Swimplex Aquatics Coronavirus (Covid-19) statement

By | April 1, 2020

The world is struggling with an issue of enormous scale and human impact, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

We continue to monitor the latest updates about the global COVID-19 outbreak provided by health officials; federal, state and local governments and are taking actions to ensure our employees are safe and our operations are being run safely.

While pandemics are unpredictable in their timing and severity, we can confirm that our local & global suppliers are still under operation as of now and we are still able to carry out our turn-key filtration, water slide/ splash pad and Myrtha Pools projects.

This maybe the opportunity to consider that long awaited repair / maintenance job.

To list a few of our services:

  • Repairs to pool shell structure, tiles and finishes
  • Service work to filtration equipment plant
  • Water slide / splash pad projects or repair
  • Wetdeck Grate, lane rope replacements or other pool products

We are continuing to deliver products, filtration and water slide/ splash pad projects to venues large and small, but obviously taking account of site contact and health issues: Contact Swimplex Aquatics.

As always, the health and safety of our clients and our staff is our top priority and we will take all necessary precautions to ensure their continued welfare.

We are closely monitoring all developments related to the coronavirus and are prepared to adjust our operations and procedures as needed to ensure the health and well-being of our customers and employees.

If you require further information on our response to coronavirus you can contact sales@swimplex.com.au or call 1300 796 759

We remain committed to providing the superior service and support that our customers have come to expect.

Treasures in plain sight many times overlooked by guests at Quassy Amusement Park

By | March 31, 2020

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. – When the gates at just about any amusement park in the nation open, there is an immediate mad dash to the largest roller coaster or fastest waterslide. Call it human nature – if you will – to be among the first in line for that morning adrenaline rush offered by the most thrilling attractions at any particular property.

And while waiting in queue lines or even strolling the midway, it’s not unusual to see a lot of folks with their eyes glued to their cellphones instead of absorbing all a particular park might have to offer.

Take for instance the not-so-hidden treasures at Quassy Amusement & Waterpark here. While some of the locals have been coming to the property for generations, many guests do not realize they are surrounded by bits and pieces of Americana that are slowly disappearing from the amusement industry landscape.

Arcade Games Of Yesteryear
Inside the huge redemption arcade in the heart of the park are a variety of games that have been around since the early part of the last century.

Perhaps the most interesting machines are two Rotary Merchandisers produced by the Exhibit Supply Co. of Chicago, Ill (circa 1931). They are a rather simple contraption to play as an arm sweeps across the game’s felt-covered field as you attempt to push prizes into a shoot to redeem them. 

The games were acquired by John Frantzis, Quassy’s patriarch owner, in 1971 when Palisades Park in Cliffside Park, N.J., closed.

Though semi-retired, John Frantzis still maintains a daily morning routine of setting up the Rotary Merchandisers and other arcade games during Quassy’s season.

“I remember Palisades Park very well,” Frantzis said of the park. “It had some great rides and fabulous entertainment – and you couldn’t beat the location.”

Palisades was famous in its own rite and was a “trolley park” – the same as Quassy – once owned and operated by a rail company. The park opened in 1898 and guests flocked to the property for its many attractions and were treated to a spectacular view of Manhattan, which was directly across the Hudson River.

Baby boomers will also recall the hit 1962 rock n’ roll song titled Palisades Park penned by Chuck Barris and recorded by Freddy Cannon. It can still be heard to this day on oldies rock radio stations.

Love Testers
Two other Exhibit Supply Co. games are located in the park. Called Love Testers (circa 1940), players deposit 25 cents and squeeze the handle, setting off a mechanized series of lights. Finally, one light remains lit showing the player if they are “blah,” “uncontrollable” or something in between.

The Love Tester in Quassy Restaurant draws the most attention as guests play while enjoying their summer fare at the lakefront.

Having A Ball
Skee-Ball is a tried-and-true arcade game dating back more than 100 years. Invented in 1908, the game has had numerous cosmetic and mechanical changes throughout the years, yet to this day offers the same exciting challenge to players.

A handheld ball is rolled up a narrow alley, becomes airborne on a ramp and drops into one of a number of scoring areas on a backboard.

 Bay Tek Games, Inc., of Pulaski, Wis., has the manufacturing rights to the product, which has changed hands numerous times since its introduction more than a century ago.

Quassy has had several versions of the game and today offers six Skee-Ball alleys in the arcade building. The latest update Quassy has attached to the game is automated credits given to players on their Quassy Game On cards, thus eliminating the need for redemption tickets to be dispensed. Many of the other arcade games use the same computerized system.

