Arcade Heroes Interviews: David Goldfarb

Interview with an industry veteran – David Goldfarb

Last month at the International Association of Amusements Parks and Attractions Expo in Orlando (better known as “IAAPA”), we caught up with David Golfarb of Miami Beach, Florida for a brief interview. Goldfarb, a native of New York and globe-trotter extraordinaire, has been in the arcade and amusements industry for over 25 years, so it seemed a good fit to talk with a long-time “Arcade Hero.” He founded PrimeTime Amusements in his collegiate years at the University of Central Florida, supplying sub-shops with a number of arcade items and growing from there. Since we were both at the show, I figured it would be good to take advantage of that opportunity to talk with the man behind that venture and find out what makes the company what it is.

Goldfarb has grown his business into a turn-key solutions enterprise, simultaneously watching the industry grow, evolve and morph throughout the years. We asked him how he’s managed to grow his business amongst the big-players and competition, and what is on the horizon for the industry.

The PrimeTime Amusements booth as seen at IAAPA 2018

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Arcade Heroes (AH): “Morning David, thanks again for sitting down with us and for taking the time to do this. How’s the show been going for you this year?”

David Goldfarb (DG): “Hey, no problem, any time. The show has been great to us thus far and it always is. We’ve always gotten a lot of good PR and customers from IAAPA, and not to mention the new and innovative products and games are interesting to see too.”

AH: “How long has PrimeTime been attending IAAPA? What kind of changes have you seen over the years?”

DG: “We’ve been attending the show for the past 10 years or so, and it has changed drastically since then. There are many sectors of the industry that will always remain somewhat the same, due to the nature of their product, like the rollercoasters/rides, pinball, and whatnot. But there are also the vendors, suppliers, inventors and manufacturers that have been constantly stepping up their ideas to keep ahead of the curve. Because everyone wants the latest and flashiest products for their FEC’s. Naturally, what’s coming up a lot now is virtual reality[VR] and augmented reality[AR]. That’s been a huge subsector within the entire industry that keeps evolving, almost day by day.”

AH: “Yeah, I’ve noticed the same thing, particularly over the few years. It’s always that race to see who’s first and best, regardless the product. That makes me wonder, in an industry that’s so diverse and competitive, how did you achieve your initial big break and get to where you are today?”

DG: “It was a long road of sweat, blood, and tears. I started out operating simple pool tables at sub-shops near my college, and I just worked relentlessly, day and night, without taking any days off for myself for years at a time, to grow my business. Before I knew it I had contracts with big hotels for operating game rooms in Orlando, which has now lead me to owning my own FEC in Fort Lauderdale[Editor’s Note: that FEC is called Xtreme Action Park]. But in between that, there was a lot of adversity and sleepless nights. What propelled PrimeTime into the next level, was my first major account that I got in the mid 90’s, the Blondies Bar on Fort Lauderdale Beach.”

Xtreme Action Park, South Florida
One view of the enormous FEC that PrimeTime Amusements is a part of, Xtreme Action Park

AH: “Ah, the breakout event, I always find those interesting. What’s the story behind that?”

 DG: “It wasn’t so much interesting as it was relentless. My company was flat-lining for awhile, not seeing any real growth. I called and called and called the owners day after day. I was that entrepreneur that wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I still don’t. Eventually, the owners went with PrimeTime to operate 20 machines in the location. It was awesome. It was my first big account, and it opened the doors for PrimeTime and so much more. Actually, it’s still a very good performing account,and I am still grateful to this day for the opportunity. Fort Lauderdale Beach is a great location”.

AH: “That’s really awesome. I think that gratitude is an important trait, one that seems to be pretty common in our industry. Given that opportunity you received from Blondies, have you “paid it forward” and given back in some way?”

DG: “Definitely. A disaster that rocked the world, particularly because we were close by, was the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. A country that already had so little, was left with nothing. In the immediate aftermath, I got together with project Medishare, and some other local companies and we began handling logistics and shipment of goods and supplies to all of the distressed on Haiti. I went there myself various times even. What I saw was….it was horrible. It’s the kind of stuff you never forget and it changes you in some way. The amount of property lost. The amount of lives lost. Eventually, collectively, we were able to raise north of $7 million worth of goods.”

AH: “Wow, I find it hard to imagine…but on the bright side, it is great that you were in a position to help.  Pivoting back to amusements, what do you see for the future of the FEC industry, and how will it adapt to the “technological march” that we go through today?

 DG: “Well, that’s a good question. First off, the amusement and entertainment industries are almost always at the zenith of technological advancement by default. Even though, for instance, classic arcades will always be a novelty and desired, the fact of the matter is, the general public is always in need of something, new, fun and exciting to do. We are just now seeing VR slowly but surely take over elements of amusements. But then again, it is only in its infancy and it’s still very raw. Since this industry is so fast-moving, you already have to start looking beyond VR, as crazy as that sounds, because virtual and augmented reality is only one subset, or one piece, of the entire puzzle. What is going to keep FEC’s both relevant and entertaining for years to come? It’s hard to say. If I knew I’d be stinking rich. But what the industry is leaning towards, and only because the entire world is leaning towards it, is games that promote activity and physical exertion. Sports being the foundation of that. But imagine if you didn’t need an entire field to play football, or an entire 18-hole golf-course to play golf, for instance? There have been advancements made already toward those concepts, but nothing has been brought to market yet that is concrete or scalable. Hopefully, PrimeTime Amusements can be on the precipice of when that happens.”

PrimeTime teamed up with Hershey’s Ice Cream at IAAPA 2018, the free ice cream resulting in some long lines.

AH: “Yeah, and in that regard, us operators are always looking at cost and ROI, with plenty of doubt when it comes to newcomers who haven’t learned certain lessons yet. I know you’re busy with other things to see and to do here, so I’ll ask for any parting words you might have for our readers?”

DG: “Only that if you want to get ahead in this industry, or any industry, or any aspect of your life really, it starts and ends with hard work. You have to put in the hours. Always be willing to put in the work to achieve your goals.Nothing in this life comes easy or is given. Practically everyone who’s been successful in life, or who have lead happy, fulfilled lives, all have one common trait: they worked hard. Be true to your craft and work hard at it, and you will be reach your aspirations.”

AH: “Powerful & insightful words David. Thanks again for your time and for being what I like to call a true “Arcade Hero.” Have an awesome, successful show.”

DG: “No, thank you, for the interview, and enjoy the show”.

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