was, fiber internet, 5000 square feet, nearly 100 stations, new computers, tournament stage, etc.
I have visited the current location and actually spent the last few weeks assessing the value of the store. Skip a few steps of how it got to this point (no need to pour salt into wounds) but Evansville gamers find themselves downgraded to use only 2700 square feet. What was 40 Xbox stations is now *maybe* 10 working systems. What started as 30 new gaming computers is now currently 6 working systems and another 10 skeletons that don’t power on. 8 Playstation 3 systems back in 2008 have all disappeared, there are none left. What about the 20Mbps/20Mbps fiber line? Now the store has two DSL lines that tested today at 5 Mbps/1Mbps.
After 5 years there have been three different groups which have attempted to run an eBash in Evansville and failed. My partners and current investors think I am crazy for even entertaining the idea of trying to save the store in Evansville. We have so many great things going for us this year including: launching our mobile division, opening up a new Indianapolis 7000 square foot facility, an extremely successful summer camp program and plans for even bigger things in the near future. Why mess with Evansville at all?
I am an opportunist. I can only see the potential and I sometimes tend to let my heart drive my decisions more than my head. What does my heart tell me? That Evansville is a great place for an eBash. I feel the same way that I did in 2007 when we started planning a store for Evansville.
So this morning I executed an agreement to take over operations of the current location. Not my first choice, but after spending time there I don’t think it is actually a bad location at all. Not very big, but the space next door is vacant and ready for expansion. The key is that we will be opening up for business this Friday, December 27th.
What do we have planned immediately for the store? How about….
- New AT&T U-Verse fiber line will be installed Monday, December 30th
- Installation of some Xbox One and Playstation 4 systems
- Bring the Xbox 360 count back up to 24 working systems for tournaments
- Install 12 new computers to bring the decent count to 18 and work to get another 6 good ones put together for a total of 24
- Begin a standard eBash schedule which includes lock-ins every Friday for all ages and every Saturday for gamers 16 and older
- Bring back tournaments, at least one per month, for games like Call of Duty, League of Legends and Dota2
- Start weeknight leagues between all three Indiana eBash locations for games like LoL, CoD, Dota2, Starcraft and more
What do we have planned for the future?
- Upgrade the U-verse fiber as soon as the newest technology is installed by AT&T scheduled for the first part of 2014
- Launch the summer camp program in the summer of 2014
- Grow the store business and take over the space next door, so that we can expand back to closer to 100 stations
- Build back the tournament stage
The real reason for pursuing this opportunity is that I am surrounded by great people. The eBash staff is top notch and we continue to add great people to our team it seems almost daily. We have a couple great guys that are going to head to Evansville and relaunch the store with a vengeance. They have awesome personalities, dedicated work ethics and enough energy to take on such a monumental task.
But it isn’t about just having the right people to get started, we will immediately be looking to hire 2-4 other personnel at the store. More details about those interested in applying and joining a fast growing and undisputedly the coolest company in the Midwest will be announced soon.
So welcome home Evansville, my prodigal son. I welcome you with open arms and no judgement for where you have been while you were away. We look only to the future and I see great things for all of us.