Call it an achievment unlocked. Game On, a local small video game retailer, has won national recognition for their unique business model.
Owners and married couple Casey and Emily Harris found out about the award in late March. Game On beat out 1,100 entrants to become one of two Alaska businesses nominated for the national SCORE Small Business Champions competition.
“We were elated,” when they found out, Casey Harris said.
Game On was selected by community voting and had the highest per-capita voting of any entrant, Casey Harris said, with something like 1,800 votes in Juneau.
The young owners — both are just 28 — will travel in April to Reno, Nevada, to meet with the 102 other champions from across the country. There, they’ll receive training and mentoring from business professionals and compete to become one of three grand champions, which comes with a $15,000 prize.
SCORE awards are given to successful small businesses with ambitions to help their communities. Game On has scored on both of those fronts.
In their first full year of operation, the used video game business has generated $100,000 in sales with a net profit of 13 percent, according to SCORE.
Game On has operated with an eye toward cultivating an inclusive video game community in Juneau, Casey Harris said. The Harrises are both non-binary, meaning they don’t identify with traditional male-female gender categories. They hope to encourage a diverse crowd to get into gaming, which can sometimes encourage bigoted viewpoints, Casey Harris said.
To fight bigotry in gaming, they work hard to encourage anyone, especially members of the LGBTQ community, to feel like they’re welcome in the gaming community.
“We’ve got a sign on our window telling everyone that this is a place of diversity,” he said. “If you are not comfortable with that, you should probably shop elsewhere.”