Let’s start by saying thanks to Matthew Fay, the owner of Yottaquest, for his time in answering some questions about his shop and his success story.
7607 Hamilton Avenue
1)Today we hear a lot of economic gloom and doom, and most of it frankly has good reasoning behind it; However, America is still the land of opportunity even for small retailing stores for owners who work both hard and smart. One of these in the Cincinnati area is Matt Fay owner of Yottaquest, a specialty retailer, dealing mostly in games.
Matthew Fay: Our store is a specialty retail store, but it is also very much a service business. Our customers actually refer to Yottaquest as” their” game store; they have taken “ownership” of the experience here. This is a community where they belong.
2)Tell about some of your store’s prestigious awards:
Matthew Fay: Yottaquest won Goodman Games award of being
“America’s Favorite Game Store.” The City of Mount Healthy has declared a Matthew Fay day.
3)What was your idea for the store?
Matthew Fay: One day I just wanted a game store-How hard can it be? I made many mistakes, but I learned from each one of them very quickly; I had no choice. . I talked to all sorts of people, other game store owners, distributors, game designers, and gamers/customers. I asked, “What did they like about a store.” I also drew on my prior experience. I worked at a White Castle and I learned about customer service there. From my time in the US Navy, I learned how to lead people.
4)Let’s go back to the beginning; one thing every prospective new business owner wants to know is how did you raise the initial cash to launch the store?
Matthew Fay: I used a home equity loan to raise the initial capital, but that went pretty fast. I also had signature loans and things like that to help get me through. Mostly, I had help from my family, my parents, who helped me when I was at the store a great deal of the time and my children who began as “unpaid labor.” Yottaquest truly is a family store.
5)The first 6 months to a year is vital when did you know that “Hey, I think we’re off and running?
Matthew Fay: Part of the success is when I learned to say no. Some times I said no to things repeatedly. If I wanted or needed something, then I did the research, and then went out to purchase game lines or equipment, anything.
I really think our 5 year anniversary was the day that I thought,” we are up and running.” Our sales tripled our best day ever, but I put all that money back into the business.
6)How important is networking for your business?
Matthew Fay: Well, I am President of the Mount Healthy Business Association, President of the Northwest Kiwanis, Active in American Legion, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Free Masons, A mentor in GAMA (the Game Manufacturers Association) , and Co-Leader of Celebrate Mount Healthy, and a member of the Better Business Bureau. Being a member of these groups is like taking a college class in business, I have learned a lot and continue to learn.
6)You seem to have a specialized clientele, what is your approach to customer service?
Matthew Fay: This business is a service industry. You are servicing the gaming community. Another group I sponsor through meetup.com is the local gaming community in our area. This store provides a place for like minded people to meet, and meet and play, that’s what this is all about. One of the biggest hurdles in playing games is finding people to play with, Yottaquest fills that need.
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