We are thrilled to announce that as of this week, our managing director and British games and jukebox entrepreneur, Alexander Walder-Smith, has officially acquired Rock-Ola – the last American jukebox manufacturing company and one of the most prestigious jukebox brands on the planet. Now fast approaching its centenary, Rock-Ola’s cultural influence over the years has been truly unrivalled. Said to be the inspiration for the term ‘rock and roll’, its pioneering designs – featuring rotating multi-coloured pilasters and ascending air bubbles – have helped to shape the popular image of jukeboxes over the last 90 years, and their Bubbler jukeboxes are a common sight in the backgrounds of classic American diners and cosy British pubs alike.
The evolution of the Rock-Ola brand
Naturally this is a momentous step for us at the Games Room Company, and we’re determined to uphold the globally-renowned name of Rock-Ola jukeboxes. The brand has distinguished itself with a fascinating blend of traditional manufacturing and craftsmanship, together with constant evolution and a willingness to embrace modern advancements in music technology; one of the many aspebcts that’s allowed it to outlive its contemporary jukebox brands.
Here at the Games Room Company, we’re keen to use our expertise in the rare and whimsical to bring about the next stage in Rock-Ola’s evolution. Namely, Alexander plans to revolutionise Rock-Ola’s market presence by manufacturing a brand new 45rpm vinyl jukebox – featuring a powerful state of the art speaker system together with the ability to offer music streaming from phones and tablets. The result is a unique blend of mid-century styling and 21st century technology; a carefully nuanced balance that perfectly embodies our own passions and pioneering approach.
A new chapter in our shared history
This is the latest definitive stage in the relationship between the Games Room Company and Rock-Ola, whose shared history spans decades. We are the official UK retailer of Rock-Ola jukeboxes, and we’ve been selling and restoring vintage jukeboxes since 1962. Rock-Ola’s current owner, Glenn Streeter, will stay on for the next two years, bringing his own considerable expertise to bear as he helps to expand the company’s offering beyond jukeboxes into a greater range of home entertainment and recreational room products.
“With the Games Room Company’s peerless knowledge of the background and workings of these products, Alexander was the natural choice to take the helm.” he said.
The purchase has been financed by Vita Nova Hedge Fund, whose CEO Jeremy Leach has been following our recent spectacular growth. He commented: “We’re delighted to have been involved with the acquisition of Rock-Ola, which is a perfect private equity venture of Vita Nova. It’s quite special to have had the opportunity to participate in the acquisition of one of America’s most iconic brands.”
Alexander said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m pleased to be working with Glenn and the long-standing team at Rock-Ola as we take the company towards it centenary. This is one of America's great brands, up there with Harley Davidson and Jack Daniels, and as we move into the exciting next stage, we'll be dramatically raising its profile across the world. Using our expertise in these products and knowledge of marketing we will capitalize on the vinyl trend and introduce the only authentic American manufactured 45rpm vinyl Jukebox to the world."
He added "As well as investing in manufacturing, we have plans to leverage ecommerce capabilities and a digital marketing strategy to reach a global audience online, starting with a new website launch on Shopify technology."
Where to now?
With the key phases of the purchase now complete, we’re now setting our sights on the development of the new 45rpm vinyl jukebox, in keeping with the vinyl’s current spectacular comeback in the UK. Our blog post on vinyl jukeboxes touches on a few reasons for this renewed popularity, including that distinctive ‘vinyl to valve’ sound.
Until its ultimate release, though, you can still take your pick from our dizzying range of jukeboxes right here on our website, or sitting proudly in our Weybridge showroom, ranging from authentic vintage models all the way up to contemporary digital designs. And of course, if you have any questions or need any advice, we’re always here to help!