Captain's Auction Warehouse Opens New Showroom Amid Booming Equipment Demand, Readies March 8 Auction

Posted On: 3/1/2019

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  Warm Welcome: Industry professionals attending the 2019 CEMA Spotlight Show enjoyed some sun and fun at the new Captain’s Arcade Showroom in Anaheim, CA, in February.
ANAHEIM, CA -- Captain's Auction Warehouse has opened the doors to Captain's Arcade Showroom, where customers can view featured equipment coming up for auction and play arcade games and pinball machine classics from "the Captain's" collection.
The Anaheim, CA-based company cut the ribbon on its new showroom with a "soft opening" on Jan. 25, when it hosted the California Entertainment Machine Association's 2019 Spotlight Show and Association Meeting, which featured seminars, lunch and exhibits of new equipment.

Chris Campbell (a.k.a. The Captain) established Captain's Auction Warehouse in 1999 as a consignment-based, online store for coin-op enthusiasts like himself and industry professionals alike to buy and sell new and used coin-op amusement and vending equipment.

"When I met people selling arcade games online, I knew the best process for packaging and shipping, which had been my earlier background as a warehouse manager.  A friend started calling me 'Captain Chris' because I led the way in shipping games, and the name just stuck," he recalled. "I can reach any city, both nationally and internationally, as well as help people ship me equipment for sale at auction."
Following its online success, the company moved into a 13,000-sq.ft. brick-and-mortar location in 2008 in Anaheim, CA, to host live auctions and warehouse amusement equipment. Business has boomed ever since, and the company still stakes its claim as the only dedicated auction house selling coin-operated amusement equipment on the West Coast.

"The real estate market crash pivoted me into hosting live auctions," Campbell recalled. "People were going out of business and needed cash fast. I saw a void in the used equipment market for auctions and I was a good fit with my know-how and contacts to help operators gather, buy and sell equipment."

As the business grew, the building adjacent to Captain's Auction Warehouse became available, so Campbell took advantage of the opportunity to expand its space to a total 35,000 sq. ft. between the two buildings. The new showroom occupies 4,000 sq. ft. at the front of the new facility.

"Captain's Arcade Showroom gives people an opportunity to see some of what they can buy at auction, play the games and inquire. Some pieces they can 'buy now,' instead of at auction," Campbell explained. "Pinball is very popular, so we showcase a lot of those machines, including some from my own collection for nostalgia and fun."

Just as the recession drove a need for operators to buy and sell equipment at auction, the strong economy has been fueling a new round of business growth for Captain's Auction Warehouse.

"Any activity these days is mostly equipment rotation rather than closures of businesses," Campbell pointed out.  "There are lots of grassroots openings of breweries and arcade owners that have created more demand for used equipment. As more people are buying or rotating than closing, it's getting harder to find good equipment to bring in to sell, which is a good challenge to have."

Campbell takes pride in the standard he sets for the quality of the machines he brings in. "That's a big sell and we've become a trusted name as an equipment source for FEC owners and operators, not just home players looking for a cheap machine for their garage," he emphasized.

In the early days of Captain's Auction Warehouse live auctions, participants had to be present to bid, but nowadays, Campbell hosts live events at its facility and online simultaneously, allowing registered participants from anywhere in the world to take part online in real time.

"We make it a point to keep up with technology, making the buyer and seller experience as pleasant as possible," he said.  Registration is free and auctions are streamed live via Facebook and Twitch TV.

The self-taught auctioneer typically runs the fast-paced events for 13 hours straight, with only a few 10-minute breaks scattered throughout. He holds around 10 auctions a year -- with some online only -- and sells about 650 lots at each one. Accompanying Campbell in the business is his wife of 20 years, Tiffany, who leads his marketing communications and sponsorships, and a day-to-day staff of six others, that ramps up to 15 people at times of auctions.

"Our online-only auctions are exclusively hosted on and are timed for 10 or 30 days," the Captain explained. "Our live, in-house Saturday auctions draw people from several surrounding states because we're in a convenient destination area, close to Hollywood and many other southern California attractions. We make an event out of it for them, with free dinner and giveaways to help raise funds for our charity. It's a lot of fun for attendees."

Captain's Auction Warehouse donates all proceeds from auction event drawings to raise money for scholarships to Spirit League, a local organization that provides opportunities for children and young adults with special needs to play team sports in a positive, self-esteem building environment.

The Captain's next big event will be its live March Madness Auction March 8-9, which will also be open to registered online bidders. On the block, and currently viewable on the company's website, will be a gamut of new, used and refurbished equipment, including pinball machines, videogames, prize and ticket redemption games, food and beverage and bulk vending machines.

Click here to register.