The hugely popular cardboard arcade is closing so its 10-year-old creator can focus on a new goal: opening up his own bike shop. Lolita Lopez reports from Boyle Heights for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 12, 2013.
Caine Monroy, the imaginitive young boy whose cardboard arcade made him an instant Internet sensation, is growing up, and apparently so is his business savvy.
Two years after building Caine's Arcade in his father's autoshop in Boyle Heights and thousands of visitors later, the 10-year-old is shutting down his operation and embarking on a new entrepreneurial adventure: a bicycle shop.
Caine got the idea after buying a new bike and giving his old one a makeover.
"I painted it, sanded it, bought new grips, bought new tires," he said.
Caine's Arcade became a destination spot after a film made about his handmade games went viral. Since April 2012, the video has more than 7 million online views.
Caine's father said they constantly receive visitors, and the college scholarship fund created for his son now stands at more than $236,000.
Caine's vision and sense of entrepreneurship has led to meetings with celebrities -- his favorite is Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul. He became the youngest speaker at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Caine recently spoke at a TED teen talk hosted by Chelsea Clinton and had a little fun during a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with the secretary of education.
The closing of the arcade at 538 N. Mission Rd. on Aug. 3 will also be a celebration of Caine's birthday. However, while he may be off to junior high and starting work on his other project, the arcade and its inspiration will live on. It will become a traveling arcade in a partnership with Toms shoes, his father said.
The Imagination Foundation, which spawned from Caine's Arcade, will have another Global Day of Play on Oct. 5. The goal is to engage 1 million kids in 70 countries in creative play and provide curriculum to schools around the world.
Caine also has advice for anyone pursuing something new.
"Just believe in yourself," he said.
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