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Local entrepreneur brings ‘CLAWsome’ prizes to the community
Kou Thao, the founder of CLAWsome Prizes, proudly poses with one of his new arcade machines at Scoops in Delhi, one of six locations where the machines can be found (Photo contributed).

Name of business: CLAWsome Prizes

Type of business: Arcade games

Location: 209 Region

Contact information: or (209) 648-9312

Specialty: Claw machines


History of business:

As a fan of anime, Kawaii and other Asian pop culture, Delhi’s Kou Thao always wanted to share his interests with others in his community. Paired with his love of arcades and video games, he thought of the perfect idea to help achieve that goal: claw machines.

Last year, Thao began the process of researching and building his business, and in August, CLAWsome Prizes officially launched.

“It was a really long process,” Thao said. “I'm a big fan of comics, anime and this whole pop culture. I also love going to Comic Cons and arcades as I'm a big gamer. I wanted to bring and provide to the community my passion… Claw machines give something to the community that they can enjoy their time with.”

The first machine that Thao installed was at Oodles Frozen Yogurt in Modesto. Since then, five other local businesses have welcomed the unique machines into their spaces: Quickly in Turlock, Kung Fu Tea in both Turlock and Modesto, The Sweet Life bakery in Hilmar and Scoops in Delhi.

“From what I've been hearing from the business owners, a lot of the people actually really enjoy and like it,” Thao said. “A lot of the school kids. I hear a lot of the high schools, middle schoolers, they line up just to play the claw machines.”

According to Thao, the popularity of Asian-themed pop culture has skyrocketed across the globe.

“Just recently I've been noticing that the popularity has grown. There’s a lot of Comic Cons happening in their area, a lot of people are really into animes, even people you don't think would be interested,” Thao said.

The claw machines currently offer a wide array of plush toys of different Asian pop culture figures. Additionally, the machines will offer seasonal-themed prizes. For example, Halloween brought plushes such as joyful ghosts and grim reapers. As Christmas time approaches, many holiday-themed plushes will also make their debuts. Thao added that there will also be promotions at locations so that customers can win even bigger prizes.

“I'll have them take a picture at the business and with the machines, share it on social media, tag us, follow us, and then we'll put them in a raffle for drawing,” he said. “They can win even bigger plushes that don't fit in the machines.”

Thao believes that the machines and some of his planned promotions can also help bring attention and business to the host locations, something that he is incredibly passionate about.

“I run a small business so it’s important to me,” he said. “I think that's something I’m proud of, to promote and help the small businesses because I'm really advocate for the small businesses and local businesses.”

Currently, Thao is in talk to bring his machines to more locations, with the next expected to be in Manteca and Stockton. He asks that any businesses interested in to reach out to him through email, phone or through the contact page on his website,

To stay updated on new CLAWsome Prizes locations, new prizes and the latest promotions, Thao encourages community members to follow the business’ social media channels on Instagram at @ClawsomePrizes and Facebook at CLAWsome Prizes.