KDM Local - The Evolution of the Gaming Hub
March 3rd, 2020,
We often get asked by residents of the area "It always looks so busy through your window, what is going on in there?". We gleefully give our response "This is what we're all about. Community gaming, socialising and doing the thing we love and enjoy whilst also offering benefits to those in our locality, giving them a place to hang-out, make friends and form social networks we hope will last a lifetime."
When it comes to talking about the subliminal -or sometimes more noticeable- benefits the Gaming Hub offers to Mid Wales, we take great pride in what has evolved over the last 5 (almost six!) years. From a simple notion of utilising an oft underused part of our other shop (the basement area of the Newsagent, check the pictures below) and stocking Magic the Gathering and a few Dungeons and Dragons peripherals, to the explosion to a dedicated gaming shop packed to the rim with consoles, games, board games, trading cards, games workshop and more!
It's a been a slow, laborious effort, very long nights of bespoke work to get what we wanted from the space available, but a totally worthwhile endeavor for our family and staff. Over the years, as we invested more money and time into the venture, things evolved slowly but the first 2 weeks prior to opening were a crazy merge of excitement and grind! As you can see below the blank canvass we were presented with took some effort to get where we wanted, especially in the two back rooms which now house our Console Zones.
This wasn't a "whim" or "punt" this was a calculated effort financially to ensure we brought a sustainable business to the town, brought employment (we now have 16 employees across both shops!) and give opportunities to volunteers, a place to socialise, a place to run gaming clubs and be a big part of a "scene". But it also needed "demand", this was pushed over the years preceding in a way that led to something we hadn't initially intended. It quickly (within the first year) became apparent that it was the social scenes of each respective club that grew faster than the retail side did. The Games Workshop, Model Club, Friday Night Magic, Youth & Family Gaming, Console Sessions, Coding Clubs, Board Game Club...all those differing elements of gaming coming together, as a collective, and taking "ownership" over the entire project in the most positive way imaginable.
Thereafter we curved off our initial business plan of a designated retail space, but came-up with this hybrid notion of a "place to game that sold stuff too", and that is how we evolved to where we are now. A thriving community side and a thriving retail side working in harmony to create a sustainable business.
Our current schedule of events are testament to the demand. To have somewhere like this in Mid Wales is a real coup, if you check our online reviews and appraisals its from people all over the UK that would "dream" of a place like the Gaming Hub near them. Thus having it attached to a successful business model gives scope to firstly sustain, which we have done and secondly grow, which is what our next step is. As we enter our 3rd year at the designated Gaming Hub, it's quickly becoming apparent we are now "growing" again to another level, our numbers at every event are up, our space is filling fast and the "community" that's been built has exploded into the 100s of users across all our sessions combined. It's an amazing place, we are proud of it, the town is proud of it and the users are also very proud of it.
From here we'll keep looking to grow our ideas, our popular sessions sustain and it enables us to test new things. We have just evolved again to host "Autism Sessions", a gaming session we hope to make more accommodating to people on the spectrum, their family and friends. Keep checking the blog as we grow, in store and online with a burgeoning ESport section led by Monday Night Fights (an online Mortal Kombat 11 scene which has grown fast in the recent months). As well as Magic Arena and Magic Online Twitch Streams.
Much love and thank you, one an all, for joining us on this journey.