By Ryan Sherer
GAMER Started in 2010 by two very ambitious brothers, the goal was to provide a kick ass video game store! In 2013 that dream ended with only one brother left in the company and a video game store left in pieces, this is the story of GAMER VGA!
I remember it like it was yesterday, early in February of 2010 our mother came to us and sat us both down, telling us that we had been unemployed way to long and needed to do something with ourselves. In a nutshell the conversation led to her telling us we should start a business together and she had someone to finance us. The very first idea from our wonderful mother was that we should start an oil changing business but left it up to us. I had done plenty of business plans in both college and the real world and this would be my second business, so the business idea and plan was left up to me. I sat down at my desk in my home office and began to think of ideas when it hit me, what about a video game store that could cater to collectors and people looking for custom items and tournaments. I spent some time researching numbers, economy and interest in Findlay, OH. I started to write the plan as it came natural and everything flowed together like it was meant to be. My vision flowed onto the paper as I got more and more excited, in the end my vision came out to costing $45,000 to start. My brother and I got together and went over everything and he agreed that it would work so we went back and submitted our business plan, we did not expect what was to come. We were told that we did an amazing job putting everything together and as good as everything looked the person backing us was not going to do an initial investment that high and counter offered us $10,000 and to run with it if we could do so, we did after a lot of debate!
It was February before we got started on anything physically but it felt like a special time and it was. It was cold like Ohio usually is in February and the snow was still falling in big flakes as we first entered our first building, looking at the pearl white walls and an empty room with awe, like an artist staring at a clean slate. It did not take long before the plastic was laid and the primer buckets came open to fill the paint trays as we dipped our rollers in to start our journey. I’m not going to lie, that time was probably one of the hardest times I ever had at GAMER, my brother and I spent three days pulling 16 hrs. a day to get the walls primered, it was a big feat for us both and we sighed when it was done. Shortly after that things started to move faster and faster, customers started to realize what was going on as they started popping in asking questions, it made us see we were right and thought we had a very bright future ahead, little did we know that we would struggle for the remainder of our time in business.
We pushed through all the painting and construction it took to get GAMER open and finally opened our doors on April 27th 2010, we had 125 games on the wall, very few systems, a small section of strategy guides and some new games behind the counter. It was within the first month that we had a flood of retro trades and so many compliments on the aesthetics of the store, we were happy, we started a business and things were running like they were support to, but soon we would learn our first big lesson in the business. We amassed great sales in April and May, while still retaining some of our initial investment, things were good. June hit and we went from great sales and awesome trades to people coming in for cash more than anything, by the end of June we had to have a meeting and came to the conclusion that if we were to continue giving cash that we would be bankrupt by August, so we decided to cut out giving cash and store policy became trade in only! It would be a decision that would both help us and hurt us in the long run but no matter the outcome we had to change it or go out of business, something customers would never understand. My brother and I spent the next two months sitting at the store together for 12 hrs. a day and getting phone calls and walk ins for cash or people looking for work, sales were next to none and we were getting frustrated.
In September of 2010 we had a mutual friend that introduced us to Magic, it would end up being what carried the store through some rough times and introduce us to people we got to become great friends with, it also allowed us to sustain business and broaden our scope.
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