Frantzis readily admits “I hit it during the good times (1970s),” when video arcade games were up and coming and extremely popular.

“The home computers and television game consoles have killed most of that,” he asserted. “Fortunately, people still enjoy playing for prizes and just for fun.”

Despite the decline in video gaming, Quassy’s arcade has managed to mix the old with the new and still remains popular among all ages.

Some of the newest acquisitions include The World’s Largest Pac-Man video game and the Quassy Quest Laser Maze.

A Fair Deal
There were lions and tigers and … Humpty Dumpty! 

It seems as though a rite of passage growing up in western Connecticut years ago was to attend the Danbury Fair – 20 minutes from Quassy Amusement Park.

What started out as a three-day event grew into a 10-day run which attracted hundreds of thousands of guests from Connecticut and neighboring states.

“It was huge, and we used to take a full (tented) arcade operation into there,” noted Quassy President Eric Anderson, who is also John Frantzis’ son-in-law and an owner.

The sprawling fairgrounds covered more than 150 acres by the time the last exposition was held in 1981.

The fair was known for fantastic food, entertainment and a menagerie of fiberglass figures that delighted young and old.

A year after the fair closed the late George Frantzis, then Quassy president, acquired a number of the figurines from the fair. They included a lion, tiger, hippopotamus and colorful Humpty Dumpty.

While they made various appearances throughout the park, the lion found a new home in 2014 when Quassy Zoo, a children’s playground, opened near the entrance to Quassy Beach and Splash Away Bay waterpark.

The huge Humpty Dumpty figure, perched high atop Quassy’s main office, draws many a comment from astonished guests.

“He’s popular, that’s for sure,” Anderson said of the decorative figure. “Few – if any guests -realize that he came from the Danbury Fair. Those that might recall the fair know it was something special here in Connecticut.”

“It’s been important for us in recent years to make improvements at the park, including world-class attractions such as our Wooden Warrior roller coaster and a new waterpark,” said owner George Frantzis II, whose grandfather purchased the property in 1937. “But equally important is the heritage of the property. We have diligently maintained some of the oldest buildings and attractions generations have enjoyed here. What we have accomplished is a unique blending of the old with the new.”

He concluded in saying: “As one of the few remaining trolley parks in the nation we believe it is not so much our mission to maintain that heritage, but our responsibility.”

Treasures In Plain Sight At Quassy

Quassy Amusement Park opened in 1908 and today is one of only a handful of remaining trolley parks in the nation. Before The Great Depression of 1929 there were more than 1,000 such parks. Some of the treasures in plain sight – old and new and reflective of the park’s heritage, – are listed here:

  • The redemption arcade is the oldest building on the property. It opened in 1915 as an open-air dance hall.
  • Carousel roundhouse was constructed in 1927. The building was refurbished in 2007, maintaining its original heritage. In 2016 new siding was put on the structure.
  • 1940: A Tea Room was build overlooking the park. Today it is Quassy Restaurant.
  • 2009: New main entrance ticket booth opens – reminiscent of the trolley station which once serviced the park.
  • 1952: Allan Herschell kiddieland installed behind the arcade building. Three of the four rides remain in service today and are the favorites of youngsters. The Little Dipper roller coaster located there is one of the oldest steel coasters operating in the nation.
  • 2015: New train station built for Quassy Express – reflective of a station of yesteryear.

Other Treasure Chest Parks

Here is a sampling of other amusement parks where you can get a good taste of nostalgia:

  • Canobie Lake Park, Salem, N.H.
  • Waldameer Park, Erie, Pa.
  • Seabreeze, Rochester, N.Y.
  • Oaks Amusement Park, Portland, Ore.
  • Lakeside Amusement Park, Denver, Colo.
  • Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.
  • Camden Park, Huntington, W.Va.
  • Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, Sylvan Beach, N.Y.
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn.

Property Myth: Always A Good Thing

Working at an amusement park can be fun and rewarding. Quassy employs hundreds of students each summer and when some of them inquire about the gigantic Humpty Dumpty on the rooftop, they are treated to a favorite myth: “If there is a thunder and lightning storm passing over the park exactly at midnight, Humpty Dumpty comes to life.”

That being said, the park staff quickly forgets about the legendary monster living in Lake Quassapaug.

Extension of park closures until at least mid-May announced by Six Flags

By | March 31, 2020

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, today announced that all the company’s parks will remain closed until mid-May, or as soon as possible thereafter, reflecting federal and local restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The company will continue to closely monitor the evolving global health crisis and follow the most current guidance from federal, state, and local officials as it assesses when it can reopen some or all of its parks.

