Canyon County

This new Treasure Valley arcade is for all ages — if you can find it

Downtown Nampa gets a wave of renovation to historic buildings

Businesses like PreFunk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza have been catalysts for new development along First Street. But renovations to downtown Nampa's historic buildings remain costly, making it difficult to attract investment to the area.
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Businesses like PreFunk Beer Bar and Messenger Pizza have been catalysts for new development along First Street. But renovations to downtown Nampa's historic buildings remain costly, making it difficult to attract investment to the area.

Owning an arcade had always been a childhood dream of Jeremy Lopett. And now he’s doing it — for a second time.

After getting priced out of a previous space in Caldwell, Lopett will open Jeremy’s Downtown Arcade on June 1 at 206C 12th Ave. S. in Nampa. Just across from the Nampa Public Library, the arcade will feature about 20 games, from ones manufactured in Japan to older American games you can no longer buy.

The games fill the space with bright, poppy tunes and flashing lights — but the music is about all that is colorful.

“It’s not a Barcade,” Lopett said of the space.

In fact, it’s more of an arcade speakeasy, he said — albeit an unglamorous one. The entrance isn’t obvious: Come in through either an alley entrance or a door on 12th Avenue, which leads down a long hallway past other office spaces to a door at the very end. That opens up into what resembles a storage space: white walls, fluorescent lighting and few furnishings.

Lopett doesn’t plan to make many improvements to the space, and he’s keeping the price cheap as a result: $4 for all-day play.

“It’s for anyone — young adults, kids,” Lopett said. “Twenty-somethings need something to do downtown, too.”

That echoes the thoughts of some leaders in Nampa who worry that the downtown has become dominated by bars and businesses for adults. Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling has said in the past that she would like for downtown to become more family friendly.

Lopett started buying many of the games for the convention he runs called Anime Oasis, which will bring fans of the Japanese animation style to The Grove Hotel in downtown Boise from May 24-27 this year. Including games he bought for that event, which has run since 2002, he’s invested around $20,000 into the collection.

Despite his reserved demeanor, Lopett has not shied from the public sphere. In 2016, Lopett ran to represent District 10 in the Idaho House of Representatives. Running on a Democratic platform in conservative Canyon County, he lost by 33 points to the incumbent Republican, Brandon Hixon.

Jeremy Lopett, candidate for Idaho House of Representatives, District 10A, talks about why he is running and what he thinks should be done about the Medicaid gap population.

Right now, Anime Oasis and the arcade are Lopett’s primary business focuses. While Lopett managed his Caldwell arcade on the side, opening only a few times a week in 2013 and 2014, he hopes to maintain regular hours at the new arcade in Nampa.

Jeremy’s Downtown Arcade will be open at noon and stay open until 11 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 8 p.m. Sunday. It will be closed Monday and Tuesday. The Idaho Press first reported about the new arcade.

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Kate reports on West Ada and Canyon County for the Idaho Statesman. She previously wrote for the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Providence Business News. She has been published in The Atlantic and BuzzFeed News. Kate graduated from Brown University with a degree in urban studies.
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