On June 5th, G-Force Adventure Center & Laser Tag in Brewer reopened its doors for the first time in three months, following a mandatory shutdown due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The business has been operating in the “new normal” for nearly a month now, and while business isn’t back to pre-COVID levels by any stretch, the small weekly increases in calls, visitors, and birthday party reservations bring hope for the future. While the past four months have been a challenge, owner Brian Plavnick considers himself one of the lucky ones.
“It’s a struggle every day, but if things hadn’t happened the way they did, we’d be having a completely different conversation. The road to get us where we are started with CEI and [our Maine Small Business Development Center advisor] Brad Swanson.”
When Brian started the G-Force business back in 2006, he couldn’t get financing for a fixed location, so he focused on building a rental mobile laser tag and event rental business. After the first year in business, he was able to start expanding – changing the look & feel of G-Force’s service and adding more products and offerings over the years. Eventually, demands on the mobile part of the business increased to the point where adding a fixed location became a necessity. Here, G-Force ran into some growing pains – difficulties with a landlord regarding food was one, and access to appropriate capital was another.
It was at this point that Brian was connected with Brad Swanson, a certified Maine Small Business Development Center advisor hosted by CEI. “Brad helped us straighten things out,” Brian said. After about a year of working closely with Brad, G-Force was ready for new financing, which allowed the company to consolidate and move away from the predatory loans into a single FAME-backed loan.
Business Advisor: Brad Swanson