The company also announced it is reducing salaries for all executive officers and team members in an effort to enhance the company’s financial flexibility while it faces the operating and financial impact of COVID-19. Effective April 6, 2020, the company is taking the following measures:

  • Reducing base salaries of executive officers by 25%
  • Reducing salaries of all full-time salaried employees, subject to state and federal minimum thresholds, by 25%
  • Reducing scheduled hours for full-time hourly employees by 25% to 30 hours per week

These changes allow employees to retain their existing health plan coverage at current premiums.

“The safety and well-being of our guests and team members is our most important priority,” said Mike Spanos, President and CEO. “While these actions are difficult for all of us, they will help the company weather the current crisis by reducing expenses. We decided to decrease salaries rather than implement a workforce reduction to ensure our team members have income and health benefits so that Six Flags has an experienced workforce in place when we are in a position to re-open our parks. Our hope is that these measures are only temporary and will help bridge the financial gap the company is facing, in the fairest manner possible, until we can return to normal operations.”

Polin: Stay hopeful! Stay strong! Stay positive! Stay connected!

By | March 31, 2020

In this unparalleled time of uncertainty, we know there is one thing on which we can always rely: one another. At Polin, we are staying positive and maintaining a continually optimistic outlook of hope and strength for our team, for you, and for our industry. In our 43 years of business, we have faced many challenges, and we’ve always done so together — and successfully — as members of the Polin family. And, because we understand how our business and your own is inextricably intertwined, we wanted to send you this note to reassure you of how we are actively addressing and managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our staff and your on-going and current projects.

First, know what we believe that — together — we can work through and overcome this troubling time. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this international emergency. We keep them always in our hearts as we focus on the future — a future where we will be stronger and more committed than ever.

To ensure we achieve that future, we are making every effort to keep our team and our loved ones. To that end, we have set up all necessary technology for as many staff as possible to work from home; every day, they are focused on fulfilling their colleagues’ and your needs, from project management and information technologies to customer service and logistics. Similarly, our sales team is at the ready at any time to brainstorm and discuss details of exciting new projects that come to mind. We have team members on hand, as well, to support the development of budgets, proposals and contract needs of all kinds.

Within our factory, we have taken every precaution to ensure the health and safety of the dedicated professionals who are responsible for physically creating and delivering the products you need. They are focused on fulfilling your orders on time and with no interruptions.

To ensure their safety in fulfilling this goal, we have implemented all recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities regarding safe health and hygiene practices. These measures include the use of disposable masks and gloves, disinfecting after each work shift, daily temperature checks, and easily accessible hand sanitizers. We have also put social-distancing measures into place among these staff members, so they are protected as much as possible from the virus.

As circumstances continue to change, we will modify all operations necessary to maintain our commitment to our team’s safety and health. They are our priority, and we are committed to taking care of them, just as we remain dedicated to continuing our decades of service to you.

We are incredibly grateful to our entire team of dedicated employees who have taken on these challenges with positivity and perseverance.

As always, we are firmly committed to being there for you. You can reach us at any time with any question. We are available by email, phone, social media and other messaging services during regular working hours. We have all the necessary video-conferencing systems in place to support virtual meetings whenever you request them.

Just as importantly as fulfilling business commitments, we also simply want to make sure we stay connected with all of you as we face this difficult time together. It will take all of us, working together, supporting one another and caring for all. We remain in this together. And we know we will overcome this together. We all belong here. We are all connected. And we complete one another. This is the only way to sustain life just like it is in the nature.

Polin introduces Splash Course

By | March 30, 2020

TURKEY — Polin has the ability to complete a wide range of attraction projects to fit amusement park needs all over the world. Using theses advanced engineering skills and lots of creativity, Polin offers the industry’s most innovative, intense and dynamic products, wet and dry, large or small, for every member of the family.

As we know, the most efficient and permanent method of learning is with hands-on experience. Splash Courses are playground areas suitable for everyone of all ages where they experience excitement, adrenaline and a sense of achievement of the utmost level in a challenging environment. Splash Courses offer physical, intellectual and psychological challenges that allow participants to improve their skills such as strategy-setting, courage, communication, self-trust, ability to overcome difficulties, hand skills, resilience, problem-solving, learning self limits, competitiveness, ability to assume risks, ability to work under high stress and focusing, and help to overcome acrophobia while fostering an environment of friendliness and cooperation. Splash Courses can be incorporated into a variety of indoor and outdoor locations.

