Next Price storefront to go dark: GameHub
School, other work projects create too many conflicts
After three years of providing opportunities to capture the flag, conquer the world, save the princess and be a superhero, the games came to an end in Price last week.
Last week the Game Hub, on the corner of 100 North and 300 East, shut the doors to the business for good.
Co-owner Troy Olson said the business became difficult to operate while going back and forth from school at USU Logan to Price on a regular basis. And with the lease on the building coming up, Olson and co-owners Kevin Johnson and Daren Gardner made the decision to close down the business.
"It was hard to see the faces and the reactions of the kids when we told them we were shutting down," said Olson. "We wanted to keep the business open but school was just making it too difficult to do so."
The Game Hub is the second local business to shut its doors over the past week. Last week, Wild Cats Lingerie, 39 W. Main Street, announced they would be closing down effective the end of February.
Olson, Johnson and Gardner got the idea of starting a game store because for a long time they were Halo pro-teamers, traveling from tournament to tournament. A game store seemed like a great idea. And one in Price that offers everything is almost ideal.
Both Olson and Johnson said the business, which sold new and used video games, comic books, offered computer repair, had televisions and multiple game systems set up for play after school and more, was a viable business despite being in a smaller area. For those residents driving by the business, bikes would be seen parked out front of the building as the youth inside would play games of all kinds for hours in a safe and controlled environment.
Before moving to its current location, the Game Hub originally opened in the Wix Plaza back in 2010. While the size of the location was small and not easily noticeable driving by, Johnson said kids started coming by in sizable numbers. That necessitated the move to a bigger building.
"We were packed in there pretty tight with everything," Johnson said. "Word of mouth began to quickly spread about the business and soon we got a lot of people to come over there."
The Game Hub also hosted regular tournament with video games, including Super Smash Brothers and Magic: The Gathering card game. They also held a few Friday Night Lock-ins which ran from midnight on Friday night and went til 7 a.m. on Saturday morning.
While teenagers and younger kids could play video games in an environment with their friends, Johnson said the business became not only a place to play games, but also to just hang out.
"It was nice to provide a business and a place like the Game Hub to the community for kids to hang out," Johnson explained. "It was just a fun place to be."
With the business able to survive for over three years, Johnson said possible changes in the video game industry concerning used games could have created difficulties down the road. Discussion in the gaming world has looked into the idea of only allowing games to work on one console after the first use, effectively destroying the used game market. While the idea is controversial among gamers, another issue facing a business like the Game Hub is the ability to download games through online marketplaces.
"The writing's on the wall with used games," Johnson said. "The video game industry is pushing away from having used games out there. Our business could continue to survive but it would become very difficult in a few years."
Both Olson and Johnson said the business has helped both of them grow as entrepreneurs and as people.
"It was extremely educational and very rewarding," said Johnson. "We learned a lot about running a small business. We did some things right and we did some things wrong. But overall it's helped teach me about what I want to do with my life."
"There were a lot of great times and I loved bringing a business to Price," said Olson. "It's a little bittersweet right now because I didn't want to close down the business."
Olson said they are in the process of trying to sell the equipment in the building, including the cases and other office supplies. On the windows of the building, they are advertising selling DVDs, video games and other materials at discounts.
Johnson said while closing the business was tough, they showed that a unique business like the Game Hub could survive and thrive in a smaller area like Price compared to a bigger area like Salt Lake City.
"We helped bring a special brand to the area and it was a fun time doing that," Johnson said.