Since its founding in 1997, Reno, Nev.-based Gary Platt Manufacturing has carved out a successful sales niche by focusing on one thing and one thing only—seating for the casino floor. Along the way, it has pioneered chair technologies such as ergonomics and immersion seating while developing profitable ancillary businesses such as the sales of refurbished chairs to secondary gaming markets. The company has recently inked distributor deals with Bet-Rite in Canada and Phat Sourcing in Australia with the hope of growing cross-border business in both of these regions. Mark Yurcisin, vice president of sales for Gary Platt Manufacturing, recently spoke with Casino Journal Editor Paul Doocey about the company, the secrets to its success and its plans for the future. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.
|"Since 1997, when the company was originally formed. Gary Platt was created specifically for the manufacturing and sale of casino seating. I think that is one of the biggest strengths we have… "|
|Mark Yurcisin is the vice president of sales for Gary Platt Manufacturing, a position he has held for the past year. Prior to Gary Platt, Yurcisin held various sales positions with Gasser Chair Company. He has over 20 years of casino seating sales experience.|
To what do you attribute Gary Platt’s long-term sales success in the gaming marketplace?
Yurcisin: We are the only casino seating manufacturer that specifically focuses only on the casino floor. We do not do restaurant furniture or banquet chairs or any of that type of furniture.
How long has this casino chair focus existed at Gary Platt?
Yurcisin: Since 1997, when the company was originally formed. Gary Platt was created specifically for the manufacturing and sale of casino seating. I think that is one of the biggest strengths we have… that our sales force and management team is 100 percent focused on what happens on the casino floor.
I’m guessing that this concentration on casino seating really resonated with the gaming industry…
Yurcisin: From the very beginning. The company really started to grow when we signed a long-term contract with IGT to provide their seating for participation games. From that point it really started to snowball and we now provide the seating for most of the major slot manufacturers such as Aristocrat, Bally, IGT and WMS. We also do business with several smaller slot vendors as well.
And this eventually morphed into doing business with casino operators as well?
Yurcisin:What happened was as our seating started to make its way onto the casino floor, casino operators and their support staffs took note of the comfort of the seating and started contacting us directly. We now do a substantial amount of business directly with the casinos.
What is Gary Platt’s most successful seating line?
Yurcisin:The most popular continues to be our Extended Play series. The Extended Play was actually engineered back in 2000, so it has been out on the market 13 years now. Extended Play was a game changer for the casino seating business when it was introduced—it was the first in the industry to offer state-of-the-art ergonomics. That design became the basis for the Extended Play series, and a number of different lines of seating have been created from it.
Extended Play has been so successful that we have only made subtle design changes to it over the years—creating deeper, wider seats and armrests for high-limit slot room use, for example. We have also had success custom adapting the Extend Play chair to meet specific casino needs.
Could you explain how that works?
Yurcisin:We have the capability to work with a client’s in-house design team to create practically any type of seating they want. Just last year our engineers and designers sat with Boyd Gaming’s strategic sourcing and interior design teams to develop a new chair. It is called the Capri, and it has actually become the standard chair for their table games. It started with our basic Extended Play design which they requested we reshape to make the seat wider and deeper and redesign the back to give it a softer line. Really, the finished product was a true collaboration between their teams and ours.
How big a role are immersion chairs—seats with music and motion designed to work in conjunction with slot games—having on your business?
Yurcisin:It’s a business that has really exceeded our expectations over the years. Sound chairs and immersion seating has really taken off since the very first one we did for IGT. Many of the other slot manufacturers have come to us and we are providing the sound chairs for a number of them. It has been a great growth area for us.
Does designing sound/immersion seating require a whole different set of skills than traditional chair manufacturing?
Yurcisin:It does. Our engineers are in constant contact with the engineering teams at the slot companies when it comes to sound chairs. Generally speaking, from the initial concept to final floor product, it takes three or four times longer to develop an immersion seat than anything else we create for the casino floor.
I understand that the chair refurbishment market is a growing business for Gary Platt. How does that work?
Yurcisin:It can work in a variety of ways. If someone is changing an overall design scheme and simply wants to change the color of a chair, we do offer to take it back and refurbish it for them. We also have a program where a customer can trade in their existing chairs and we’ll issue them a credit against future sales. We then take those chairs into stock, strip them, reuse what we can, replace broken and worn parts, re-upholster them and sell the seat to someone else as a refurbished chair. The refurbish market has been big market for us this year.