photo of (l-r) Jeff Smith, Vice-President of Operations, Doug Wildey, CEO, and Eric Wildey, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.
What’s your game? Pinball? Ping Pong? Pool? Whatever your game is, Game Room Guys have got you covered.
Game Room Guys specialize in home game room products of commercial quality,” said Eric Wildey, vice-president of sales and marketing, of the game room supply and service company located at 4741 West River Drive NE in Comstock Park. “What you would find in bars, restaurants, we put in residential (homes)…university (buildings)…corporate break rooms.”
When Doug Wildey, CEO of Game Room Guys and Eric Wildey’ father, bought Game Room Guys in 2001, he said he “was looking to buy a small business and work part time” He had just retired from AT&T where he was an advertising sales manager when he bought Game Room Guys located in Caledonia. He ran the business out of his garage at his Comstock Park home and was the sole employee.
Today that “small business” is located in a 20,000 square foot building, and the one employee has grown to 21 (including two part-time) employees. Game Room Guys is now the largest game room supply provider in the Midwest and one of the largest in the country. The company is looking to hire a couple new employees over the next year. The employees are in sales and customer service, marketing, technical service, shipping and delivery. There are three owners - Doug and Eric Wildey, and Jeff Smith, vice-president of operations.
Their products include pinball machines, and pool, foosball, air hockey, and ping pong tables and the equipment needed for those games. Christmas is their busiest time of year with people making purchases for their homes. They supply restaurants, businesses, colleges and campgrounds with equipment. They rent out games and jukeboxes for special occasions such as birthday or graduation parties, and corporate events. Eric Wildey said that since they do a lot of business nationally they don’t solely advertise locally, and the Internet is the major component of their advertising such as eBay and Amazon.
As the business grew, Doug Wildey relocated within the Comstock Park area a few times. Although he was not doing retail sales, people would see the sign and stop in wanting to purchase game room equipment, so retail was a natural avenue for growth. When he built the current building, he included a 5000 square foot retail showroom displaying billiard and pool tables, and pinball machines. There is a 7000 square foot service department and fulfillment center where Internet orders are processed, and there are thousands of parts in stock to be sold and shipped. The rest of the building is loading areas and storage for inventory.
"Not a lot of companies have grown this fast,” said Doug Wildey, adding he didn’t anticipate the growth. “Our employees are mostly from the north end, so we kept it in Comstock Park.”
“Being close to the highway with people coming in, shipments going out, is advantageous,” added Eric Wildey. “We’re seconds from 131 (expressway) and two miles from 96 (expressway).”
When the Grand Rapids Public Museum did a summer exhibit about the history of games, Game Room Guys assisted, including lending “The Champ,” a 1939 pinball machine they display in their showroom. Arcade games such as shooting galleries and ball-toss games date back to the 1920’s, and coin-operated pinball machines such as “The Champ” emerged in the 1930’s. Eric Wildey said arcade games that were once electro-mechanical are now “all electronic, digital display, electronic scoring.”
Doug Wildey said it’s important to give back to the community and the company donates to a variety of community-based organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club.
Doug Wildey is originally from the Northview area, graduating from Northview High School and then Davenport College. He and his wife Cindy live in Comstock Park and have three grown children. Eric Wildley graduated from Comstock Park High School and has a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in criminal justice from Michigan State University. He and his wife Mikhila live in Comstock Park. Smith is originally from Traverse City and attended Grand Valley State University studying business management. He and his wife Tina, who have eleven year old twin boys and a nine year old daughter, live in Cascade.