This Is Albuquerque: Gamers Anonymous

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1. What is your business philosophy?

Over the years, it’s really fine-tuned itself into one thing: community. Sure, we’re retail, but to prioritize the best interest of the community over all else is how to establish ourselves on a base of integrity. Do what you can to nurture the needs of your customers, and it will build itself successfully.

2. Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?

I’ve been here my whole life, and over many, many years, I’ve experienced a wide variety of video game stores that have come and gone. Some I’ve worked at, some I’ve shopped at, but they’ve all left an impact on me. I figure that if I could have such great experiences in Albuquerque with shops that have meant so much, why not continue the tradition to provide that to others who are here?

3. What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?

Money, while important to make sure that I’m able to sustain, isn’t my motivation. I don’t need to be rich to be happy, and if money were no issue, this is still what I’d be doing. The most important thing is that I love what I do. I have loved this industry my whole life, and to participate in people’s experience with it is my favorite thing to do.

4. What do you offer that the competition doesn’t?

A store is just a store until it has someone to run it with their entire heart, and I will gladly say that this is a store that is run entirely on passion. While the last thing I’m ever going to do is badmouth another business, we have been fortunate enough to be at the epicenter of our gaming community, to draw people in to our personality and experience, and to allow people’s interests and horizons to grow in a natural and effective manner

5. What was your biggest missed opportunity?

On a personal level? Working for Nintendo. I mean, it’s not to say it’s not in the cards someday, but not too long into this business venture I had the opportunity to take a job up in Redmond. With my business as a fledgling endeavor, I couldn’t abandon it so quickly, because there was just so much more waiting to happen. As it continued to grow, I realized how much work I had put in and decided to keep it going. Someday, I’d still like that opportunity, but right now, I’m still watering my own garden.

6. In what area of your business do you invest the most energy?

Keeping the gears turning. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that there is no greater joy than keeping everything running under the hood so that people can come in an experience a seamless experience from retail to enjoyment. Community management is probably what I focus on the most, so I try to keep on top of communication, art assets and miscellaneous merchandise that celebrates the community as a whole.

7. What words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting their own business?

It will be hard. It will take everything you’ve got. If you believe in it, however, it will be worth every last bit of your soul that you pour into it. There are a lot of technical things to consider to keep your ducks in a row, but if you nurture your shop with integrity and love, it will come back. What is most important is to see what works, but to make it your own. If you want to succeed, you can’t simply copy. What you copy is already out there. Offer an experience that cannot be found anywhere else.

8. What’s your favorite saying or quotation?

“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.”

Satoru Iwata

9. If there is one thing about Albuquerque or New Mexico that you could change, what would it be?

I couldn’t change this city. The city is what it is. I couldn’t change the people, as they are who they are, and they do what they feel they need to. This is a beautiful place to live, and I am in a position where there are uphill battles to fight, and I couldn’t possibly blame the people or city for that, but I can choose to do everything in my power to make this city—and the people’s experience—better. If I can’t change anything outside of myself, I will change how much I put into everything around me.

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