Return to top Caine’s Arcade – How a 9-year-old’s cardboard vision turned into a $240,000 scholarship.

Caine’s Arcade – How a 9-year-old’s cardboard vision turned into a $240,000 scholarship.

By - 12th June 2017

The story of how one child’s summer boredom turned into an entrepreneurial business!  In 2011, 9-year-old Caine Monroy spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard arcade in the front of his dad’s Auto Parts Store in East Los Angeles.

Caine loved arcades and hoped that one day he would be able to open his own. Rather than looking into investments and purchasing the machines, Caine set about creating his own out of the spare cardboard boxes that his dad had saved from spare parts deliveries.

Once he had created his intricate arcade games, he started creating a prize wall with his toy cars and knick-knacks he had gathered. His ideas were so detailed that he even created ticket wheels, fun passes and his own staff t-shirt.

Once he had all his finishing touches, Caine’s Arcade was born! But with his dad working in an industrial estate in Boyle Heights, Caine found it very hard to get a footfall of customers… Until he met Nirvan Mullick.

Nirvan was coming in to buy a door handle for his ’96 Corolla. George (Caine’s father) was startled when one of his employees ran into his office to tell George to check the CCTV. It was then when George realised that somebody was actually playing one of Caine’s arcade games.

Nirvan then asked Caine’s dad if he could make a short film about Caine’s arcade. Geroge laughed at first as Nirvan was the only customer Caine had gotten but agreed to the short film.

So impressed with Caine’s ingenuity, Nirvan decided to create an event on Facebook to get everyone in LA down to the arcade to really make the young boy’s day. Nirvan set to make a surprise flash mob that would be waiting to play Caine’s Arcade when he got back to the shop.

Within an hour of the event being published to Facebook, NBC News team had turned up to report on the story as well as a huge following on social media.

When Caine and his father returned to the story, he was stunned by what he saw.

Hundred’s of people had turned up to play. Caine’s dad had to keep the store open for an extra few hours to accommodate all the new customers Caine had.It was a day that Caine would never forget. 

When Nirvan’s short film was published, it received over 1 million views in an hour. He created the film to act as a scholarship fund for Caine with the aim of raising $25,000. To date, over $240,000 has been given and Nirvan has created a non-profit organisation called   Imagination.org which launched a Global Cardboard Challenge to foster children’s innovation and design ability.

Since then he has gained a cult following, including Jack Black who has taken his kids to play.

This kid is truly an inspiration and proves that if you set yourself a goal and work at it, anything can be made possible!

Watch the video below, and if you enjoyed Caine’s incredible arcade, please share his story 🐝