Video game retailer Lorenzo Andrade followed his heart and his love of games in opening his new store in Belleville. Gamez Unleashed has video games, new and old. He recently talked to business reporter Will Buss about his experience.
Q. What does your store carry?
A. "We carry all of the game-console systems, XBox, PlayStation, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP, those hand-held portable systems ... We also carry old-school systems, retro systems, anything for Nintendo, Genesis, the first Playstation, Nintendo 64."
Q. Do you buy and sell?
A. "We take trade-ins for all of those game systems. You can take an old Sega game or Genesis XBox 360 game and come in and trade it in for a store credit. Our store also lets you try out the games before you buy them. We have six stations set up in store where you can try out any game. We have portable systems where people can test out."
Q. When did you open for business?
A. "Opened on the ninth of June, for about a month."
Q. What lead you to establishing the store?
A. "Basically, I kind of came up with the idea of doing a store. I had been interested in movies and the video game industry. I lived in L.A. and was working in the film industry doing international sales, then international distribution of films more or less around the world. After a while, I wasn't as into movies. I have always been passionate about video games, and my friends said that I needed to get involved in the video game industry. I came up with the idea of opening a store out here. My family lives in St. Louis, and I was looking to move and be back home and with family. It is a lot more cost-effective here, and that is kind how it all came together."
Q. How has have consumers responded?
A. "It's been great. We've had a lot of repeat customers already. Our prices are very competitive with the used prices. What they will find are the new price with retailers are pretty much the same across the board in many stores. We interact with customers we treat everybody well."
Q. What games do you like most?
A. "I get really absorbed into good role-playing games. I actually like to play the fighting games. I like 'Halo' and other games like 'Street Fighter' or racing games, like 'Mario Cart.' It depends on your mood and the time you have and what you want to commit to it."
Q. What goals do you have for your business?
A. "My mandate for the store has been that I really wanted it to be a place that where everyone feels welcome. Everyone can have fun. A lot of game stores I've been to throughout my life, you go in they don't say 'hi' to you. I want this to be a place that is fun and hospitable, where people enjoy coming to store and asking questions and trying games out. We'll also have tournaments. I think people like that."