Margate's promising venture appears to have failed. Thanet Star investigates...
For two years now, since the first GEEK (Games Expo East Kent) event launch, gamers of Thanet have been anticipating the launch of a "Gaming Lounge" where they can gather to enjoy games, food, and good company together.
Having been with them from day one (I still have the promotional leaflet from GEEK 2012, see the image above) I was disappointed by the amount of delays that this business venture suffered, but I stayed in regular contact with the minds behind the idea and they kept me well informed, so my support never waned.
In August of last year, all that waiting finally paid off when I received word that they were finally launching Kayjaiz Gaming Lounge, and although I missed the Launch Party due to personal reasons, Thanet Star got a special sneak peak a few days before opening, and we liked what we saw.
There were some negatives, plenty of room for improvement, of course, but we could see a lot of potential and looked forward to seeing the business grow.
However, as the weeks and months after launch passed, Thanet Star received numerous contact from fans who were disappointed by the consistent fact that the doors to Kayjaiz were, more often than not, closed tightly.
I spoke with the proprietors, who assured me that business was indeed still running smoothly and that they were simply concentrating their efforts on weekends, holiday periods, etc, and during the week maintaining their standard nine-to-five jobs. I was rather sceptical of this fact, but I trusted that they knew what they were doing, and continued to advise fans to only visit on weekends, or call ahead to ensure the facility was open.
However, after many attempts to get into touch with the proprietors in recent months through the use of all contact forms available to me and "asking around" the community, etc, and finally, at visiting the venue myself and looking through the windows, it has become very apparent that business is not running smoothly.
In fact, given the nature of this photograph (courtesy of eatery SNK's proprietor Kevin Peake) and the various reports we have received from local residents, business owners and fans, coupled with the lack of reply from Kayjaiz's owners, the question as to whether business is running at all or they are, sadly, shut down, begs.
Almost all hardware and furniture has been removed. There is no sign of any games consoles, surround sound, etc, all that was left when we investigated were a few gaming chairs piled up, as you can see in the photograph. This is quite concerning.
We are continuing with our inquiries in the community, with the Council and other sources in the hopes of achieving confirmation of the situation with the business. It is perhaps possible that they are refurbishing? Or moved to an alternative venue?
All that we know for certain is that it does not look good, that they are not answering any of Thanet Star's calls or emails, that their website is down and that their Twitter and FaceBook have both been neglected since January.
What do you think has happened? Are you disappointed or happy about this? What would you have done differently if Kayjaiz was your business idea? Discuss!
NB: If anyone has any further information or photographs to contribute, please do not hesitate to get in touch.