In 2010, Sharon Springs native Michael Willman powered up his entrepreneurial spirit to launch Games A Plunder.
Willman, 32, said he paired professional pursuits and personal passion to kickstart the venture.
“I went to school for business with a concentration on entrepreneurship,” he said. “So, I knew I wanted to start a business and I’ve always liked games.”
Nearly a decade later, from its 107 Union St., Cobleskill site, gamers can find a cache of choices.
“We started with just video games,” Willman said. “We did everything, all the way back to Atari games up to the new stuff and buying and selling brand-new and individual consoles. Then, four years ago, we moved to a new location and it’s probably five times the size (of the original), so we were able to expand into board games, trading card games, Dungeons & Dragons, tabletop miniature games and really diversify.”
Offering such a mix, Willman said, has generated a varied customer base.
“We have all ages come through,” he said. “We get a lot of local kids in and college kids when (SUNY Cobleskill) is in session, all the way up through adults. The oldest person we’ve had was a lady looking for Game Gear games, and she was 88.”
“Most people either come back or recommend it to other people,” he said. “We’ve been open almost 10 years, so if local people weren’t shopping here, we wouldn’t still be around, so we have them to thank. We have a really awesome community and a lot of regular people that come in.”
Willman further attributed the store’s staying power and clientele to its niche quality.
“The next closest store that does something like we do is probably 45 minutes away,” he said. “Whether it’s Albany or Oneonta, it’s the same distance, but most of the stores that are similar focus on just video games or just board and card games, so covering multiple markets makes us more unique.”
As Games A Plunder has established itself, Willman said, he’s introduced regular in-store play options and tournament-style events.
“We have Friday night ‘Magic’ tournaments pretty much every week and we’ve done a couple of other special events,” he said. “We just had a ‘Super Smash Bros’ tournament (on July 26). We had almost 30 players show up for that and it was great. We’re going to be planning another one of those.”
“We’ve done ‘Warhammer’ tournament leagues, but we always have tables set up for people to use,” he said. “And we have a shelf of demo (board) games and people are welcome to grab those and play.”
Within the last year, Willman said, he’s started offering customizable birthday packages.
“That’s a new thing … and we’re trying to get that going more,” he said. “(Kids) can pick out games to play, then we have them all set them up and we have pizza, decorations and goody bags.”
Willman said he plans to continue modifying and expanding Games A Plunder products and services, while maintaining the qualities for which it’s known.
“It’s a good environment and a great place to work,” he said. “I’m always trying to add more stuff to the store that people will like and be interested in. We have video games from Atari through Nintendo Switch and everything in between. I try to focus on keeping in stock the things that we know people will want, like Magic cards or D & D stock, but diversifying into other types of games is a good direction.”
For more information, find “Games A Plunder” on Facebook, visit gamesaplunder.com or call 518-823-4471.