Rob Neagle was on his way to becoming a journalist before he took a job delivering pizzas. That’s when he made a discovery.
“I found out that I love the hospitality industry,” he said.
The delivery job while making his way through college – where he was at one time the sports editor of the University of Texas-Pan American newspaper – introduced Neagle to Pizza Hut. He would go on to have a 15-year career with the popular restaurant chain. He would eventually serve as a general manager at various Pizza Hut locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
Neagle would next have a 10-year management career for Chili’s, working as a general manager at restaurants in the Valley. With that solid management career as a background, he was ready for a new challenge. It came in 2013 when Main Event decided to open a location in the Valley.
Main Event bills itself as offering a state-of-the-art entertainment experience. Walk into the 58,000-square-foot Main Event at the Pharr Town Center and one will experience what Neagle calls “sensory overload.”
The Pharr mega-entertainment center features bowling, arcade games, laser tag, over 100 interactive video games and big screen televisions. On the menu are foods of all sorts from nachos to pizza to wings. Running the operations and overseeing 140 employees at the sprawling entertainment complex is Neagle, the general manager, who got his start delivering pizzas.
“More than anything, we’re a family entertainment center,” he said of Main Event. “No matter your age, there’s something here for everyone. You can get lost here for a while.”
It’s the family angle that attracted Main Event to the Valley in addition to the region’s rapid growth, Neagle said.
“Main Event saw the family values we have here in the Valley,” said Neagle, a Midwest native who came to the region with his family when he was 10 years old. “The Valley culture of strong families has a lot to do with our success.”
Main Event in Pharr is located amidst one of the major traffic crossroads in the Valley where Jackson Road and Expressway 77/83 meet. Neagle says the way the City of Pharr has developed the north Jackson Road area with its crush of retailing, restaurants and entertainment has made it a go-to spot in the Valley.
“The City of Pharr has been a trendsetter in the way they’ve developed this area,” he said. “The city has done a tremendous job for us.”
A great location combined with a business big on entertainment and energy with a focus on customer service has made Main Event in Pharr a runaway success since its opening in August 2014. From its opening, Main Event in Pharr has set company records in its generation of revenues and business. The quality of the entertainment experience is a key factor – that wow factor – and so is the level of customer service his staff provides, Neagle said.
“I have an amazing group here,” he said of his employees. “It’s not that hard to keep them motivated. They take a lot of pride in their work.”
From cooks to technicians to party hosts and bartenders, Neagle oversees a staff that provides diverse services to a wide range of customers. One of his favorite groups are the youngsters who come to Main Event as part of end-of-the-school year field trips. In coming off of serving waves of kids at the end of the recent school year, Neagle said it reminds him and his staff what their business is all about.
“Some of these kids don’t come to a place like Main Event all that often,” he said. “To see the pure joy on their faces is so amazing. It inspires us to keep doing the best jobs we can for everyone we serve.”