Carl Arthur Piccarreto had two things when he started his business in 1949 - one jukebox and a vision. “My father was fresh out of the war, WWII and for $110 dollars which was a lot of money back then he bought his first jukebox and placed it in his father’s bar,” said his son, Carl Joseph Piccarretto - who often goes by "CJ".
That bar was the 1889 Grill on Clifford Avenue in Rochester. Carl liked the revenue he saw. So, he bought a few more jukeboxes. His idea was to rent them to other establishments. The customer would keep a percentage of the coin drop. The customers were like family. “It was a joy for him to meet his customers,” said CJ.
Carl grew his customer base even more. It wasn’t easy work. He pounded the pavement and grew his business one location at a time. CAP Amusement was born. Carl took care of each and every person he did business with. He was available day or night to solve a problem or just answer a question.
In 1984 Carl was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. At just 24-years-old CJ had to take over the business. “I was sort of thrown into his on my own. It was sink or swim.” He swam. Today the business is up to 225 locations from Rochester to Buffalo. “We have a lot of taverns, we have a lot of restaurants - many family restaurants and sports complexes that use us,” said CJ. CAP Amusement has over 1,000 pieces of equipment and employs eight people. They provide everything from video games, pool tables, foosball and air hockey tables, etc. and the thing that started it all – jukeboxes. The rentals can also be booked for a corporate gathering and private parties.
The company owns a lot of dart boards in bars. “It’s the younger generations go-to game like pool tables were years ago,” said Carl. CAP Amusement started CAP Darts - a dart league.
The league meets once a week and plays another team from another bar. The results are available online. They even have tournaments and award banquets.
The league attracts customers on the slower nights. In fact, the league is up to 850 players now. Yet, Carl Joseph hasn’t forgotten his roots. He still operates like his father did when he started the business – even having the occasional cup of coffee with his customers. “You aren’t going to get this kind of relationship from a larger corporation from out of town,” said CJ.
CJ’s wife Barb, who also works for the company, said their daughter, Janell Falvo, works for the company. “It’s going to stay as a family run business,” said Barb.
Their son, Michael, who is in college, works in the summer – just like CJ started. “It’s the first stage of learning all aspects of the business,” said CJ.
CJ only has just one regret about the business. “I wish my dad could see how far this business has come. He was a one man show. He did everything himself from moving the machines, to fixing the machines and counting the quarters.” said CJ. His dad started this business at his kitchen table and it continues to grow to this day. “It’s a good feeling seeing how it started and where it’s come,” said CJ. “I think he would be very proud.”
Contact CAP Amusement :
107 Norris Dr Suite C
Rochester, NY 14610
General Inquiries: (585) 442-2277
(CAPS) Service Line: (585) 473-1213
Fax: (585) 442-2281
The Piccarretto family donated $1,000 to the American Heart Association to make this article possible. Barb's father has struggled with heart problems for the last 27 years. He is 84-years-old and is doing well. Barb's oldest brother, who is 64-years-old, had a heart attack without any warnings signs in April. He had surgery and is also doing very well. The Piccarretto's also have a daughter Alissa who is a nurse.