I am happy to present to you our fifteenth local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Kingdom Games.
Our recent Lake County business featured was Sister’s CoffeeHouse, and owners, Diane & Erin, chose to Pay it Forward to Brandon Costner, owner of Kingdom Games.
The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.
Kingdom Games are locally owned and operated custom gaming stores with three Lake County locations, offering a wide variety of new and used video games, accessories, and an array of tabletop games, including Magic The Gathering-related products.
Through the common interest of gaming, Kingdom Games offers so much more to the gaming enthusiast – everything from sealed sports cards to the craze of Funko Pop figures and collectibles. You can even buy, sell & trade retro video game titles, consoles & accessories. Check your basement. You may have a treasure awaiting your discovery.
1. Why did you decide to start your own business?
It’s always been my dream to open my own video game store, since I was a kid.
I grew up very poor in Clearlake, going to the local video store to rent Nintendo games if I was good in school. When I was older I started going to our local game center Digital Battlefields, where I really fell in love with the kind of camaraderie that comes with playing games with a bunch of people in the same room. What really got me going was when I asked my parents to take me to GameStop in Santa Rosa and I traded in my entire collection of games for a $12 game that didn’t even work! I remember saying then, “I can start a store that does better.”
When I was a teenager, I started building gaming computers, which landed me a job at Riviera Computers through a work experience “WEX” Program that Kingdom Games still hires through today.
Working at local computer stores immersed me in local business culture, and I felt a camaraderie working with people in our community – exactly like I felt in gaming.
In 2014, I sold my family home in Clearlake to move to Lakeport and cut out my commute, but after every house I tried to buy sold for over asking or with cash, I saw The Game Shop for sale in Lakeport. I forsook the idea of buying a home and put everything I had into making my dream of starting my own business come true, and here we are 8 years later with 3 locations – Lakeport, Clearlake, and now Middletown!
2. What advice would you give to someone just starting their own business?
If you design your business in such a way that you will work 40 hours a week, you will end up working 80 hours a week. If you design it so that you work 0 hours a week, you will end up working 40 hours a week, I believe the latter is the better!
3. What routines do you follow each day?
Listening to the song “Chop Suey” by System of a Down is definitely on the list.
“Wake up, grab a brush put on a little makeup. Why’d you leave the keys on the table? (YOU WANTED TO).”
Really, I am a bit of a health nut so my day always starts with a lot of water and exercise -preferably early in the morning, followed by kicking my kids out the door to school, and maybe a bit of yoga and meditation before fully immersing myself in work, work, work, whether that be at my laptop working with distributors or in the store working with our amazing team and customers.
Although, to be honest, lately most of my daily routine these last 40 weeks has been smashed by my 10-month-old daughter, Lila, who keeps me very busy.
4. Where do you see your business in five years? Ten?
Our goal is to grow and expand, across California and eventually the United States, through opening storefronts, and through social media and online. Having more storefronts, and doing online sales and tournaments gets us out there in the world and taken seriously by big companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, which then gets us better pricing for our products, which we can then use to pass down to our customers, and give our staff raises and benefits.
In five years, we should have at least five or six locations, if not ten or more, with a small online presence.
In ten years, my goal would be exponential growth, with at least 20 or 30 locations with a large online presence, running online tournaments, going heavy on YouTube, Twitter, podcasting, and running large in-person esports events.
5. How did you market your business when it was brand new?
I find that in Lake County, the most effective form of marketing is word of mouth. If you do good business and treat people right, word will spread.
6. If you could spend the day with anyone (living or who has passed on), who would it be and why?
That would be a toss-up between Kurt Cobain and Jeffrey Epstein, but both for the same reason, to ask, “who killed you?”
Brandon Costner – Owner of Kingdom Games
Lakeport – 1387 South Main Street
Tues.-Thurs. 12 – 6:00 p.m., Fri. – Sat. 11:a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sun. 12-6:00 p.m.
Clearlake – 14808 Olympic Drive
Tues.-Thurs. 12: – 6:00 p.m., Fri. – Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Sun. 12-6:00 p.m.
Middletown – 21037 Calistoga Rd.
Tues.–Thurs. 1:00 – 7:00 p.m., Fri. 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Sat. 11:00 – 7:00 p.m., Sun. 12 – 6:00 p.m.
Brandon would like to Pay it Forward to David Taco Guy in Clearlake.
Stay tuned for David Taco Guy!