Gamestop to open shop in Warrenton
John David works on a monitor while Garrett David prepares to install speakers on the walls as Titan North America finishes building the inside of the new Gamestop video game store in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center in Warrenton. Photo by Randy Litzinger
Video game retail franchise Gamestop will be opening for business soon in Warrenton.
The store opens in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center near Starbucks. The franchise picked Warrenton after studying surveys in a member loyalty program called PowerUp Rewards, said district manager Marie Brownrigg.
“We felt that, you know what? We have a huge community of gamers and families with kids who had to drive a large distance to get to our stores,” Brownrigg said.
The closest Gamestops to Warrenton are in Gainesville (12 miles) and Culpeper (23 miles).
When the franchise expands in Warrenton, it will face two established retailers of video games: the Warrenton Walmart, recently upgraded to a 24-hour Super Center, and local franchise Press Start Games off Fletcher Drive.
These stores sell identical products. A copy of “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” plays the same no matter where a customer purchases it.
To thrive, game stores have to make themselves distinct through customer service , Brownrigg said.
Gamestop’s smaller store size encourages more one-on-one interaction between employees and clients, she said. Gamestop hired Warrenton residents to staff the store, she said.
“We wanted to make sure the community felt represented by their own people running the store,” Brownrigg said.
While Gamestop expands through the Northern Virginia and Piedmont areas, it feels pressure nationally as online markets for the digital distribution of games pick up steam.
In the most recent quarter, Gamestop reported $1.55 billion in sales, an 11 percent drop.
In response, Gamestop has had to diversify from a pure brick-and-mortar retailer, said Wendy Dominguez, corporate communications manager.
Since 2009, Gamestop has sold downloadable content (DLC) and PC downloads in-store and on their website , Dominguez said.
They bought Kongregate, a social media gaming website and are working on a service to “stream” content to consumers similar to how services like Netflix and Hulu stream video.
Gamestop also sells refurbished Apple products, like iPads, in its stores, Brownrigg said.
Steven Brill, manager of Press Start Video Games in Warrenton, had nothing bad to say about his new competition in town.
“We never down-talk our competition,” Brill said. “We don’t believe that is a good way to do business.”
Instead, Brill agreed that customer service is essential for video game retailers to thrive.
Press Start Video Games sells games and consoles from all generations, not just the current generation, Brill said. The store also hosts in-house tournaments and birthday parties.
They also let customers try out games in-store before they buy, Brill said.
“We believe that folks like to shop local, that there’s an appreciation for local business,” Brill said. “We also think that people really appreciate being able to come into a store and feel welcome and invited.”
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