Will EZPZ Come To My Town? | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

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We've been fielding an increasing number of questions regarding how far we are willing to bring our Mobile Game Theater, and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to discuss our primary and secondary service areas, and the conditions for traveling outside those areas.

Basically, our primary service area is roughly 30 minutes from our home base here in Marina. If you're in northern Monterey County, you're probably within that boundary. Salinas, Chualar, Prunedale, Aromas, Las Lomas, Royal Oaks, Moss Beach, Castroville, Marina, Seaside, Sand City, Del Rey Oaks, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Carmel Valley (west of Klondike Road), Corral de Tierra, and Spreckels are all in our primary service area.

Our secondary service area is 30-50 minutes from Marina. Generally, this is Santa Cruz County as far north as Scotts Valley, San Benito County as far east as Hollister, Gilroy in Santa Clara County, and southern Monterey County as far south as King City. We don't travel any further south of Carmel on Highway 1.

All other locations outside of our secondary service area is quoted on a case-by-case basis. We will usually request that the party take place earlier in the day to give us the chance to work more parties. We've done a couple of parties in San Jose and Los Banos for folks willing to pay the extra premium.

And some places are just too far for us to go. We occasionally get requests from families in Half Moon Bay, South San Francisco, Oakland, even Patterson out in the Central Valley.

You may ask "why does it cost extra to come out to (insert city here)?" Three reasons: 1) Being outside our service area limits our availability to our customers closer to home, ergo we aren't able to work as many parties. The premium helps us make up the money we would've made had we been in our main area; 2) Longer drives means extra wear and tear on our trailer and equipment. Game consoles like Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo as well as TVs and soundbars really weren't made to travel much and therefore take a beating on the road. 3) Our Game Coaches are paid on an hourly basis; longer drives out to towns outside our service areas means extra costs in payroll.

However, we're always willing to talk to potential customers outside our service area! If, after reading this, you'd still like a quote for your event, please feel free to call us at (831) 200-EZPZ (3979). We'd love to talk to you and explore the possibilities.

Schools, Churches & Non-Profits | Salinas Hollister Game Truck Blog

Birthday parties may be EZPZ Video Game Parties' bread and butter, but we wouldn't be in business if it wasn't for our Central Coast schools, places of worship and other non-profits!

The City of Marina's Recreation Department invites us over a couple of times a year to entertain their middle and high schoolers at the Marina Teen Center. Cathy and her staff work tirelessly to make sure their kids have a safe place to go before and after school (and even provides meals!).  Terry Siegrist, the director of Marina's Recreation and Cultural Services Department, also puts in long hours to make the city's youth are well taken care of.

The Kinship Center of Salinas, which provides services for adoption and foster care, amongst other areas, has brought our Mobile Game Theater to their wonderful facility every summer since EZPZ began. Their kids are the sweetest, and Kinship truly provides a much-needed service here in the 831.

Shoreline Community Church of Monterey has included EZPZ every summer for their "Controlled Chaos" event for middle and high schoolers. We love Shoreline (we're biased...Shoreline is our family's church!), and we're so happy that Pastors Danny & Tyler have included us in their annual summer kickoff party!

Sacred Heart Parish School of Hollister holds an annual walkathon to help raise funds for their school. The kids who raise the most get to enjoy an EZPZ Video Game Party! Sacred Heart has used EZPZ the last two years as incentive for their students to hit the bricks!

Hollister Prep School invited us this year for the first time for their end of year school carnival. We had hundreds of kids in and out of our game truck!

And tonight, we're visiting Apostolic Community Church of Salinas for the first time! We're looking forward to meeting their kids and mashing buttons with them!

If you're a member of a local PTA, school, church, or other non-profit, and would like more information on our special pricing, please give us a call at (831) 200-EZPZ (3979). We'd love to help you with your big event!

CSUMB & EZPZ – A Great Team! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

As a local business, we’re not only compelled to support local youth and sports, we’re absolutely happy to do it when circumstances allow. So when I met Greg Bistline, the director of development at CSUMB, at a recent Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce mixer, I was excited at his suggestion of bringing our Mobile Game Theater to an Otters sporting event.

True to his word, Greg contacted me the next day, and we arranged for a meeting with Kirby Garry, CSUMB’s athletic director. I wish most of my business meetings were as enjoyable as this was. With my background in sports broadcasting, the three of us had a good time discussing CSUMB’s sports program (and sports in general).

