Local Entrepreneur, Haute City Center Partner for Pinball Attraction
Terre Haute, Ind. – What was once old is new again, thanks to a local entrepreneur’s love of entertainment and gaming.
Business owner Zack Johnson has partnered with Haute City Center to bring new customers and new fun to the mall. It’s called “Bank of Pinball” and the name pretty much says it all. The pinball gaming center is located inside the former First Financial Bank location, just outside JCPenney.
“It’s always exciting to have a new tenant, but when it’s someone local and someone that supports local business and the community, it’s fantastic,” says Haute City Center General Manager Kim Ingalsbe.
Johnson, who has an extensive background in the gaming business, also owns Terre Haute’s eBash with business partner Shawn Wells. Wells collects and repairs old pinball machines and pinball is a big connection between the two. In 2021 Johnson sold another gaming software company ggCircuit to Esports Entertainment. He was also an original founder of JOINK in the early 2000s.
With their knowledge and experience, Johnson and Wells aren’t just throwing a couple pinball machines into the empty location, but they’re taking the concept and adding an element of competition. Johnson says the larger goal is to bring more entertainment to West Central Indiana.
“This is really the next step in what we want to do,” Johnson says. “Ebash, after 17 years we have realized that it serves this demographic of 14 to 24 year old males, we all know girls game too but in my store it’s almost all males… but we need to reach others for entertainment and this is the next step.”
Bank of Pinball will feature more than a dozen unique pinball machines, coupled with technology that tracks players and offers additional challenges and milestones. The technology and machines come from Stern Pinball. The collection is the largest of new offerings in the state.
The location is unique as well, as very little has changed since the property was used as a bank. Vintage wallpaper, carpeting, light fixtures and a bank vault create an old school feel.
“We’re trying to not change anything,” Zack says of the ambiance. “This is what we’re going for, we’re highlighting that it was once a bank and I think that’s what makes this location so cool.”
The space will be open during mall hours and available for rentals during the evening. Johnson says it is ideal for groups of 20-30, including office parties, youth groups, family gatherings and more. A separate door will bring patrons in when the mall is closed.
Bank of Pinball can be found online. A grand opening with the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett on Thursday, January 6 at 1pm.