A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
What: Game Doc, Woodinville
Who: David Huether, 60, chairman.
Mission: To create a franchise that successfully creates a hospitable, successful video-game environment.
Shop ’til you drop: The company will enter the fray with three Gamer Doc stores in the next few months in Orange County, Calif., and Florida. A Woodinville outlet, adjacent to the company’s headquarters, is also imminent. Plans are to open up to 20 locations by the end of 2008, and to offer sales, rentals and downloads of the most popular and exciting games.
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Families playing together: Huether said games are thriving and will soon become the major platform for family interaction, supplanting TV. He tells of a recent evening when his mother, son and grandchild all came over for a game of bowling. “We had a great evening with four generations enjoying the same activity,” Huether said. “People get really involved. Families play a tennis game, and the next day they all wake up with sore arms.”
Financials: Huether has worked with venture funds before but decided to self-finance the company, which he said is already profitable. It costs from $180,000 to $200,000 to open a store, which includes all franchise fees and inventory. “It’s a pretty attractive financial opportunity,” Huether said. “A third of everyone in the country has some kind of video-game console, and this tremendous market will continue to grow at a considerable rate.”
Like Starbucks?: Gamer Doc stores, which will be in free-standing shopping centers rather than in malls, is attempting to add a chapter to another modern success story. “We aren’t just selling product,” Huether said. “We are hoping to be like Starbucks and provide a unique customer experience. And we want people to feel comfortable and involved when they visit the store.”
— Charles Bermant