The fruition of our meeting takes place this Sunday, April 23rd, where we (EZPZ) will bring our Mobile Game Theater to the Otters’ baseball stadium for kids (and “kids of all ages”) to enjoy before the Otters take on the Seawolves of Sonoma State (having grown up in Rohnert Park, I’m used to Sonoma State’s mascot being the Cossacks…I guess that’s not in vogue anymore). Pony League players are especially welcome.

We’ll be there from 10am to about noon, and CSUMB takes the field at about 11am. Come for the video games, stay for some great collegiate baseball!

CSUMB's baseball diamond is part of the Otter Sports Complex, off 2nd Avenue between Imjin Parkway and Lightfighter Drive. Please note that parking permits are required at all times. Automated ticket machines are located throughout campus. For more information, visit the CSUMB Athletics website or CSUMB's Parking Services page.

Game Trucks & Pizza Parlors…a Great Combo! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

EZPZ Video Game Party & Pizza
Image credit wis.pr

We absolutely love our Central Coast community, but when many of the homes in this area were built, they didn't exactly have our Mobile Game Theater in mind! Being a region steeped in both the military and agricultural sectors of business, homes in this area were generally built smaller as the residents didn't need much room.

This often presents a problem for EZPZ's potential customers: smaller homes mean little or no room to accommodate our Mobile Game Theater, which requires at least 55 feet for both the truck and trailer to maneuver and park. 

So what can our curb space-challenged customers do?

We've had several birthday parties at local pizza parlors! It makes for a great "combo" (see what we did there?). Food and entertainment are all there; all the parents have to deal with is cake and decorations!

Not every pizza place is ideal for our game truck, though. A lot of shopping centers don't have much room for us to maneuver our game truck and therefore can't host our video game parties. But we're always willing to check out any suggestions you may have!

For your convenience, here is a list of pizza places we've either been to or have spoken with the management about our Mobile Game Theater. In no special order:

Pizza Factory - 926 South Main Street, Salinas - 831-758-3227

We have a had a couple of great parties here. Let Marcus, the manager, know that we're coming when you reserve your pizza party.

Angelina's Pizzeria - 22736 Portola Drive, Salinas - (831) 484-1164

Located across Highway 68 from Toro Park, Angelina's has a little dirt lot nearby where our Mobile Game Theater can park. Note: Angelina's is generally open after 4pm.

Mountain Mike's Pizza - Hartnell Plaza Shopping Center, 931 W Alisal St, Salinas - (831) 424-4540

The Hartnell Plaza Shopping Center has plenty of parking, and while it's unfortunate that the grocery store there doesn't currently have a tenant, it makes for a convenient place for us to park our game truck. Nice folks there as well.

Round Table Pizza in Marina - 3120 Del Monte Blvd, Marina -  (831) 384-7227

We haven't done a party here yet but have spoken to the management. They're open to having our game truck there, but will likely ask you to either buy a 1-day insurance policy or to sign a liability waiver. Our game truck will fit nicely in their back parking lot near the door that opens to the party room.

Straw Hat Pizza - 1053 1st St, Gilroy - (408) 842-2745

Real nice folks here. Reserve your party, let them know we're coming, and they'll block off an area adjacent to one of their entrances for us to park.

Do you know of a place - pizza or otherwise - that is able and willing to having EZPZ's Mobile Game Theater at their establishment? Let us know! Call us at (831) 200-EZPZ...we'd love to expand our roster of great places to host a Game Party/Pizza Party combination!

Of Barbecue, Tacos & Extra Time | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

We get it.

Like us, you're hard-working parents. Trying to do the best for your kids. Trying to make your dollar stretch as much as possible. You want to extend the fun that your kids are having.

We get it.

Often we're asked if our video game party can be extended, but when we inform our customers of the $99 per hour price, some of our well-meaning customers go into bargaining mode. Always polite, they try to talk us down to a lower rate, or want to exchange an hour for a plate of food. Once in a while, someone will say "but we're recommending you to all our guests/friends/family", a semi-veiled threat that they won't recommend us if we don't comply.

We get it. 

But what these well-intentioned folks don't realize (or they do but press on anyway) is that we have operating costs, just like any other business. An extra hour means our generator is an extra hour closer to having to be either rebuilt or replaced...no cheap feat. An extra hour means more fuel that we'll have to buy. An extra hour means more wear-and-tear on our equipment, upholstery, heating/cooling system, etc. Food doesn't pay for our insurance, advertising, upkeep, storage, utilities, payroll, and so on.

