Russell McAlister

City:

RU_007

A LiftFund loan helped Russell McAlister keep and expand his business, Richmond Underground, a laser tag, Airsoft tag, and arcade center in Richmond, Kentucky. McAlister’s struggle with capital led him to LiftFund after learning about it from one of his vendors.  McAlister decided to give them a call.

McAlister’s natural knowledge of running a family-oriented business comes from his father, who ran a skating rink while McAlister was in high school and starting college. He admits he doesn’t know much about how to truly run a gaming center successfully, but he does know how to run a business that entertains families.

His business specializes in birthday parties and corporate outings. Sitting on a 25-acre farm, which is also his home, McAlister has buildings scattered to act as a village for outdoor Airsoft games while the laser tag is set up as a zombie-filled warehouse. Unlike other laser tag centers around Richmond, McAlister says he focuses on playing in teams instead of individually.

“We are very people-oriented,” he said. The business does not rely much on being an entertainment business, but more about social interaction, he said. The exceptional customer service is another main reason why people return to Richmond Underground.

McAlister has always had an entrepreneurial spirit.  The idea of making changes without going through anyone else, and experiencing success through his own decisions is what attracts him to be self-employed.

The LiftFund loan helped the almost 3-year-old business hire four new employees in 2013, bringing its total to 17 jobs.  “We plan to continue to grow through the help of LiftFund,” he says, adding that he has a goal of opening three more locations by 2020.