Kriss Anderson / Far Out Arcade
From Thursday to Sunday evening, visitors – and returning regulars – to distant arcade can spend the night channeling their inner child by playing retro video arcade games for hours. Visit its website and you’ll see a slew of rave reviews complimenting the space, its selection of games available to play, and how people of all ages are having fun and looking forward to coming back.
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Far Out Arcade is owned by Scott Anderson, who has lived in Manhattan, Kansas for 20 years and has run 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 rose to the challenge of running an arcade during a global pandemic, and why the testimonials customers mean the world to him as a business owner.
What prompted you to start a business?
There was a distinct lack of affordable family entertainment venues in the area. The swimming pool and the zoo are only available in summer. The theatre, swimming pool, parks and recreation programs and the zoo quickly drain the wallet and often prevent parents from spending time with their children.
I had no experience as a business owner, just years of retail experience. But it’s always been my dream job. Once I knew I wanted to start an arcade, I prepared by doing a lot of research.
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Where does the name Far Out Arcade come from?
The concept of thinking “far away” just appealed to me. When hearing “far”, my brain has always associated the beach, space and radical time. Just love all the definitions.
How did you choose Manhattan as the city for your physical storefront?
It was a natural fit after living here for 20 years. Diversity and community are home, and there’s just no place I’d rather be.
We serve the entire community through affordability, location and compassion. In truth, Far Out Arcade has become its own community within the community. When unforeseen circumstances prevented me from attending in May, volunteers stepped up and hosted on my behalf.
What have been some of the challenges Far Out Arcade has 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 did you manage to overcome these challenges?
I stayed persistent and continued to believe in what I was doing. If you surround yourself with the right people, the right support will allow you to win. Even if you don’t make money, the right people make it a big win.
How has inflation affected your business and how are you dealing with it?
Wow, that stings! We had to increase the admission price and expand our vision to offer more live music and public parties.
What is the most rewarding aspect of owning a business?
Joy. It’s seeing our customers appreciate our services and receiving compliments. It’s something that was created from scratch and people appreciate it. One of my favorite customer reviews says “I swear Scott is the Santa who gives us a place to make happy memories.”
What future for Far Out Arcade in 2022 and beyond?
New place, new partnerships and new routes.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?
Go ahead and let nothing hold you back. Even if you don’t earn a dime, it’s worth knowing you’re putting in the effort for something you really love.
Stop by and visit Far Out Arcade at 1108 Laramie Street, Manhattan, Kansas 66502!
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