Allow me to begin by summarizing each year I've been open with one word: (2018) Wonder, (2019) Stride, (2020) Lockdown, (2021) Recovery, (2022) Growth and (2023) Lessons. I'm predicting 2024 to be 'Rebirth' and we'll get more into that tomorrow, but as for 2023, I learned a lot about my business and of what it is truly capable. I learned about personal friendships, about the value of family and about never taking life for granted. For all of my life, I've never hesitated to take that next step. I had an idea, mapped it out and accomplished it with pure and unadulterated confidence. I like goals, but it's the crushing of those goals that I actually love; my true passion.
I added a new Sunday tournament night this past year and it's better than I ever thought it could be. I was able to rearrange the gameroom and made it flow in a way that finally made sense for space and organization. I built a brand new minigolf course in 18 weeks, one hole at a time... one week at a time. My game collection and retro gallery has become a life of it's own and I've even made good friends with it. It says hello, btw! My staff was beyond top notch! My frequent flyers have become a tightly-knitted section of my life returning week after week; sometimes day after day. I've learned from the deep conversations we've all had at the front desk that others may have overheard live or on stream, or even jumped into at some point. I've learned that we all come from different backgrounds, different upbringings, and yet we all met here for some reason. I still don't fully believe in fate, but it certainly makes me wonder.
I lost my dad this year and I've never been hit with such a hard blow in my life. I took some time off, but coming back to my Prodigy family really gave me a new look at what matters to me and I learned that life can be so beautifully meaningful while so disgustingly harsh. I want to thank everyone that's ever visited Prodigy and supported my little selfish dream. I know it's not a perfect gameroom and I know I have much more to offer, but you should know that I put my heart and soul into this business and I want it to be a place you can support with true confidence. Every year, I release my State of Prodigy report. I like you to know what percentage of every dollar that you hand me goes towards. You work so hard for what you earn and when you exchange that value with me, you should know how it's being spent. Things would be different if it were a gift, but it's most certainly not. You're paying me for something and as a business owner, I owe you the right to know how your money is used at my business. Maybe this is something that other businesses could start doing and that's also another reason why I choose to do this. Imagine a world where financial accountability is taken and shown to the public.
Look at this graaaaph. In the blog section, you can see past years' percentage graphs, but I'll just say here that a few things have definitely changed from the previous years. Obviously building a new course costs money, so a lot more went towards wood, carpet and screws. But thankfully you didn't pay for the design, engineering or the build. That's on the house from yours truly! 😉 The video game tournaments needed a lot of monitors and equipment for streaming so A/V equipment was a big section of the expenses this year. I keep adding games and systems to the library, but not at the rate I have in the past. Somehow I've collected a lot already. I'm always taking suggestions and listen to what is wanted and if anything, I stored away a lot of the games that didn't get much use for new titles. Taxes... are taxes and surprise!! They went up. I just wish we all knew exactly where that goes. Graphs would always help a little. Eastworks has been so good to me from the beginning offering me such a great deal on rent; especially working with me through the lockdowns. Even though rent is still a huge percentage of the mix, it's fully understood. It's one of the largest spaces in the mill. It's also understood that things have gotten ungodly expensive over these last couple years, so I was informed my rent is drastically going up next year and beyond with my new lease. No fears, though, I'm a good saver and a good planner. I have ideas and I'll still try to keep prices fair. And as always, none of your money went to political or ideological donations. My staff got greatly deserved raises so payroll naturally went up a little. Swipe fees and drink costs went up. And finally, insurances went wayyy up. What went down? I was able to switch all my course lighting and blacklights to all LED so my utilities thankfully dropped slightly. Oh, and the owner profit went down substantially but yet somehow I still get by. 🙂
Which leads me back to the summary of 2023; Growth. I've grown. Prodigy has grown. Tomorrow, I'll be announcing how much more growth Prodigy can handle. Stay tooned for my 2024 plans! It's gonna get juicy.