NJ Firefighter Finds Spark with New Business

Garwood, NJ — Craig Manning has been a firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) for more than 20 years. In 2011, he opened GameTruck, a patented mobile video game theater concept featuring flat-screen HDTVs, comfortable seating, a high-quality sound system and the latest video game consoles, in Garwood, N.J., with his wife, Gina.

The GameTruck business model allows the Mannings to operate the business from their home. The flexible schedule also suits Craig’s firefighting schedule.

“I love my job as a firefighter and finding a business that allowed me to continue firefighting was perfect,” Craig said. “I can book parties around my shift schedule and Gina runs the business and handles parties when I am working at the fire house.”

GameTruck offers a premier party experience for both children and adults in an interactive, multiplayer environment that accommodates 24 players. Self-powered, climate-controlled GameTruck trailers are outfitted with comfortable seating, four to as many as eight flat-screen HDTVs, enhanced sound systems, more than three dozen of the latest multiplayer video games and all the major video game consoles (XBOX360®, Nintendo Wii™ and Playstation®3). A GameCoach manages each event, promoting fair, interactive play.

“Gina has been a stay-at-home mom for several years so GameTruck is a great opportunity for us to team up and work together,” Craig said. “We love the idea of GameTruck. It’s a unique, fun birthday party experience for kids that is also safe so parents don’t have to worry.”

With Craig’s full-time job as a firefighter and Gina’s responsibilities to their four children, the couple wanted a proven business model that would be easy to launch, which is why they decided to buy a home-based franchise instead of starting a business from scratch. The GameTruck model allows franchisees to be up and running within 60 days of signing the franchise agreement.

GameTruck offers a comprehensive two week training and education program that combines both WebEx instruction and live-event training from the company’s training team at the franchisee’s location. Experts, franchisees, techs, gamers, drivers, marketing experts and the founders participate in this comprehensive training program. In addition, GameTruck seamlessly combines its customer website and call center with a proprietary franchisee back-end operating system to maintain a simple, streamlined process for both customers and franchise owners. For example, the corporate office helps answer calls so that Craig does not miss a lead while he is at work.

“The support a franchise offers makes it possible for me to keep the job I love and run a business I love,” Craig said. “Gina is also able to run the business while taking care of our kids, which has been a huge benefit.”

The Mannings also use GameTruck to give back to their community, taking the mobile video game theater to various charity events. For example, every year they take the GameTruck to Play Ball for Miracles, a fire and police charity softball tournament.

Since it was founded in 2006, GameTruck has grown to 60 franchisees operating 80 GameTruck rigs in 150 territories across 23 states and Lagos, Nigeria. Expansion is underway in Canada and Trinidad and GameTruck expects to add 30 new franchisees and 60 new territories in 2012 alone, with long-range projections for 200 to 250 units covering the U.S. and Canada. GameTruck is the owner of U.S. Pat. No. 8,029,368 issued October 4, 2011.