The Machine SHOP Brings Joy to Langley for Teenagers (and Adults)

Posted in Community, Food, Humor, More Stories, Music, Visual Art

BY EMILY ALEXANDER
Whidbey Life Magazine Guest Contributor
September 7, 2016

When I was a kid, which was not long ago, I loved going into Langley. My mom was a waitress at the Dog House and Mike’s Place was just across the street. But both of these lively places have been closed for quite a while now, and Langley has seemed to be losing its aspect of a fun place to hang out for people my age. There just isn’t much for teenagers like myself to do except sit on benches, look through boutiques that are too expensive for us to actually shop in and drool over the smell of fancy food we can’t afford.

But just this summer I found myself spending more time in Langley and it feels like it’s getting some of its energy back.

Two new places have opened—The Machine SHOP and Sprinklz.

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Pinball Wizard Dalan Abernathy, age 6, applies Body English to achieve the proper trajectory. (Photo by David Welton)

The Machine SHOP, which shares an entrance with Sundance Bakery at 630 Second Street, is simply amazing. When you walk in, you’re tempted by delicious looking (and tasting) treats such as cupcakes and cinnamon rolls from Sundance. And then you enter the arcade area… and wow! There are two walls of pinball machines, as well as two Pacman ‘tables’ and two other vintage games. The room is dark, but lit by neon signs and the glow of the games.

The best part of The Machine SHOP is that it’s affordable—just 25 cents to play each game. 25 cents!

Owner Tim Leonard stands next to one of the neon signs he created. (photo by David Welton)

Owner Tim Leonard stands next to one of the neon signs he created. (photo by David Welton)

When I went there with my boyfriend for a date recently, it felt like the place had been designed with us in mind. We played every single game, some of them twice, and had money to spare for me to grab a delicious blueberry oatmeal cookie from Sundance for my grandpa.

Afterwards we walked down to Sprinklz at 109 First Street and got two ice cream cones. I appreciate Sprinklz as well, because the ice cream is good and it’s not expensive: about $7 for two single scoops. Again, it’s an affordable place for teenagers to enjoy.

Plus, both places are open fairly late. Sprinklz stays open until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; The Machine SHOP is open until 7 p.m. seven days a week. This is good, because most places close down around 5 or 6 p.m., leaving those of us under the age of 21 with little to do in the evenings.

Blake Willeford tests his reflexes. (photo by David Welton)

Blake Willeford tests his reflexes. (photo by David Welton)

An image from one of the restored games (photo by David Welton)

Images from two of the restored games (photos by David Welton)

 

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What I love most about these new hangouts is that it’s the innovation and dreams of others that bring them to life. Tim Leonard, owner of The Machine SHOP, and Jennifer Krouse, owner of the Sassy Siren and Sprinklz, have shared what they love with this community and have made the community better for it. And the cooperation of people like Kelly Baugh, owner of Sundance Bakery, who worked with Leonard to come up with an arrangement that would benefit both businesses, is essential to keep the community thriving.

A classic Pacman game attracts visitors.

A classic Pacman game attracts visitors. (photo by David Welton)

 

Another great thing about The Machine SHOP is that there will be music once a month, every first Saturday. This last weekend, Hansen Drive, an up-and-coming garage band of talented 15-year-olds, opened for KrashZen, a local band that describes itself as “a band from outer space, but not too far” and plays rock, reggae, and groove oriented music. Both bands will be playing only original music.

Image at top: Tim Leonard, owner of The Machine SHOP and a craft metal artist, has a  lifelong fascination with Atari video games

Emily Alexander, age 18, is attending Gonzaga University as a freshman. She’s passionate about photography, loves animals, and has a flare for cooking and baking.

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Comments

  1. Super article about a place in town where we all can go to have some wonderful, affordable fun. Some of us remember those games from when they were actually new, and we love them, too! Erick and I took our 17-year-old niece there recently and we all had a blast. Glad the local teens are finding the Machine Shop to be a great hang-out spot. Thanks to Tim Leonard for combining his own passion for the games with a vision that is an excellent fit, I believe, for this community. And having the bakery there too is a plus, for sure. Way to go, Tim!!!

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