Game World Inc. has doubled its number of stores, from four to eight, since last year and has plans to continue expanding, says owner Matt McKerall.
“We’ve been able to expand a lot of product lines, and business has been going strong, so I’m just trying to take that opportunity to further expand while it makes sense,” McKerall says.
The Spokane-based independent video game retailer expanded by opening three stores in 2022—one in Monterey, California, near the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center; one at Fairchild Air Force Base; and another at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, near Lakewood, Washington. Its eighth store opened this year at Travis Air Force Base, near Fairfield, California.
Game World also has plans to open an electronics repair store next month on East Sprague Avenue, in Spokane, McKerall says.
“One of the areas that I’ve noticed there’s been a lot of growth for us is with console repair,” he says. “It seems like as the economy is getting more challenging, people are more likely to repair their broken products, versus buying new.”
Game World opened its first store in Barstow, California in 1999; its second store in Spokane Valley in 2012; a north Spokane store in 2014; and its fourth store in 2015 at Fort Irwin, which is home to the U.S. Army National Training Center in California’s Mojave Desert, near Barstow.
The expansion efforts are expected to continue beyond the four new stores, McKerall says.
“We are considering Coeur d’Alene and Tri-Cities, as well as some other base locations,” he says.
After GameStop, a national video game retailer, closed its Fort Irwin location, McKerall was approached by the U.S. Army to open a Game World store at the base.
“They were looking for something that would serve that need out there, knowing that it’s very isolated and very boring,” he says.
McKerall says he thought the market for his products would be strong at Fort Irwin, so he agreed to open a location there. Success with the Fort Irwin store led to invitations to open stores at other military bases.
“When looking at demographics within the military, when you’re looking at foreign language and anything relating to technology, it definitely has more of a nerd crowd, so it’s the perfect fit,” McKerall says.
Game World sells new and used video games and video game consoles, movies, board games, trading cards, Japanese anime products, posters, and a variety of other collectable items.
“My store is … a video game store, mixed with a hobby store, mixed with an anime store, McKerall says. “It definitely covers the bases when it comes to gaming culture.”
Trade-in options for cash or in-store credit are also available at Game World, he says.
McKerall, who is now 45, says his passion for video games began as a kid.
“I started playing video games back in the Atari days,” he says. “That was my hobby, before it was trendy.”
At 15 years old, McKerall convinced his dad to loan him $1,000 to buy a video game booth at a local swap meet, he says. He sold games at the outdoor market throughout his high school and early-college days.
After attending college and earning his Master of Business Administration, McKerall decided to return to his earlier interest and open Game World, he says.
“The longer I sell games, the more I realize I still have a strong passion for it,” he says.
Despite the video game industry being impacted by the digitalization of games through online marketplaces since he first opened Game World, McKerall says he has been able to continue adapting and adding more products that complement what he already sells.
“You have to give people a reason to get out and shop,” he says. “You can literally buy anything online, but you can’t replace the human element. There’s still something important about being able to physically go touch product and be able to interact with people.”
Game World has about 20 employees between its eight locations.
Beginning this October, Game World will start holding competitive and casual video game, board game, and card game tournaments at its Spokane Valley store, McKerall says.
After more than four years of business, Lucky You Lounge, the Spokane restaurant, nightclub, and event venue located at 1801 W. Sunset Blvd., will close its doors at the end of August, according to an announcement made on the company’s Facebook page.
The post asks for those who have purchased tickets for upcoming shows at Lucky You Lounge to check out their website for updates regarding show locations and ticket information.
Shiki Hibachi Sushi held a grand opening event for its first Spokane restaurant earlier this month, according to a Downtown Spokane Partnership press release. The Walla Walla, Washington-based eatery is located on the ground floor of River Park Square. Shiki Hibachi Sushi operates four other restaurants, including one in Coeur d’Alene.
Liberty Lake Wine Cellars has been named a 2023 Washington Winery of the Year by the Washington state Wine Awards 2023 awards program, according to a Liberty Lake Wine Cellars press release. This recognition comes as a result of the winery earning nine gold medals in the 2023 Seattle Wine Awards competition, the release says. Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is located at 23110 E. Knox, in Liberty Lake.
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