Local Store Celebrates 10 Years of Gaming!
In today's world, any and every milestone needs to be recognized and celebrated! That's why when I heard how local video game store, 1UP Games just marked their 10th anniversary in Yakima, I was blown away! It seemed just like yesterday that I walked into their small hallway like room in their former location on Washington ave. It was small, and being a bigger guy, I tried really hard to not knock stuff off the shelves as I scoured their shelves for a "new to me" Xbox 360 game! 10 Years later, the store is a shopping mall to nerds, video game junkies, and collectors from all over the valley!
1UP Games is owned and operated by Alex Smith, who opened his first location inside a little antique mall called Smith's Marketplace in Richland, Wa. He moved to Yakima after meeting his wife, Cayla (who owns Wink Eyelash Studio here in Yakima), while playing poker. When it came time to move for love, which business would be easier to pack up & re-locate? It was an easier and more logical answer for 1UP to come to Yakima! I'm thankful it did!
1UP Games has definitely grown since being in Yakima, moving from location to location, each one getting bigger and bigger! The store now resides on the corner of Nob Hill blvd. & 24th ave. Alex credits the growth to the people. "Yakima gives off much more of a small town vibe where I actually know so many of my customers personally. Tri-Cities is a wonderful place but just like in Seattle everyone is moving at a faster pace."
Some of the obstacles that Alex has had through out the 10 years in Yakima has been, simply enough, the location! "We struck gold with our current location as it's substantially bigger than our last store and we finally have a private bathroom!" In a time where the pandemic has hit small businesses especially hard, 1UP hasn't come out unscathed, "Getting inventory, due to shortages, shipping delays, restrictions, and just less people out and about selling items." Now that life is getting back to normal, much like Mario with a "starman" power up, the store is playing with full power!
1UP Games not only deals with collectables and current generation gaming, but a big part of the store's appeal is the "retro" gaming. "When a person comes in and asks for an obscure game they played as a child, and we have it, it brings so much joy into a person's life to relive those treasured memories. Also when we get to help parents and grandparents check of Christmas lists and help with recommendations it's a pretty great feeling."
Since 1UP Games is celebrating it's 10 Year Anniversary of opening shop, what does the future hold for the Video Gaming Goliath here in Yakima? "We currently have a 5 year lease in our location and I plan on extending that after it runs through. I don't really see us needing more room than we currently have. Possibly opening a small store in Ellensburg or Selah might be a neat idea. But considering I currently have two children under the age of 3 I'll probably just focus on the one store I currently have." If it ain't broke don't fix it! Check out 1UP Games on facebook & happy gaming!