BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Whatever a location wants, chances are good that Oklahoma's Peyday Amusements & ATMs can deliver it. Founded four years ago by Jonathan Peyravy, the operation now boasts some 150 locations on a route that extends from throughout Oklahoma into northwest Arkansas and parts of Kansas. Starting off modestly with a few punching bag games, Peyravy's offering now includes a full spectrum of jukeboxes, pool tables, pins, dartboards and videos, along with prize merchandisers and automated teller machines.
Peyday is a TouchTunes specialist, and has seen success with Sega Amusements' Key Master [redemption piece] and, more recently, Apple Industries' Face Place photobooths. Peyravy describes his operation as a rapidly expanding one-stop shop.
"We grew unexpectedly and quickly. After I had 40 boxers out, locations would ask me, 'What else do you have?' And I said, 'What do you need?'" Peyravy recalled. "Today, my equipment inventory is what I can push down the line. A little while ago, I bought 16 jukes -- didn't have a home for them, but I thought it was a good deal. It pushes me to get the equipment out. It's a little risky and hard work, but that's what works for me."
photo | JUKEBOX HEROS: Jonathan Peyravy (c.) poses for a photo on location with his service team, Theresa and Dennis Mclain, who are wife and husband. In the background is TouchTunes' Virtuo smart jukebox, representing Peyday's state-of-the-art music services.
Peyravy explained that his varied route is comprised of taverns, restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, bars, nightclubs and truck stops. The core business consists of good old-fashioned cowboy and country bars, usually located outside city centers. He described them as generally underserved in his market. Cowboy bars are a natural fit for coin-op boxing machines.
photo | BEFORE THE FLOOD: The Cave Bar & Grill (Lanagan, MO) was home to a jukebox (r.) destroyed during a flood. Peyday decided not to replace it, believing the location posed high act-of-nature risks.
"Inevitably, the millions are on the margins," he said. "I like the bars on the outskirts of town, and as a result, I've known a lot of windshield time."
Peyday Amusements also serves locations in the bustling college towns of Norman, OK, and Lawrence, KS -- homes to the Universities of Oklahoma and Kansas, respectively. So his emerging operation not only covers a lot of miles between locations, but also a broad range of demographic differences among its clientele.
If that sounds like hard work, Peyravy confirms that indeed it is. "I know I work harder than any of my friends in any other field," he said. "I think that's been the key. I've been able to find success with the fruit that's not so low-hanging. On the outskirts of metropolitan areas, there are fantastic bars that are happy to have service and happy to have you go there and help them make money. That was my plan from the beginning."
photo | WEDDING PLANNER: Nadine Peyravy (seven months pregnant in photo) shows off a Virtuo with PhotoBooth service prepped for a wedding rental at the Tulsa Garden Club.
For instance, when installing a new TouchTunes jukebox in a small location, he promises to bring back the old CD box if the location isn't satisfied. It is a deal that has won over skeptical locations and worked out for Peyravy. "Nobody has ever gone back to a CD jukebox," he reported. "After working with me, there's no going back from an Internet jukebox."
Once in a while, his strategy has not gone according to plan. On one memorable occasion, a tavern built into an actual cave was flooded, destroying a brand-new jukebox.
Peyravy noted that he keeps a close eye on the bottom line to eliminate underperforming locations. "I'm constantly weeding out poor locations and replacing them with better stops," he said. "I'd say we drop at least 20 to 40 locations a year. In the recession, I would give a location three months and, if it didn't pan out, turn it over and find a new one."
Peyravy combines this targeted strategy with the kind of service many outlying locations are not accustomed to receiving from operators. He regularly runs tournaments in tavern and bar locations that feature his boxers. "We do lots of tourneys," he instanced. "That helps retain locations and increases income. And we give away flatscreen televisions, t-shirts and trophies, and a lot of times we'll work out deals offering beverages and food from the host locations."
Tournaments are promoted with signs on the machines and word of mouth from bar personnel whom Peyravy trains. "We'll spend some time with them, showing them what they have to do," he said. "Not everyone will run a tournament. Usually it's a charismatic personality type that will do it. We'll run them late at night on weekends; Friday and Saturday seem to be the best turnouts."
Tournaments add the kind of value usually associated with pub quizzes, a live DJ or karaoke nights, but at no cost to the venue. They also build bar loyalty among patrons, particularly among the winners, who become local heroes.
Peyravy keeps the company running lean, operating out of a 1,000-sq.ft. warehouse with three employees. The staff keeps in touch by cellphone, text messaging and email. All route vehicles are equipped with GPS, an essential fleet tool for servicing remote accounts.
photo | FANCY ROUTE WORK: Jonathan Peyravy is on location with one of his many boxing machines.
At 30 years of age, Peyravy is part of a new generation of operator. Not only does he take an aggressive approach to onsite promotions, but he's also expanding his offerings and pushing new technology into his locations.
"The way I see it, I have a lot of energy and a lot of stupid on my side," he said. "And I don't have a lackadaisical attitude. I started this business in the middle of the recession. I only know how to swim upstream. I've only known struggle, so far."