Splash Courses are ideal for adventure and entertainment parks, also called amusement parks, which have been evolving fast recently. These playgrounds involve one or more game event, support system, and safety and security system. Unlike rope couses that have limited access and require supervision, Splash Courses offer various levels of height and difficulty that is appealing to individuals of all ages.

From small rides to major amusement park projects, with Polin’s team-approach, Polin ensures every project is completed on time. Polin uses a multi-disciplinary method which makes it possible to offer flexible solutions. Their experienced team designs the most sophisticated ride types, works carefully with the unqiue characteristics of each project, maximizes the site potential, finds the most optimal solutions for issues and ensures the success of every project.

Polin Attractions installed its first Splash Course at ”Palomaqua” in Antalya, Turkey.

The cat’s out of the bag! Oops, we mean the rabbit is out of the hat!

By | March 27, 2020

Jim & Sandy Sisti, Quassy Amusement & Waterpark’s resident magicians, have let the cat out of the bag, or – perhaps – we should say the rabbit out of the hat!

They have compiled a great book with magic tricks and illusions youngsters can learn and perform at home! Yes, adults are allowed to use the book, too!

Applause, please, for Jim & Sandy during this crisis! And everyone, please stay safe.

Contact your US Representative today to protect the health of the attractions industry

By | March 27, 2020

It is important that we, as individuals and as an industry, make sure that our representatives in Washington, D.C. know the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on us.

Last night the CARES Act was approved 96-0 in the Senate. It now moves to the House, where it is expected to be voted on no later than Friday.

NEAAPA has drafted a letter that you can use and send to your elected representatives, which can be found here: https://neaapa.com/federal-representatives/. Contacting your representative in the House will only take a few moments of your time. It is important that they not only hear from trade organizations, like NEAAPA, IAAPA, OABA, etc, but that they hear directly from their constituents.

Once the bill has been signed into law, there will be many more tools at your disposal to keep your business going. More detailed guidance will be availble very soon, but right now we suggest that you speak with your banker as soon as possible and specifically ask if your bank is qualified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to originate Section 7a loans. Most are, but if they are not, you should consider finding another bank that can assist you with the CARES Act financing.

Appalachian Festival at Coney Island

By | March 26, 2020

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Coney Island and Appalachian Community Development Association announced today that based on an abundance of caution they will cancel the 2020  Appalachian Festival.  The cancelation is attributed to the outbreak of coronavirus and COVID-19, the respiratory illness it causes and the ban of gatherings.

“We extend our sincere appreciation to the artists from all over the area as they prepared for the Festival over the past year as well as our participants who were primed to celebrate with us,” said Rob Schutter, President and CEO of Coney Island Park. “We will return next year with all of the fun and excitement you expect. We did not come to this decision lightly, but the safety of our audience, local and out of town participants, volunteers, partners, and staff is our number one priority.”

Organizers will look for a date in 2021 to continue with the Appalachian Festival.

Stay in the Game: Overcoming COVID-19 in the American Amusement Industry

By | March 24, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is presenting the American amusement industry with unprecedented challenges, from mandatory closings of FECs to potential supply chain interruptions and shortages of parts and merchandise. While no-one can predict the future, I believe that amusement operators and suppliers are an entrepreneurial and innovative group that can adapt.

This industry is small; we have to make sure we help each other through this unprecedented time. It will be a team effort and I believe that those who have decency and compassion during this crisis will receive returns; strong companies who can practice conscious capitalism will survive.

Because the customer has a need we have a job to do. Because of the customer we exist and we never take that for granted at Intercard. As a CEO I will do what it takes to work with our global family of customers to help them survive. I believe other CEO’s in the industry will do the same. We will be stronger together and nothing without each other.

The short term outlook is not rosy. Most if not all US arcades and FECs, like other entertainment venues, are now closed, and the impact has been immediate. “It’s basically turned off cash flow for pretty much everyone, because everyone is closed, right?” says Howard McAuliffe of FEC consultancy Pinnacle Entertainment Group. “Zero cashflow is a major problem, so one big operator has laid off 90% of his staff. Some of the suppliers now are laying off 30 to 60% of their staff. The industry is in full survival mode.”

The St. Louis region, where our world headquarters is located, has issued a mandatory stay at home rule. That won’t stop us from being there for our customers, and we will continue to provide them with technical support and training 24/7 no matter where they are in the world. As a software company we are very flexible; our technical specialists can work remotely. We are still performing installs and customer training and filling game card and product orders so when our customers’ doors open again, they will be ready for business. Fortunately Intercard makes everything here in America, so we expect no supply chain disruptions.

