Local Game Store Seeks Bright Future Amid Expansion | Local news

On November 7, 2016, Purple Fox Games opened on Market Street in Meadville, a tabletop game store stuck in a 700 square foot space.

Just under five years later, the company is celebrating an expansion that has more than quadruple the size from where it started.

Purple Fox Games, now located at 209 Chestnut St., is having a big reopening celebration until Sunday to commemorate its newly added space. The store was able to rent a unit next to it previously occupied by Travaglini Enterprises, adding 1,200 square feet of additional space to its existing 1,890 square feet.

For owner Andrew Giles, the expansion is something he’s been looking forward to for a long time.

“The last expansion was something needed to be done,” said Giles. “It was something we wanted to do for the past couple of years, and eventually the finances and the schedule worked and we were able to expand sideways into another space next to us, rather than moving elsewhere.”

The next section of the store was dedicated to hosting gaming tables, allowing customers to enter and enjoy the games they purchased from Purple Fox Games retail. The benefit of moving the play space into its own section is twofold, as Giles said it allows him to host larger events and have more room for products in the storefront.

For a company that has yet to celebrate its fifth anniversary and is owned by a new business owner, this has represented significant growth for Giles. While he had planned to move to a larger space from the Market Street location relatively early in the life of the business, he said most game stores never change location or can only do so. do only once.

“I didn’t expect it to go so fast,” he said of the expansion.

Owning his own game store has been a long-standing dream for Giles. Growing up, he was immersed in many niche and obscure board games that his parents owned. He remembers titles like “The Omega Virus” and “Nightmare”, far from the usual Monopoly or Yahtzee lineup that most families typically own.

Combine that with an interest in collectible card games, and Giles knew pretty early on what he wanted to do with his life.

“There has always been this kind of commercial ambition,” he said. “I remember going to high school, preparing to graduate in 2011, and spending a rainy Sunday walking around town, looking at empty stores and imagining what a grocery store would look like. games there. “

Before starting his own store, Giles went to work for another game store called Myriad Games in New Hampshire in 2014. The lessons he learned there were invaluable when he started Purple Fox.

“I am fortunate to have been able to be hired in this company because it allowed me to make some of the mistakes necessary to help me avoid the pitfalls of opening a business myself”, a- he declared.

Giles learned about the many different genres and varieties of games, as well as how to create a community of customers who play them.

Giles was then promoted to director of one of Myriad Games’ locations, which allowed him to learn more about accounting, inventory management, and employee management.

However, perhaps one of the most valuable experiences he has had there was pure fluke. A client from Florida who once had his own game store visited Myriad Games and offered Giles – who was considering returning to his Meadville home and starting his own store – advice that had a profound impact.

“I told him about the idea of ​​doing it myself and moving, and I explained to him that I knew we were going to be downsizing soon and had to move on in my life, and he said “You know more than you think you do, and you should go because you will surprise yourself,” Giles said. “And he was absolutely right.”

After getting the money from the initial investment of a GoFundMe and during the events of the second Saturday in Meadville, Giles was able to secure the capital to start Purple Fox Games and the rest, as they say, is history.

Meadville Mayor LeRoy Stearns congratulated Giles on the recent expansion.

“I think any business that can grow and serve the community and their customers is fantastic,” Stearns said. “It shows a good business move and I’m really happy that business is going so well for him.”

While the pandemic has certainly taken its toll on many businesses and he worries about the impacts of the delta variant, Stearns noted that several storefronts in Meadville may have expanded or moved into larger spaces during the pandemic, citing Indigo Boutique and Botanica as an example.

Giles, for his part, was surprised at Purple Fox Games’ ability to weather the pandemic, especially since hosting events accounted for around 25-30% of its business. The drop in interest rates caused by the pandemic is one of the things that made him seriously consider expansion, and he said fears over whether the store would be able to continue after it closed in the During the first few months of COVID-19 were rapidly waning.

“It’s something that I always try to reflect on because it seems so strange,” Giles said of the store’s resilience. “It’s probably an excessive coincidence that at a time when so many other businesses unfortunately had to close and the owners who owned them had to turn their lives around, we were able to double and grow so quickly and with confidence.”

Either way, he sees a bright future with the extra store space.

“I am very excited to be turning a new chapter in the business, and that is really what it sounds like,” he said.

Giles said he plans to use the additional retail area to import products from Games Workshop, the company that produces the “hugely popular game” Warhammer 40,000.

Meanwhile, the store will be celebrating its grand reopening with discounts on many of the store’s items through Sunday. A celebration of the store’s fifth anniversary on November 7 is also in the works.

Sean P. Ray can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at sray@meadvilletribune.com.