Would these folks approach, say, a plumber the same way? "Hey, I know we only hired you to fix that leak in the kitchen, but would you stay a little longer and unplug our bathroom sink? We'll give you pizza!"

Or an attorney? "Thanks for drafting our wills for us. Can you advise us on a real estate purchase? At half your hourly rate? We'll tell all our friends about you!"

Again, we get it. We enjoy making your kids happy too. But if you're inclined to barter for extra time, we'd kindly appreciate the same courtesy you'd show other business professionals.

Another Year, Another Step to Pre-Teens | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

For what seemed like the longest time, my son and his friends had their birthday parties at the exact same place: Jump N Around. Back then, they were next to where Del Monte Gardens (the old roller skating rink) stood in Monterey; they've since moved next to Costco in Sand City. Seemingly every party was there. With a dozen or so classmates at any given time, we wore that place out.

But eventually, all the kids got too big/old to go to Jump N Around. Then the parties diversified...somewhat. They'd either be at the bowling alley (Monterey Lanes), Water City Skating, which took up Del Monte Garden's would-be clientele after they closed their doors, or a park or beach if the weather cooperated. Once in a while, we'd go out to Salinas for a party at Chuck E. Cheese's.

About 14 months ago, I wanted to do something different for my son's birthday. I had heard of game trucks (namely Games2U, which I had seen advertised on the Big Island) and looked to see who was close to us. No one, really. The only company that showed up in my Google searching was GameTruck in San Jose (It turned out that Let's Party Salinas had a game truck, but didn't show up in my Googling for some reason). Seeing the need for a different choice for kid's birthday parties, I investigated the different game truck makers/franchisors, found one I liked, and brought EZPZ's mobile game theater home to Marina just before Christmas.

One year later, and I'm glad I went ahead and did this. I've met just the best, friendliest families. I don't think I've had one bad party or customer experience! The biggest challenge has been getting the word out about EZPZ, as it's still a new concept in this area, let alone Northern California. My son is now a full-fledged teenager who helps his old man out with the family business when he can. Jump N Around, Chuck E. Cheese and similar venues are great, but when your little ones aren't so little anymore, I hope you'll think about giving them a Mobile Video Game Party! Regardless, all the best to you and our wonderful Central Coast neighbors in 2017!

One Reason We Play Multiplayer Games Only | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

In virtually every Video Game Party I've done so far, a young guest asks if they can play a game in single-player (or story) mode. And almost always, I have to say no. I have an easy "go-to" excuse: that playing in story mode monopolizes a whole TV and game system for that one guest; multiplayer mode allows other kids to play instead of wait. But sometimes it's a small party, so that excuse doesn't work...but I still have to decline most of the time.

The reason is, especially if the game in question is rated M for "Mature" by the ESRB, is this: in story mode, there's likely to be more adult content. In Call of Duty: Black Ops III, there's all kinds of F-bombs and other strong language. In the latest Grand Theft Auto installment (GTA V, which is not part of our inventory), one of the playable characters has "relations" with a fellow drug user in his trailer right before killing her boyfriend. As in past GTA games, the playable character is able to go to a strip club as well as patronize prostitutes as well. Needless to say, as a business that caters to families, we don't want this content to be accessed by underage kids during one of our parties.

Thankfully, the vast majority of these otherwise adult-oriented games don't include content meant for more mature users while in Multiplayer mode. For example, in Black Ops III, multiplayer mode is just each player trying to shoot each other, with little if any blood. Zombie mode in Black Ops III is a little more intense but again, no f-bombs and no strippers. Perhaps this makes us prudes; so be it. We strive to make our parties fun for everyone; multiplayer mode enhances the "party" aspect of our events by having our guests interact with each other in a fun, positive way.

