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By Tristan Blake Rines | firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the newest members of the Radford business community, John Yamine, is the owner of Super Game Station located at 1109 East Main Street.
Super Game Station is a vintage game store that buys, sells, and trades videogame consoles, games, and apparel that opened its doors about a month ago. Yamine is no stranger to the small business owner lifestyle, previously owning a store in Roanoke and in the Blacksburg University Mall. His first location was from inside the family, with his mother owning property that he utilized in Roanoke.
Though Yamine was not always a business minded individual, he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in psychology and worked in a special needs group home; he also worked at a store called The Tech Exchange in Roanoke. This is where he would work with computers and even buy, sell, and trade videogames.
Yamine tells about his fascinatingly start in this business, “I used to collect videogames and still do, but not as much. But I had about 1,000 videogames, so I took 500 games and $500 and opened up a store in Roanoke.”
When asked about his favorite part of being a business owner Yamine responded, “I’m my own boss. I get to make all the calls.” videogames have been a passion of Yamine’s for a long time which helped inspire him to eventually open his own business, “The joke is that I came out of the womb with a Nintendo controller.”
Yet owning a business and maintaining it individually does take some hard work. “It seems I don’t have enough time to get everything done when the store is open. I have to be very attentive to the sales floor with people coming in.” It is a regular process for Yamine to get items ready for customers, “Getting everything ready for sale, processing all the stuff, it’s all used, its second hand, so I have to go through it, test it, and make sure it’s good.”
When it came to establishing the Super Game Station in Radford, Yamine happened to stumble upon a great scenario. With multiple game stores in Roanoke, Yamine sought to find a place where he would not have to compete heavily with established game stores, “The fact that there were five other specialty stores made it really hard.”
After moving to Blacksburg, Yamine expected excellent results for his business last May, but unfortunately, complications arose. “It was awful, it was super slow,” said Yamine. The result of slow business and a sub-lease went awry, Yamine was once again searching for a location come November of 2017.
After getting a tip from a friend about an area near Hank’s Drive-In, Yamine took a look but was displeased with the spot and the lack of communication with the property owner. Yamine then proceeded to stroll through East Main Street, “I was thirsty to re-open my store. I walked downtown and saw a ‘For Rent’ sign … and within two weeks, I had signed a lease for this spot.”
“I rushed into this one, but it was fortunate. This is a great spot, I definitely got lucky,” said Yamine reflecting on his past locations. “If I were to say open another location in the future, I would definitely do a bit more research … knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t tell anybody just to sign a lease without doing a little bit of research.”
The general target customer of Super Game Station is the gamer who values nostalgia. A game that reminds them of their childhood, and a simpler time. Some of these games and consoles are worth a pretty penny to collectors, and Yamine has tapped into that to establish his business.
“A lot of locals come by which is good because summers in a college town can be scary,” said Yamine. However, the diversity of the clientele is what has surprised him the most, “An 11-year-old bought Atari games the other day, and that was the youngest person I have ever sold Atari games too.” The age range so far has been anywhere from 5-50 years old Yamine stated.
Vintage gaming has remained among the gaming community, even with the popularity of Fortnite Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds currently in the spotlight of gamers all over the country.
Games like Super Mario and Pokémon have remained profitable for Yamine. “The Mario in the window probably does most of my marketing. That Mario is so important,” he said.
With his early popularity in Radford, John Yamine is hoping Super Game Station continues to be a profitable and popular mainstay in the community for years to come.
Photo Credit: (Tristan Blake Rines-Contributing Writer; Cover Photo was taken from Super Games Station’s Facebook page)