Butrico Brothers Of Warren Take A Chance On Gamin' Ride Franchise

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Fifty years ago, men of a certain age yearning to recapture an earlier, perhaps more freewheeling time in their lives, might purchase a flashy sports car or engage in riskier behaviors.

The American Red Cross That's not how Michael, 42, and William, 44, Butrico are approaching their middle-age years. The brothers Butrico, Michael of Warren, and William of South Plainfield, took the plunge this year and purchased a Gamin' Ride franchise, a traveling mobile video game theater.

"We researched the venture in May, signed on in June and held our first party at the end of September," Michael Butrico said.

Michael Butrico credits his 8-year-old son, also named Michael, with putting the Gamin' Ride idea into his father's head. William is more the silent partner. He did not attend the interview; he was at his day job in heavy-duty steel construction.

"My son went to a Gamin ' Ride party and just went on and on about it. My brother and I did the research, and I got in touch with Michael Falgares in Toms River. He's the founder of Gamin' Ride just 18 months ago, and now he's selling franchises. I hold the first franchise. Falgares has sold about 12 franchises nationwide," Michael Butrico said.

What the Butricos deliver when the colorful and graphic 38-foot-long trailer rolls up to its party address is two hours of pumped-up video fun.

"We bring the party to the house, not inside the house," Butrico said.

A Gamin' Ride party provides simultaneous, interactive video play for up to 16 players, who can select from Xbox 360, Wii, Playstation 3 games. Extra screens mounted on the exterior of the trailer can pull in a Sunday football game or other event, if requested, by the satellite dish equipment on board.

The Gamin' Ride experience also includes vibrating seats to convey the feel of the action, and "smell-a-vision" infused air that matches the game action � all taking place in a comfort-controlled trailer environment bathed in disco lighting.

Butrico described the Gamin' Ride audience as ages 6 to 18, although parents and business men and women also love to play, he said.

The trailer already has been booked for birthdays, bar and bat mitzvah parties, grand openings, fundraisers, even a large pep rally, Butrico said.

The American Red Cross In addition to the driver, each party has at least one "game guru," the trained, background-checked master of ceremonies who leads the action.

So far, Butrico has been surprised by the amount of time he has invested in the venture.

"We were so busy right out of the gate. But, of course, that's good news," he said.

One ledger item Butrico said he and his brother will watch are the expenses incurred to run the trailer, which is solely diesel-powered.

Butrico recalled that as a kid he always was drawn to video games. Now he and his brother are recapturing that youthful escape, but with an adult sensibility.

"Neither of us plans to quit our day jobs. I want to remain self-employed in information technology, mostly doing contract work on small and mid-sized companies," Butrico explained. "But I like doing this better than IT. The kids are so excited when the trailer pulls up. I find that is giving me a lot of pleasure."

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