Strategic Moves: How The Adventure Guild Game Shop Leveled Up with PCAP

Jason and Angie, owners of the Adventure Guild, smiling in their building.

Summary

Nestled in Tucker County's Thomas, The Adventure Guild Game Shop has transformed an old bank building into a gaming haven. Founded by Jason and Angie Downs, the shop caters to board game enthusiasts of all levels, boasting private gaming rooms and a Game Café. To enhance their web presence, they turned to Partner Community Capital (PCAP) and its Recreational Economies Initiative (WV REI). With the support of PCAP advisor Marti Jefferson, they secured funding for a website, connecting with gamers worldwide. This partnership exemplifies how strategic alliances can turn visions into reality for small businesses in West Virginia's thriving tourism sector.

Situated among the shops on East Avenue, or “Front Street” as it is known locally, an old bank building has been transformed into a world leading to many realms. Jason and Angie Downs founded The Adventure Guild Game Shop knowing their business would be one-of-a-kind in Tucker County, West Virginia’s town of Thomas.

 

“Our vision was to provide an inviting space for board game enthusiasts of all levels and ages, locals and tourists” said Jason, who was born and raised in Tucker County.

“We moved from a place that had an amazing game shop that we loved very much and wanted to bring what we loved at that shop to The Adventure Guild,” explained Angie, who relocated to Tucker County with Jason from the Pacific Northwest in July 2022.

In the late summer of 2023, the store opened for business. The Adventure Guild Game Shop features two private gaming rooms, The Guild Hall and The Vault, and a Game Café where visitors can rent games from the shop’s collection.

“We knew that our largest customer base would come from out-of-town visitors and explored that in detail while writing our business plan,” said Angie.

Folks coming from outside Thomas’ population of just over 600 meant the couple knew they needed a strong web presence that would allow anyone from anywhere to learn about the shop and plan their visit.

“We wanted to make sure traveling visitors, as well as locals, could easily find information about our game shop and upcoming events. So, a well-crafted, professional website was going to be imperative to our business,” Angie said.

That is where Partner Community Capital (PCAP) came in. As a Community Development Financial Institution, PCAP supports small businesses through loans and technical assistance programs.

Through PCAP’s Recreational Economies Initiative (WV REI) for West Virginia, small businesses engaged in the state’s tourism and recreational economy can apply for assistance to finance a variety of business needs. For Angie and Jason, this meant they were able to access the resources they needed to launch a website and attract even more board gamers and hobbyists to Thomas.

“Our website is the gateway for board gamers to discover our unique offerings and plan their visit. It is a crucial tool for connecting with our customer base,” Angie said.

Marti Jefferson, who works with PCAP as a business advisor as part of the WV REI program, understands the key role that relationships play when it comes to small-business growth.

“We feel grateful for Marti Jefferson’s help. Not only did she read our business plan draft several times during the loan application process, but when she saw we budgeted funds for website design, she informed us of the PCAP grant for technology support. I immediately applied. We would not have gotten the grant without Marti’s support,” Angie explained.

 

“Through WV REI, we were able to work with Angie and Jason to financially support the design of their website. We know that success is easier when we work together, and we strive to establish relationships with our business owners, so they feel supported in finding success,” Jefferson said.

“Through WV REI, we were able to work with Angie and Jason to financially support the design of their website. We know that success is easier when we work together, and we strive to establish relationships with our business owners, so they feel supported in finding success,” Jefferson said.

The WV REI program is supported by PCAP, Woodlands Development and Lending, and the West Virginia Department of Tourism, along with a robust network of community partners working with tourism and recreation-related businesses to provide advisory services and organizational development assistance. This support includes:

  • In-house business advisory services – High-quality support for tourism & recreation businesses
  • Technical Assistance Fund – Support for qualifying tourism & recreation businesses needing specialized services
  • Infrastructure Predevelopment Fund – To support qualifying predevelopment costs such as planning, feasibility analysis, and more.

For more information, visit PartnerCapital.org or contact Kristen Beverage at Kbeverage@partnercapital.org

 

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