By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent’s new arcade bar might be a successful COVID-19 business story following a loud and full opening night.
On Saturday, Barnetti’s Arcade, opened its door to the public.
“It’s been great; we’ve hit capacity a couple of times already (50 under the COVID-19 limits),” said owner Zach Trinetti.
The new arcade is located on 425 St. Clair St. with 62 machines, no quarters needed as prices are included in the admission.
People of all ages can enjoy games from the 1980s to the 2000s, from NBA Jam, to racing and shooting games, and classics such as Ms. Pacman, Buck Hunter, and Galaga. There are even pinball machines.
“There’s a good mix of everything. Honestly I played everything and there’s something for everyone here,” Trinetti said.
He has almost every game imaginable because over the course of the past five or six years he’s been buying and repairing old video games.
“My father and I had an interest in the arcade business for a long time just buying and selling machines and restoring them for a long time … which led to a ridiculous collection at home,” he said.
A combination of running out of storage space, seeing successful businesses in Toronto, and recognizing a need for an arcade bar in Chatham-Kent led to the creation of Barnetti’s.
“There’s quite the stash, so we’ll be rotating games in and out. So the starting line up won’t be here forever,” Trinetti said.
Gamers can also buy some of their favourites from the arcade.
“If people are looking for a title I probably have it.”
Trinetti added that phones have been ringing off the hook for private parties, which the business will roll out in November. Should Chatham-Kent roll back to Stage 2 during the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the new business to shut, it will temporarily become a space for private parties.
Trinetti said although some people cautioned against opening a business during a global pandemic which put the economy on the decline, for the most part everything has run smoothly.
“Everybody’s been pretty good about it, we’re just rolling with the punches and going to make it work. COVID is a thing that is temporary and not going to ruin the world,” he said. “I hope it gives hope to small businesses. There have been some hurdles but we have a great staff behind us and the community has been great.”
Following the COVID-19 guidelines masks will have to be worn indoors except when patrons are sitting at the drinking or at a gaming station.
Sanitization stations have been set up around the bar so residents can wipe down play stations, which staff are constantly doing as well.
Family hours are in effect until 8 p.m. every night so parents can enjoy some fun with their kids. After 8 p.m. only people 19 and older can enter.
“For all the kids inside the adults,” Trinetti said.