June 15

News : Pinball wizard Stern sees growth worldwide, makes village its new hub : Daily Hearld

This story originally ran March 5, 2015 but was reissued again today.  This article was written right before the move of Stern to its new location.  If anyone missed it the first time, here is your chance to read the article.

The article from the Daily Herald talks about Stern Pinball’s history and it’s new factory located in Elk Grove Village in Chicago.


When Stern Pinball Inc. moves from Melrose Park to Elk Grove Village next month, it will make the suburb a global hub for manufacturing the next generation of iconic pinball games.

Believed to be the oldest and largest pinball company in the world, Stern is expanding to a 40,000-square-foot building in April consolidating its Melrose Park headquarters and a warehouse near O’Hare International Airport. With about 250 employees, the company plans to hire workers, roll out new technology and pursue additional worldwide markets, including China and India, executives said.

The company has earned the high score when it comes to making the silver-ball-bumping games.

“Stern has been the king of production,” said Mark Steinman, director of operations for the Professional and Amateur Pinball Association, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Stern has been No. 1 in putting out new games. So what it does and says goes a long way. It defines the industry.”

Once a staple of American bowling alleys, bars and arcades, the machines have given way over the past two decades to the multibillion-dollar video-gaming industry that now dominates arcades and home entertainment.

The company has changed over the years as much as the style of the games.

While Stern Pinball dates back to the 1930s, it hit its heyday during the 1950s through the 1990s. The dot-com bust, massive waves of layoffs, foreclosures and the Great Recession then hampered the industry. It was at this time when President Gary Stern put together an investment team, partnering with Barrington-based Hagerty Peterson & Co. LLC and a small group of investors led by Dave Peterson of Barrington. They infused an undisclosed amount of resources to keep the company moving ahead.

Both Stern and Peterson said their investment plan is paying off. Making thousands of machines every year, revenues and profits are up and the move into Elk Grove Village will herald a new era.

Their success was evident in January when the company showed off its latest games at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Among a number of new games, Stern introduced WWE WrestleMania pinball as wrestling legend Hulk Hogan autographed the limited editions. Stern and Ford Motor Co. also teamed up to create a Mustang pinball machine as part of the Mustang’s 50th Anniversary celebrations next year.

“We are definitely experiencing a resurgence and there’s growth in the game. And we anticipate even more,” Stern said.

Read the rest of the article here :


Thanks to the Daily Herald and  for the article .