Replay looks forward to expansion | News, Sports, Jobs

ABOVE: Jen and John Duderstadt of Replay plan to relocate their game store from 207 to 205 Downtown Plaza in Fairmont. With the bigger space, there are plans to offer more.

FAIRMONT– Replay, a buy-sell-trade game store located at 207 Downtown Plaza, is expanding its offerings, and space, by swapping locations with Gemini Studios at 205. The change will take place at the end of this month.

John Duderstadt opened Replay in 2018. He said the business did really well the first two years. The store would host tournaments for games like Mario Kart, Mortal Kombat and Wii sports. Initially the tournaments saw good attendance.

However, John said that Covid changed their business model and they haven’t been able to hold the tournaments since. While the store, like so many others, was closed during the height of the pandemic, it did well upon re-opening.

“It was a boom when we re-opened. Like other markets, we went up,” John said.

An article from Bloomberg said that the video game industry could be one of the greatest beneficiaries of the pandemic, growing 23 precent in 2020 from the year prior.

“I think a lot of people sitting home with their kids had free time on their hands,” John said.

Another big part of the boom, and Replay, is nostalgia.

Replay specializes in retro games. They have some games from the 1970s and 80s, like Pong. John also said anything Mario related is popular and they have some of the original games from older consoles like Nintendo 64.

“I’m surprised people continue to look for Wiis and controllers and games for Wiis. It’s a 12, 13 year old system,” John said.

Moving forward, Replay plans to continue to focus on retro games and older games. John said that while the current trend is downloadable games, there are still people who appreciate the physical copies and the interaction that’s involved.

“Plus we can’t compete with big box stores,” Jen Duderstadt said.

However, they have a special niche and have plans for the future when they swap locations with Gemini. Jen wanted to make it clear that her parents, Bruce and Shelly Abitz of Gemini Studios, are staying in business and that the Softball Association in Gemini’s basement will remain where it’s at.

“They’re not retiring, but there’s so much more space over there that they don’t necessarily need anymore,” John said.

And Replay could utilize the space.

“We want to expand so that we can bring people in. We want to have tables and have time for people to come play retro board games, card games or Dungeons and Dragons,” Jen said.

She said they also have a good amount of retro toys and would like to host a toy show in the future. With the space they’re also open to people having birthday parties or other events inside the store.

“The original plan was to be more interactive with tournaments. People are always looking for things to do. Tournaments bring in people. They can go to Jake’s, have some pizza and then come in and play,” John said.

He said when Replay was just getting started it was fun to see kids and adults paying games together and having a good time.

“It’s something different. We don’t want to be thought of as solely a used video game store. We want to branch out,” Jen said.

While they’re proud of their retro offerings, Replay offers a large variety of games, controllers, consoles, toys, posters, electronics and some music items like guitar strings, picks and reeds.

Their business model is buy-sell-trade for cash or store credit. They also have gift cards and hope to have an online store in the future.

John said they’ll clean everything up and in some cases even disassemble consoles to clean them. Though it’s time consuming, it’s important to them to offer clean like-new games and products for customers.

Moving forward they plan to expand repairs on broken items. John said they do some minor repairs now but are hoping to be able to do more.

“We have a grave yard, I call it. Just a wall of broken stuff that’s on my good intention list,” John said with a laugh.

Replay is a unique business not just to Fairmont, but the surrounding communities as there’s not a store like it within 60 miles.

“It’s a nostalgia thing. But the original business plan and future goal is to bring people together doing something they enjoy,” John said.

Replay is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. On Saturday the 28th they’ll close to move and each business will re-open on June 2 in their new locations.

Jen said it’s likely they’ll do something special for their re-opening at the new location. She suggested people keep an eye on their Facebook page: Replay- Video Games, Electronics & More.

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