New Member Spotlight: Blender
Novi Sad, Serbia
Having celebrated its one-year anniversary in July, Blender family entertainment center (FEC) has become a popular place in Novi Sad, Serbia, for guests of all ages to have fun playing arcade video games, classic consoles, and redemption games.
“Blender has arranged its space to suit a family that wants to have a good time; it is freshly refurbished, bright, modern, cheerful, and comfortable, featuring the latest arcade machines previously unseen in the country,” says Marko Martinoli, managing director and one of the founders of Blender. “The FEC is a combination of a playroom for children and for generations of adults who appreciate retro arcade video games and want to go back to the 1980s and early 1990s.”
The FEC features a variety of arcade games, including “ATV Slam,” “Blox Breaker,” “Ball Madness,” “Down the Clown,” “Halo: Fireteam Raven,” “Injustice Arcade,” “The Walking Dead,” and “World’s Largest Pac-Man.” Martinoli says the team carefully selected the facility’s collection of games, which has proved popular with visitors.
“It’s the hippest family entertainment in Novi Sad,” Martinoli says. “Put the reality on hold, and simply have fun with your loved ones.”
The team behind Blender came from the financial services and investment management industries, and in 2018, it acquired the space for the FEC in Novi Sad, Serbia’s second largest city, about 100 kilometers from the capital, Belgrade.
“The founders are Belgrade natives but purposely wanted to start a business in Novi Sad, which we, the founders, perceived as a relatively better environment for the particular business idea,” Martinoli says. “Once the property was acquired, everything else fell into place rather quickly. Refurbishment was done within a couple of months to a very high standard, and our natural sense for business resulted in the establishment of strong relationships with some of the largest global FEC suppliers.”
According to Martinoli, the company’s goal is to grow the Blender concept across the country. Blender also hosts events, such as birthday parties, bachelor parties, team-building outings, and corporate events.
“We want each and every guest to retain the ‘awe’ factor of the moment when he or she first sets its foot into Blender,” he says. “I think we are succeeding at this, not least considering there are many returning customers and word-of-mouth [marketing] is currently our No. 1 advertising strategy.”
Martinoli says Blender joined IAAPA to benefit from access to its member resources and being a part of the association’s networks, globally and in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.
“We want to get Blender on the map, and we think the IAAPA membership will help us to increase visibility and elevate the quality of dialogue with some of the FECs globally, as well as large machine and other suppliers as we continue to improve our overall asset mix,” he says.