Life has a tendency to be a winding road with many exits rather than be a straight shot to your destination. Hell, each exit on that windy road takes you to a different destination anyways so getting back on the first road may be difficult. Why the symbolism? If you asked me a year ago what my business plan was, I would have told you a very different story than the one today. A year ago, I wanted to build an Esports stadium in Savannah, Georgia and make it the Esports hub of the East Coast. Is that still the plan? Well sure, maybe it is...eventually. What about my plan the year before that? I wanted to open a gun range that included a MOUT Site to be used by government agencies for training. Grandiose plans that require a lot of money. Let us be practical here. There is a reason those plans never came to fruition but let's first look at where it all began.
Without boring anyone with the details, my first profession was in the Army as an Infantry Officer. I served in both the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 3rd Infantry Division. I went to schools and got cool badges. I did a lot of cool things and had the pleasure to lead some of America's heroes. It was an honor I would always do again but nearing my ninth year of service I ended up facing medical discharge following 3 surgeries that include a spinal fusion. As the date of retirement drew closer, I knew I needed to build a plan that would actually work. I knew I didn't want to get a 9-5 and I also knew I wanted to do something in the realm of gaming. So, what does a washed-up Soldier who loves gaming do? He starts a stream.
Immediately following my medical retirement from the Army, I started my streaming "career". I began on Twitch and opened a bunch of social media accounts to promote myself. I watched how to videos and even made some myself. I did everything I could to try and make it as a streamer and I really enjoyed the endeavor. I met a lot of people I never would have met otherwise and can now even call them friend. I built a small community, and everything was great...except for the money. I never reached to a level of monetary success needed to sustain a streaming career without having to hold a second job. I learned through trial and error that streaming couldn't be the base that I build my business on because it wasn't sustainable.
Taking a dose of humble pills, I took a night shift job to help pay bills and save some money to move to my next venture. What venture? I hadn't figured that out yet. As part of my streams, because I still was streaming at the time, I would open Pokémon cards. It was a cool idea from one of my community members and I figured I could build a collection for my son to enjoy when he becomes old enough. After a day of research, I learned how much the trading card industry has boomed since 2018. I learned the value of collecting cards and began doing research into the industry of trading cards and tabletop role playing games. I always thought this world was dominated by video games yet there is a large sample of people who prefer in person trading card games and tabletop games.
My mind went to my childhood, playing Yu-Gi-Oh at the local bookstore on weekends. I treasured those experiences. I started to build a plan to open my own game store. As the plan continued to develop, I gained support from friends and family. This idea began to start looking like a sustainable business goal. I started to seriously collect trading cards and began learning the games that so many people love. I began to look at this endeavor in an "out of the box" kind of way. Game stores are all over the place but what can I do that makes mine stand out. I began scoping out the other game stores within an hour driving distance. What were they doing to be successful? Some were better than others but none of them had anything to offer that the other didn't. Sure, they were obviously different stores, and one would specialize in a certain thing that another didn't, but nothing really stood out.
The brain trust began. Between me and my closest people, we confided in what we thought would be the best plan for a game store. We put together a plan to provide not just a store and location but an experience. I want every person to experience the WOW moment when they walk into the store, and I want that feeling to continue for months and years after. We built an aggressive marketing plan on top of it. At the time of writing this, I am moving into the store within days, so the plans are all coming together. No one outside of the brain trust knows anything. I look forward to meeting everyone that walks through my store's door, and I can't wait to execute the grand plan of Cerberus Legion Games. A plan that extends far beyond just one local game store. The Cerberus Legion Community will eventually spread across the United States. Be sure to check out the next blog post. I will be discussing the operations of the Cerberus Legion Games store in Richmond Hill, Ga and would love all the feedback possible.