Rusty Quarters' donation drive raises $3,000, keeps arcade alive

Categories: Business
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A month ago, Rusty Quarters was on life support. Thanks to $3,000 worth of donations, the retro arcade is again alive and kickin'.
On May 13, Annie and Sage Spirtos -- the wife and husband owners and operators of Lyn-Lake's Rusty Quarters Retro Arcade  -- sent out a plea. Their small business was on the brink of death.

In a remarkably frank Facebook post, Sage and Annie wrote that "the way things are going, Rusty Quarters might have [to] shut our doors forever," adding that a recent "drastic decline in attendance" meant that "if business doesn't pick up soon for Rusty Quarters, we will have to close our doors June 1st."

The plea paid more dividends than Annie and Sage ever could've imagined -- 3,008 of them to be exact. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of supporters, Rusty Quarters won't be going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon.

Annie said the need for a cash influx was largely due to back rent she and Sage owed from the three months before Rusty Quarters opened last winter. The couple had previously run Puff n' Stuff Gifts and Novelties out of the 818 W. Lake St. property only to see that business fail last fall, but decided to open an old-school arcade in the same building shortly thereafter.

"We had no revenue during those months," Annie told the City Pages, adding that the debt, coupled with a decline in attendance, was "affecting our ability to pay rent on the space."
Annie spirtos.jpg
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Annie: The campaign to raise funds for back rent resulted in "a huge response."

In the wake of their Facebook plea, the couple heard from many outstate and out-of-state fans who wanted to support the retro-arcade cause but weren't able to travel to Lyn-Lake to patronize Rusty Quarters. So Annie and Sage set up a 'donation' button on their webpage, and just 21 days later, the at-one-time life-threatening debt problem is now under control.

Annie said she and Sage no longer need donations to stay afloat, but will keep the 'donation' button on their webpage nonetheless. Supporters have asked them to, and besides, "I'm not going to shoo away free money if somebody wants to contribute to our cause," Annie said.

But in addition to the donations, business has picked up. Those factors, combined with the price for games rising from 25 cents to 50 cents, "has put us back in the black," Annie said. And in terms of the long-term viability of the retro arcade, the increase of gamers regularly coming to the retro arcade to chase high scores is the most important thing.

"Lots of people love Rusty Quarters, but if they don't play, we can't exist," Annie said.

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29 comments
CriticalThinker
CriticalThinker

this comment from last june was spot on: Will people continue to dump $3K into the joint every time they need it. They will, again, without a doubt.  

now they're asking for $8,000. how much next year? 

  clearly this is not a sustainable biz as is... the new online fund drive says they are looking for a lower rent option if they can hang on until the end of their current lease. new location? probably not in uptown, which people seem to love.

OlympiaSun
OlympiaSun

Interesting story has this arcade.

 

I learned of it a week ago, and look forward to checking it out. With the coming of a downtown nightclub specializing in retro games and great joints like S.S. Billiards in Hopkins still hanging on in what has to be a tough business, I hope a new appreciation for the old classics is being fostered. 

BelleBleu76
BelleBleu76

Guest99 ALLEGED partner? Are you privy to all of the details and inner workings of the partnership? Have you ever even spoken with the owners of Rusty Quarters or are you just running on assumptions?  There are A LOT of reasons a FAMILY owned partnership doesn't work out. People usually don't want to air their family's dirty laundry in a public forum. Have you ever owned and operated a retail store? Do you know just how cyclical the retail business is? Based on your sarcasm and hatefulness it sounds like you've already made up your mind though, so this is most likely a wasted effort.  

Media Whore
Media Whore

One partner wants out and that forces the closure of the business? Interesting. You couldn't buy out the partner?  And why did this alleged partner want out? I'm sure it was a highly successful business, and the partner preferred to dissolve the business rather than sell out the share. Of course that's what happened.  So business two was successful, but the business was closed in order to experiment with an unproven formula? Yep, totally believe that.  I hope a retro arcade is a viable business, but I have serious doubts. 

Anne
Anne

The reason might be that you are actually NOT citing FACT. They in fact DID NOT fail twice. The first business was a partnership where one partner wanted out. Thus forcing the closure of said business. The retail stock from the second business was liquidated to fund the purchase of the arcade equipment. Sometimes you need to try a few different formulas before the right mix is discovered. 

Guest99
Guest99

Interesting how facts are not permitted in your comments. These folks have failed twice in the same location to run successful businesses. Relevant or not, they have. Your story seems to ignore that fact, for what reason I cannot surmise. 

ClownHo
ClownHo

Too bad you have to look at yourself in the mirror, Oscar. 

Oscar
Oscar

King, you're a dick. Way to armchair-manage. I, for one, am glad you don't enjoy what they have to offer enough to go more than once a month. Less asshole for me to look at when I'm there.

King
King

That's what I like to see, a lack of critical thinking.  You don't like what you read, call people an idiot and moron, characterize a statement of fact as a personal attack and project anger upon others.  Thanks for the good laughs. 

