Rob Ilvento: A Silver Ball and a Heart of Gold.
Trying to 'pin' him down for an interview at his work “playground”, The Silverball Pinball Museum, was an adventure, as Rob was running around between the machines checking everything was operational and making sure everyone was having fun. He is here every couple of weeks. Rob Ilvento, a true Italian, resides in Ausbury, New Jersey with his wife who he met 28 years ago during Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale, two daughters (aged 21 & 25), two dogs, two cats and a horse. His first job was as a dishwasher at his family’s restaurant at the age of 8. He is a 4th generation restaurateur and food manufacturer for some of the largest retailers and restaurants. For him the museum is a hobby... He started the pinball museum with his partner, Steve Zuckerman, in his hometown after finding that his oldest daughter, who has autism, took to pinball games. "She loved playing so I started collecting pinball machines for her. After collecting a couple hundred, we wanted to open a place where she could go and enjoy it".
He's living his life with no regrets and is a very happy family man. He keeps his friends close, and cares tremendously for his people and the people who work for him. He is hard-working, and dedicated to self-growth through reading and listening to Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Brian Tracy and more. The greatest challenge he found as an entrepreneur is funding and finding the right people. His advice for entrepreneurs is “Work for someone else before going on your own. Make mistakes on their dollar and give it your all. Work with passion - if you just go to work every day, you’re not working”.
Once the Delray location is stabilized, his vision is to open more museums throughout the country, including: Texas, Chicago, Las Vegas and more, and in Europe - Italy, to start. He collects the machines from all over the world, and his goal is to have 200 machines in each location. “The games are so rare. They are art that you can actually interact with”.
Opening the second museum in Delray Beach made sense: "Ausbury being 'City by the sea'. and Delray being 'Village by the sea', made the decision easy...and my parents live here",
You can try to catch Rob at the Silverball Pinball Museum when he's visiting town.