Along with greeting the new year of 2020, Marion is also welcoming its latest and probably most colorful downtown hot spot: the Feisty Goldfish.
Located in the Historic Depot District, the Feisty Goldfish is a retro arcade for young and old with an impressive array of vintage pinball machines and old-school video games. There are also more modern electronic games on large flat-screen TVs. For those who want their games unplugged, you can play shuffleboard, darts, Jenga and foosball.
In addition, the Feisty Goldfish has an impressive selection of craft and imported beers. There are alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available.
It is similar to Asheville Retrocade, which offers numerous video games, pinball, billiards and a large selection of craft beers. This popular business in West Asheville attracts kids and adults alike.
Derek Poteat, Steven Deel and Amber Deel are working together in this venture. They are part of a family LLC which also includes major supporter Ina Deel, Jennifer Deel Yates and Deanna Deel Logan. The Deel family LLC also owns the historic 1908 building on Depot Street.
Many years ago, it was the Clevenger Hosiery Mill. After that, Laughridge Furniture used this big building for storage from the mid-1990s until that business closed.
A few years ago, the partners in this venture were inspired to open a business after taking their children to places like Asheville Retrocade. They thought Marion could have a place like that. In addition, other businesses like Refinery 13, Spillway Bridge & Co. and Mica Town Brewing were getting ready to open as the downtown became revitalized. They started the work of creating the Feisty Goldfish.
“We think Marion’s ready for something like this,” said Poteat. “I feel like Marion is an undiscovered gem in a lot of ways.”
The Feisty Goldfish covers 5,000 square feet on the main floor of this 22,000-square-foot building, which has three and a half levels. As you enter the door facing Marion’s caboose, you will find a row of eight vintage pinball machines from the 1970s and 1980s. Poteat and his partners were able to acquire the pinball machines through the Internet and various other sources. They are all restored and in good working order. Poteat had to learn how to repair them and become accustomed to all of the working parts, wires, lights, bells and circuits.
He has pinball machines featuring “Back to The Future,” “Space Mission,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and others.
As you look to the left, you will find the old-school arcade games. There are about 35 machines representing such well-loved games as “Pacman,” “Ms. Pacman,” “Super Mario Brothers,” “Frogger,” “Donkey Kong,” “Space Invaders” and “Galaga.” Some of the machines are equipped to play more than one game.
“I feel like we have a good mix of games,” said Poteat.
And on one wall that is lit with a black light, the Feisty Goldfish has flat-screen TVs where you can enjoy the latest video games like Nintendo and PS4.
That is just one half of the main level. In the other half, there are games that don’t require electricity -- foosball, shuffleboard, Jenga and darts.
“We’re happy to have the more interactive games along with the video games,” said Poteat.
The partners hope that the Feisty Goldfish will host competitions by leagues around town.
There is a $10 admission fee. With that you get a wristband good for an entire day and you can play all of the games for free.
Both sections have beautifully made bars were patrons can enjoy a wide variety of craft beers, domestic and imported brands and other alcoholic beverages.
There are local beers such as Mica Town (which created a special brew) and Hillman (which plans to open a location in Old Fort). Due to state ABC rules, patrons will need to purchase a $1 life-time membership, similar to that at Spillway Bridge.
The Feisty Goldfish has non-alcoholic drinks. Like the Asheville Retrocade and other similar establishments, his business is welcoming to adults and their children as well.
“We are family friendly,” said Poteat. “We ensure the safety and security of everyone in our building. The mindset is changing. There are more people in Marion who realize growth is dependent on many factors.”
Amber Deel said this is an arcade first that also has a bar.
The Feisty Goldfish is open seven days a week. From Monday through Thursday, it is open from 4 p.m. to midnight. On Friday, it is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on Saturday, it is open from noon to 2 a.m. On Sunday, it is open from noon to 10 p.m. After 9 p.m., it is open only for 18 and older patrons.
Like Refinery 13, Mica Town and Spillway, the Feisty Goldfish is not a restaurant but patrons are welcome to bring food inside.
This is the newest business to open in Marion’s emerging Historic Depot District. Already, Keeper’s Cut Meadery is located next door and Taylor Bros. Brewing will soon open in the old Laughridge Furniture building along West Henderson St. The district is across the street from the Larry D. Miller Business Complex, which is adding more new shops and eateries for downtown Marion, and the Municipal Event Center. The partners at the Feisty Goldfish have formed good working relationships with Keeper’s Cut and soon-to-open Taylor Bros. Brewing as they bring new life to this section of the downtown.
They have other plans for the rest of this historic structure. Their idea is to have rooms for private parties and an air B&B on the second floor and apartments on the third floor. They plan to restore the Coca-Cola sign that was painted a long time ago on the wall facing West Henderson Street.
For more information, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheFeistyGoldfish/