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CEO of Limited Run Games Realizes His Dream of Opening a Physical Store

Drawing on inspiration from Toys “R” Us, he envisioned a retail environment “with always something new to offer”

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CEO of Limited Run Games Realizes His Dream of Opening a Physical Store
Josh Fairhurst
The CEO and Co-Founder of Limited Run Games discusses his dream of opening a physical store (Limited Run Retail), and how retail has always been in his blood.

What was your first brush with business?

When I was 10 (1997), I was suspended from school for ‘unauthorized selling.’ I made my own candy at home and then sold it to kids in the class from my school desk. I also printed and sold my own trading card images of whatever video game was popular at the time. Since I made everything myself, it was pure profit.

Perfect retail strategy. Low overhead, high demand and control of your supply chain.

Yes. Also, sometimes, I’d give the cards away to the cool kids in class and the other kids would become interested. So I had my influencers.

CEO of Limited Run Games Realizes His Dream of Opening a Physical Store
Toys and Games

Did you have a particular inspiration for your store?

For me, there was always a sense of going into a Toys ‘R’ Us store not knowing what I was going to find. A sense of magic and wonder, always so much to look at, always something new.

How did your new store fulfill that promise of magic and wonder?

I saw it as a place with always something new to offer. I also saw it as a gathering place of the community, comparing notes, solving problems, making suggestions, trying out games.

Did the local crowd flock to Cary, N.C.?

At our grand opening, we had people from nearly every state in the U.S., plus people from the U.K. People camped out for three days before the opening. And we see a lot of the same people coming back every single weekend.

What was the inspiration for Limited Run Games?

After college, I started my own video game development company, but too much of it was spent constantly developing new commercial clientele. We needed to innovate to stay in business. So I took one of our games, made it physical and put it in a box, so game collectors could own it. Our B2C business was born.

Based on the faith that enough collectors would be interested?

I always was a collector. I liked ‘stuff,’ and I always felt that if I want it, there’s probably someone else who’ll want it, too. I developed my first game and sold it out in hours. That’s how Limited Run Games was born.

CEO of Limited Run Games Realizes His Dream of Opening a Physical Store

As an online business?

Yes, and we thrived as such for seven years. But what frustrates gamers is that all their digital games are stored on a server, and servers sometimes disappear. They want the assurance that games they own will still be available 20-30 years from now. They also want the games they had collected as kids. It’s not unlike the craze for vintage comic books or vinyl albums.

Those are supply-and-demand ventures.

And so is this. We publish games for PlayStation and all the modern platforms, but we also develop games for Nintendo, Atari – all those games from the ’80s. Some of those games are worth hundreds or thousands of dollars on the trading market. So if we reprint a game worth $1000 for the original, we might sell ours for $60. But we only print so many copies, so when we sell out, that’s it. Thus, Limited Run Games.

You had a thriving online business. What led you to open your store?

I’ve dreamed of having a store since I was a kid, my own store, where I’m selling stuff I want to sell, stuff that excites me. And two years of Covid isolation accelerated my desire to have a space where we could connect with fans and see our customers in person.

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