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Game Playing with Profit Centers

NEW YORK -- Since the beginnings of the industry, convenience store retailers have looked at alternative products and services to meet the needs of their customers while maintaining a convenient edge.

And today, car washes, postal services, DVD rentals dry cleaning are fairly common profit centers in convenience stores, providing one-stop shopping for society's time-crunched consumers.

But it wasn't without trial and error that the industry vetted profit centers that were a boon from those that were a bust. Take the May 1983 issue of Convenience Store News, which examined the potential of arcade game profit centers in convenience stores.

"When pinball was introduced, it was called a fad, and yet, it is still with us today," wrote columnist Bill Housefield, then national sales manager for M.V.S. Amusements Inc. "The investment made by manufacturers in research and development over the past few years assures us of a continuing supply of new and unique games to whet the appetites of video game customers."

However, Housefield explains the success of the games also depend on the convenience companies' ability to "change their mode of thinking that is the result of the concept first spawned by the convenience store industry -- helping the customer in and out of the store as fast as possible. You now want those customers to take the extra time to play the games, as well as purchase sandwiches, snack foods and soft drinks."

But the desire for convenience was too strong, because these vintage units are seldom seen in convenience stores anymore.
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