Ryanleno
Ryanleno

 I try to go up there at least once a week. Qbert is so damn addicting that I can burn up $10 before I even notice. Let me ask you this King, why are you sooo angry? Did mommy not hold you enough as a child? Are you socially akward in large crowds therefore find it easier to push people around in a comment thread? Are you under the age of 16 and think you know everything? I'm guessing yes across the board. Not to personally slam you as i'm not truly that type of guy. Tell ya what sir, I'll take you out for a cup of coffee and give you a hug. Then we'll play some arkanoid and you'll see that the world is a much better place and people aren't crooks like you think. How does that sound?

Ryanleno
Ryanleno

  That's thier plan as soon as the lease expires.

Ryanleno
Ryanleno

 That's thier plan as soon as the lease expires.

baconface
baconface

Your personal attacks are unwarranted.  I myself have experienced the generosity of Sage and Annie and have seen them do the same for others.  There are plenty of people who enjoy RQ on a regular basis, they don't need you, there is plenty of support for these guys. 

Jenna
Jenna

 You OBVIOUSLY Don't know what the hell you're talking about. There are a shit ton of people that are in there constantly. Kids love it. Adults love it. I dont know if you've ever owned a business in Minneapolis before, but its not easy to keep it open. I have.  More than once even. And not on something that is as unique as an arcade. You have an endless amount of taxes, rent, utilities AND your stock. Not to mention the thousands of dollars you have to spend on licensing. And what you think is merely a novelty, is something that IS going to last for a long time because Rusty Quarters is a treasure to uptown. A unique city full of a unique people now has a unique arcade. You "King" are a moron. Thanks for letting the rest of us know that. Are you a business owner? Doesn't seem likely considering YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Owners of RQ. I will continue to game there. As will my friends, and I will be more than happy to assist in proving that dude wrong, because he/she sure is.

King
King

There's no doubt this arcade was hurting with no revenue for three months. What's left out of the story, however, is the fact that these people have failed twice at operating a successful business, not once. They had a comic book shop, converted it to a novelty/gift store, then opened RQ. After failing twice to run a business, and dropping cash for rent on a closed storefront, is it a wonder that as soon as the novelty of classic video games wore off that these people were begging for charity?  Yeah, people love having a place to play old school video games, but how many of us are going to play old school Donkey Kong and Frogger more than once a month? I don't think enough people care enough to dump money into this place on a regular basis. Everybody loves the idea and wants to support it, but how many people will continue to do so? Will people continue to dump $3K into the joint every time they need it. They will, again, without a doubt.  I hope they succeed, but there's a reason the Twin Cities hasn't seen a retro arcade in the past, and few of them exist around the country. 

mr natural
mr natural

What on earth are you talking about?

Dickinson
Dickinson

I didn't realize I was donating to pay for the rent on a gift shop? Really? Well that kinda sucks you didn't share this beforehand... :o(

Hopjeremy
Hopjeremy

I had no idea they were here. They need to put some flyers out.

Annie Spirtos
Annie Spirtos

Rampage is still 25¢, as is Space Invaders, Arkanoid and Tetris. Also games with a continue platform (X-Men, Neo Geo & Gauntlet II are 50¢ with 25¢ continue) Pinball is now 75¢. 

emma
emma

For one, they have  a lease, and it would be more expensive to leave and move than to keep it. Duh. Two, they aren't zoned for alcohol (thank you chloe). I wouldn't want them too anyway. Rusty Quarters is my son's favorite place in the whole world. Its a great place to bring your kid, we spend hours and hours in there and only spend maybe 10-15  bucks at the most, and that includes treats. Sage and Annie are by far the nicest people I have ever met in my life, they deserve to stay afloat. They do something original and amazing, that kids love.

Jessica Armbruster
Jessica Armbruster

There's plenty of parking in that neighborhood if you're willing to walk around the corner or across the street. Just don't expect to park on Lake, Lyndale, or Hennepin.

effeminate dad
effeminate dad

Great arcade! Too bad Rampage will now cost .50$ instead of .25$, though.

Chloe
Chloe

Good for them! So happy to see that they survived. MN needs more small locally owned awesome businesses like this. Support small business! 

Chloe
Chloe

 If you were following their story and progress at all, you would know that they are not zoned to serve alcohol. Get over it. Not every place has to serve alcohol to be fun and to survive.

kansoda
kansoda

Of course it is not a sustainable business!! that is why there are no arcades anymore. One idea, start serving alcohol!

CriticalThinker
CriticalThinker

I got news for ya honey, you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet. The comment claiming knowledge of the business practices of the aforementioned property is magically missing, at least from my browser. Why is it you are so willing to accept what you read on the internet, then scoff when somebody else questions the accuracy of the information by using the word "alleged." Critical thinking, honey, use it. 

CriticalThinker
CriticalThinker

@Jenna  King knows a lot more than you want to admit, honey. Critical thinking, use it.

CriticalThinker
CriticalThinker

if there had been a "shit ton" of people in there, then why was the rube complaining about foot traffic dropping off dramatically in may, then asking for $3K to keep the doors open? that's doesn't jive with your claim of a "shit ton." critical thinking, honey, use it. 

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