One Year in the Books! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

One year ago today I was driving westward from North Carolina with my newly acquired game truck, my college buddy Forest along for the ride. We stopped in Tennessee the first night; about this time I was white-knuckle driving across Oklahoma. We were blessed with great weather pretty much the whole time - despite it being December and just missing some pretty nasty ice storms the week before - but the famous winds of Oklahoma were knocking us around pretty good, and the tractor-trailers whizzing past us on Interstate 40 weren’t helping either.
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Our game truck taking a rest somewhere in Tennessee.
We stopped in Oklahoma City, our hotel next to a Dave and Buster’s. Seemed odd to go to a place that had video games, seeing that we had a game truck, but dinner and an adult beverage beckoned. The winds weren’t only in Oklahoma, we got slapped around as we went across the Texas panhandle and the large arroyo in eastern New Mexico. Snow flurries greeted us as we approached Albuquerque, our next stop for food and sleep. Sub-freezing temperatures on a sunny New Mexico morning saw us off (my friend Forest, having not traveled much in the winter, was less than enthused about the cold). We ran into snowy but not undrivable conditions as we went through beautiful Flagstaff and made our way through Kingman, following part of the old Route 66 as we arrived in Barstow, happy that we were back in the Golden State. Only a half-day trip away now, we drove through the Mojave desert, going through Bakersfield and the Central Valley, getting a taste of I-5 before getting on Hwy 49 towards Paso Robles, and then finally on 101 into Monterey County. Since then, our year has been one of excitement and learning. We’ve been blessed with TERRIFIC customers, all of whom have been kind, patient and generous. Some of my fellow game truck owners occasionally complain about how they’ve had to throw kids (and some parents!) out of their truck for misbehaving. I have yet to even come close to doing that! Central Coast kids and their families are the best. Even though a year has passed, EZPZ and our Mobile Game Theater is still a new concept in the Salinas/Monterey area, so we’ll be trying to remedy that with radio/TV ads and more appearances at big local events. In the meantime, if you’re a past customer, please let your kids’ friends know about us! Most of all, thanks for being part of our first year’s success!

Welcome Our New Game Coaches! | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck Blog

It's hard to believe that about a year ago, I set the wheels in motion to start a little business called EZPZ Video Game Parties! It was a whirlwind to begin with: various legal/business filings, financing, insurance, market research, yada yada. The year has been a wonderful one, albeit a balancing act between the business and my "day" job. This is the busy season of said job, and it's also a busy birthday season...so last month I began the search for employees to hold down the fort while I'm off working elsewhere. So meet EZPZ's newest team members! David lives in Salinas but is a native of the great state of Michigan. He has plenty of experience in customer service and, fittingly, is an avid gamer. He'll take care of the heavy lifting in my absence: driving the Mobile Game Theater to your event, making sure everything is running great and that your guests are having an awesome time. Kat is from Seaside and currently attending Monterey Peninsula College (MPC). She knows console games inside and out and loves working with kids. She'll be David's co-pilot, helping him navigate and identify hazards and obstacles when the trailer needs to back up. Both are dedicated to making sure your birthday kid and their guests have a great time, playing the best multiplayer games and keeping memories that will hopefully last a lifetime! They'll be in touch with me in case anything comes up, but we'll take extra measures to help mitigate any issues that may arise. I'm grateful to be in a situation where EZPZ is quickly becoming a well-known option for birthday parties, fundraisers and other events, which makes it possible to hire wonderful folks like Kat & David!

Staying Connected to the Central Coast | Salinas Monterey Hollister Game Truck

As mentioned in my bio on our About page, I still often work in sports broadcasting as a graphic operator. This time of year is very busy, as I'm part of a crew that works college football for Fox Sports (usually on FS1). While I'm happy to be working with this excellent crew, there are a couple of disadvantages while trying to run EZPZ Video Game Parties. The first is probably obvious: if I'm away on the weekends, it makes it hard to keep the business running! Perhaps you've noticed very little availability on our reservations page; this usually means that I'm out of town. The good news is that I'll have some employees soon  who will keep things running while I'm gone. The other disadvantage isn't as obvious. I just noticed today that the more I'm away, the less connected I feel to the community, especially the business community. When I'm home, I'm in frequent communication with chambers of commerce, schools, customers, media, vendors, and so on. When I'm on the road, most of that interaction is sidelined...if anything, I send a hastily-typed email saying I'll contact them on Monday, with apologies. Today I was running around, talking with the folks at the Monterey County Weekly, running other errands and talking with fellow business owners here in Marina. I've always known that participating in the community is vital to a local business, but I realized how little I've been doing that lately. Often I'll shelve such activities with the excuse of being tired or jet-lagged. As a small business owner though, I can't afford to allow those things to remain on the shelf. Now that help is on the way in the form of employees, it's my hope that these two "disadvantages" will evaporate and that EZPZ will continue to grow and thrive, literally bringing fun and games to kids throughout the Central Coast!

Treat The Gamer In Your Life To An Awesome Time!