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Game Exchange

Game Exchange

Businessman Chris Runyan is not one to follow trends. In the downloadable online world, he built a successful brick and mortar business. And at a time when companies were moving out of state, he moved from Arkansas to Connecticut to do it.

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When Chris Runyan moved to Connecticut in 2009, he came with the intention of starting his own business. He said: “My goal was to have six stores on the ground in three years.”

The store Runyan wanted to open here is Game Xchange, which buys, sells and trades video games, movies and accessories. It is a franchise of sorts, with more than 50 stores nationwide, most of which are located in the Midwest and Southern United States. Runyan knew one of the company’s owners in Arkansas, and when his wife accepted a job in the Northeast, he had the idea to take the brand to a new area.

“Through that relationship, I knew the stores, how efficient they were, and their success and expansion,” Runyan said. “I needed something to do when I came to Connecticut, and I thought this was a good fit.”

The owners agreed, and Runyan bought the business. For any retail store, location is key to success, but when he got there, he had very little experience with the cities and towns of Connecticut. “I’ve traveled all over Connecticut for a long time,” Runyan said, “so now I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life.”

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In the south there can be long hours of driving between populated areas. But here, Runyan’s potential areas are much closer together. He chose Orange as the location for his first store and opened it in the spring of 2010. He found that being in the Northeast was no barrier to success. “Fortunately,” he said, “when I opened Orange, it grew into the top five, six stores in the entire Game Xchange.”

In recent years, the video rental business has moved almost entirely online, and game sales may be moving in that direction as well. Runyan says his customers have made the store the place to be for these items, and they come to check often. “I like to see people come into the store,” he said, “and not spend five or ten minutes just going in and grabbing something and leaving — but spending 30 minutes walking around the store walking and talking to the staff about the movie, it’s what’s coming out, or old movies that are classics. Games too.”

Enough customers found his business that he was able to achieve his goal — his sixth store in three years opened in Hamden last month, just as the Federal Small Business Administration named him the 2013 Connecticut Small Business Person of the Year. Now nearly 50 people work in the state. But initially, despite a business plan that proved solid, Runyan was turned down by every bank he approached.

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Buck Harris of the Connecticut State Investment Corporation said, “In the current market,” Harris said, “most banks won’t make a startup loan.” a house in the state is also credited to him. “He had property in Arkansas,” Harris added, “but nobody wants to tie a mortgage that lives in Arkansas to a loan that lives in Connecticut.” But CTCIC exists for exactly this kind of situation.

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“We’re really here as a safety net to catch businesses that might be doing what Chris did,” Harris said, “where we think it’s a good bet, even if it doesn’t fit the mold and criteria of banking not.” them, who worried that the banks were outweighed by other aspects of Runyan’s circumstances. His wife had a steady income from work, and he could use the store’s stock as collateral. Harris continued, “The other thing that Chris brought to the table is that in terms of character, he’s just clearly demonstrated that he understands his business model and that he’s going to work for the debt. So when we see that kind of fire in someone’s eye, and the smarts to go with it, then we know we have a great opportunity, and so we jump right into it.

CTCIC operated as part of a national microloan program covering loans of up to US$50,000. Interest rates that are currently over eight percent are higher than what a bank can offer you because of the added risk. But CTCIC also provides business analysis and support throughout the application process and repayment period. Harris said, “From marketing to financial planning, this type of free knowledge is critical to growing a small business. Chris Runyan is a good example; we gave him three or four different loans in different ways to help grow to increase his business.”

His ability to obtain these loans goes a long way in countering some of the more challenging aspects of doing business here in Connecticut.

Runyan said, “If I couldn’t do that, I might be sitting in three stores instead of six, to be honest.” Its costs are 25 to 30 percent higher than other Game Xchange stores nationwide, thanks to higher rent, utility and labor costs in Connecticut. But I don’t intend to stop growing here.

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Runyan isn’t sure which part of the state the next Game Xchange will be in, but he sees room for another six to 10 stores in Connecticut. He said: “If I stop, I won’t have any other way to promote my other guys, so if I keep growing at a rate of twice a year, it will allow the people who work for me to have a to have growth. road too and come with us.”

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Your donation today will enable us to continue this work on your behalf. Give any amount today and join 50,000 contributors who are building a better — and more civil — Connecticut to live, work and play. MERIDIAN, Miss. () – Meridian now has its own collection store. This is Game X Change located at 1216 N. Frontage Road. Drivers say it brought something really special to the Queen City.

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“It’s really exciting that we can have something like this where we can all get our collectibles, our comics and our plushies, whatever,” manager Anna Drinkwater said.

The store has games, comics, electronics, DVD movies, collectibles, and buys just about anything. Area Manager Rob Thomas said the best thing about this store is that almost everything in it is sourced locally.

“99% of the Pops we get actually come from customers. So many people have Pops, video games and accessories. They have so much stuff lying around that they don’t use, so bring it here, get store credit; get cash,” Thomas said.

“Oh my god, I haven’t seen this game in 10 years! It just turns me on. When someone brings a big box into the store, I just ask, what is it? You know, like a little kid,” Thomas said.

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Executives said the store is also meant to be a safe haven for comic book fans to “hang out”.

“Oh, it’s been two hours. We’re going to start talking about comics. We’re going to start a conversation about a video game adaptation of a comic book,” Thomas said.

“Also meet people who have the same interests as you. I was talking to someone the other day for about 30 minutes just about random franchises that we’ve done. So far it’s just been great to connect in this way,” said Drinkwater.

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Some people said that when they enter the bookstore, they feel the atmosphere of a blockbuster. The store is only open for five days.

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“It was almost non-stop. Yesterday, I think, was the first time we got some rest. But we were just crazy. Everyone came to look and shop,” said Drinkwater.

The store is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 21:00. and from 12:00 to 18:00. Sunday. Lifelong learning is a continuation of classes, books and theories. Centurion’s DNA is to provide multiple entry and exit ramps and stairs by adopting and adapting the National Credit System.

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