Operators must also be nimble. Todd DeMott, a veteran arcade operator from New Jersey and a sales representative for Intercard, just opened a new location for retro games in a prime Shore location. Less than a month later he’s been forced to close down. To compensate for lack of cash flow, he’s feverishly promoting sales of season passes good for unlimited gaming from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“I immediately set up my online account so [customers] can make purchases straight from the website and I’m just marketing it like crazy,” says DeMott. “Facebook, social media, making sure everybody knows, running an ad on Google.” He says local customers, who flock to the Shore for fun in the summer, are confident that the crisis will have passed by Memorial Day. They are not shying away from investing in their summer playtime and the $70 passes are selling well.

I recommend keeping up as normal a routine as possible and staying focused on reopening to help shoulder the pain of this shutdown. We aren’t losing sight of our customers’ needs and FEC owners can’t either. Our software makes it easy to stay in touch with your customers and remind them that when this crisis ends you will welcome them back. 

One of the few benefits of the shutdown is that FEC operators can use the unexpected downtime to catch up on unfinished projects and prepare for the crucial summer season. “In this industry you never really get a chance to catch your breath. It’s always a 365 day race,” says DeMott. “So we’re all just catching up on projects that we haven’t been able to accomplish in a while. Everybody just wants to be ready for that 10 week push and you can’t lose a day.”

What will the industry look like when the crisis is passed? McAuliffe believes that a number of FECs, especially newer ones that haven’t experienced an industry downturn, could go out of business. This could include larger operators who are overleveraged and operating on slim margins as well mom and pop operations. “A lot of people in the bowling world haven’t been through a recession. I know a lot of these [BEC] concepts have come about since the last downturn since 2008,” says McAuliffe. “Especially ones that expanded quickly. If they did that with borrowing it’s going to be rough.”

He expects that those that survive will be back stronger than ever and better positioned for success because there will be less competition. “I think you’re going to have some strong companies that are going to be in a good position,” says McAuliffe. “And I think we have some saturation maybe to the point of a bubble; at least in certain markets that’ll be gone.”

The amusement industry relies heavily on trade shows but for the next year I foresee only the bigger “must attend” shows taking place. Until cash flow is in full swing again, I expect that not as many exhibitors and guests will attend as in the recent past. Vendors with supply chains out of China may not be around much longer and it might take years to get the industry back to where we were before the virus hit.

The big question is will customers come back to play right away? McAuliffe believes there will be enough pent-up demand for social activities that they will return quickly. “When people are able to get out, they’re going to want to get out and congregate and go to FECs.”

DeMott also thinks so because people who have been self-isolated at home will be anxious to get out. “I think we’re going to see an instant flux in revenue just from people wanting to get out,” he says. “They’re just going crazy being stuck in a house, being cooped up. People quickly forget, right? Summer’s going to be here. It’s going to be beautiful out.”

Our customers’ facilities will be an important part of bringing people back together again when this crisis is over. Our customers create experiences and memories for people all over the world. When this scary ride is over people will come back to the entertainment centers and we all have to make sure we do our part to help keep those doors open for the people when the time comes.

We have to work together to stay in the game.

— Scott Sherrod, CEO, Intercard

News and a message from Rides 4 U

By | March 24, 2020

Paul Mauer Shows of California is excited to receive their new KMG Freak Out! Having just arrived from the Netherlands, the ride has not only cleared customs but has been loaded onto a truck and Rides 4 U‘s John Yonkers is just awaiting his clearance papers to drive the ride across country and deliver it to Paul Mauer Shows!

Once it arrives, Rides 4 U‘s Robby Tucker will work with Paul Mauer to set-up, test, and operate the ride! Mauer’s goal is to have the ride ready for midway guests as soon as he’s given the greenlight to resume shows.

SBF/Visa Group has shipped a new Air Balloon Observation Tower with a unique sports theme to Adventureland of Long Island, New York.

The new 70-foot-tall ride is a first-of-its-kind anywhere in the world!

The SBF/Visa Group’s ride manufacturing facilities remain operational with hopes that parks and entertainment centers reopen soon. The company is ready ready to deliver family fun to the midways in the days and weeks to come!

“In light of what is happening throughout the world regarding COVID-19, we want you to know that the Rides 4 U office staff are working remotely and from home, with our office lines and emails still forwarded directly to our staff. Despite the change in our office structure, the entire Rides 4 U family is continuing operations and continues to work with our customers to ensure their midways and facilities are ready to welcome guests when they reopen.Here is to staying united and to fun-filled days ahead!”
-Len Soled, Rides 4 U