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Electric Playhouse founder has eye on expansion

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

BY PILAR MARTINEZ

JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Beneath the bright lights and interactive games of Albuquerque’s newly opened Electric Playhouse is a business strategy the venue’s founder hopes will be key to expanding new markets: adapatability.

“It can be something different for everybody,” said founder John-Mark Collins of the experience his venue provides.

Electric Playhouse, which officially opened Feb. 1 at 5201 Ouray NW on Albuquerque’s West Side, is the first location for the company, but Collins hopes the venue’s ability to adapt and customize experiences will help jumpstart rapid expansion across the region starting in late 2021.

“If we build these in other cities as we’re growing, because it’s a platform, it will change based on the community,” Collins said.

Unlike traditional entertainment venues or other immersive experiences, the technology used by Electric Playhouse — games played with the use of dozens of interacting projectors and motion sensors — allows staff to cater to a specific audience with the tap of a screen.

“The fact that you can put anything on the walls makes it (so) you can do anything you can think of, really,” Collins said. “You can do a kid’s birthday party on a Saturday during the day, and then on Thursday night you can do a corporate event. Completely different content, completely different context, completely different food.”

Collins envisions eventually incorporating local flavor in the form of new games or menu items into future locations.

“The whole intent is that it is repeatable, but that it starts to mold a little bit more to the local community over time,” he said.

Collins said he intends to target mid-size markets that lack unique entertainment options. He also hopes to repeat his Albuquerque tactic of setting up shop in large, vacant retail spaces that are currently so plentiful. The Albuquerque location was built in a space previously occupied by Staples.

“Right now there’s just so much empty space out there that could really use some revitalization,” Collins said. “That’s the prime areas we target.”

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