Can you guess the 2 most common questions we get at Matt’s Game Exchange? You would think being a retro game store it would be about older games or systems, but that is not the case. We are most often asked “Are you Matt?” and “How long have you been here?”
So, who is Matt? Well, he is the front man for our stores. As a kid growing up in California, Matt started with video games at the age of 4. He was too young to start school and wasn’t fond of going to the babysitter. Instead he hung out with dad in our video store renting movies and games. His title was Head Game Tester. Customers would come in looking for games and often wanted to know what he was playing or what games he liked, looking for something for their own kids. He quickly became our best saleman.
The first game he beat was Dragon Ball Z. I thought there was a glitch in the game when the credits were playing, but that was to be the first of many games he beat.
As the landscape of the movie rental business changed, we morphed fully into video games. We grew quickly with 8 employees and moved to a larger facility. Playstation 2 and Dreamcast were the systems of the day. Pokemon was pretty hot also. We carried retro as well as new games. We faced a lot of competition from Funco, Babbages, KB Toys, Electronic Boutique, and a handful of mom and pops. The retro industry has changed much since then.
We sold the store in California and moved to South Carolina in 2009 where our employee prospects were dismal. One evening as we were tossing around ideas of what we could do, video games came up. It was what we knew, but we had been out of it for a while so we had to start from scratch.
We started buying games and systems where we could: off of Craigslist, at flea markets, etc. We also started selling at flea markets. Even there we offered great customer service so people started seeking us out. We started seeing some customers regularly. As more and more people became aware of us, we moved to larger markets with more tables.
In November 2010 we opened a small store in Hartsville, SC. It was slow at first so we continued the flea markets on the weekends. But as word got out about us we really started growing. Matt ran that store while completing his degree in Business from Coker College.
In March 2014 we took another big leap and opened a second store in Florence, SC. We had no idea what was waiting for us but we are happy to report it was an instant success.In June 2015 we saw another major jump for Matt’s Game Exchange as we opened yet another store in Greensboro, NC. It is our largest location and is making quite a splash in the Triad area.
Matt still enjoys playing games, is an avid collector, and loves to share his passion and expertise with everyone he can. He is now the CEO of our corporation. Even though we are a corporation, we still enjoy being a family-run business promoting family values. We now employ 12 people, 6 of which are family members spanning 3 generations.