ADDRESS: 155 NW 4th Street, Corvallis, OR 97330
PHONE NUMBER: 541-738-8266
FACEBOOK: Pegasus Games
OWNER: Marc LeRoux
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 12
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 1
WHAT THEY SELL: Awesome board games, card games, and miniature games
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Pegasus Games offers a great selection of games and a fun, friendly environment for everyone from beginners to experts.
Situated next to the Greyhound Station, Pegasus Games is easy to overlook. But once you enter, it’s like you’re in a totally different place. There are shelves packed with neatly ordered games and hobby items, and game memorabilia is all over the walls and tables. If you’re looking for something game-related, owner Marc LeRoux can help you find it. The greeting of a customer who walked in during this interview very accurately sums up the overall atmosphere in this local store: “Hello, friends.”
Marc, when and why did you decide to start your business? In 2001, the game store that was in town went out of business, so I decided to start my own.
What products do you sell? I sell mostly board games, Magic, and Warhammer.
Does your store fill an unusual niche? Yes, there aren’t too many stores in town that are only game stores. We also host tournaments for Magic and Warhammer, and those are hard to find. We actually have play space for people to come in and learn how to play board games if they want to.
What challenges have you faced as an independent business owner? 2008 and 2009 were both pretty bad years; I think I was making around $3 per hour. When people don’t feel like they have disposable income, they don’t buy the types of products I sell. On the other hand, I’ve got regulars who have been coming in here for about a decade, and most of them think, “I’ve still got a job, and I’m still making money, so I’m going to keep playing my hobby”.
Also, it’s been great having places like the Toy Factory around because we really help each other; they send me customers, I send them customers. It’s a great relationship.
Is there a particular age group that you aim to sell to? We get just about everyone. There are people who come in when they’re in high school and keep coming in until they’re out of college. It creates a cool dynamic because there are those people who have been coming here since high school who are out of college now, and there’s the kids who are just coming in as middle schoolers and high schoolers. There are lots of kids who would be a lot worse off than they are today if they didn’t have a hobby and a place like this to come and play games and be around good people rather than hanging around with teenagers who drink and abuse drugs.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses in Corvallis? Instead of funding a corporation, people who buy at local businesses are funding someone’s family.
How does the future look for local independent businesses? This goes back to the same kind of thing with the Toy Factory. Fred Meyer and Bi-Mart have sent people here, and I’ve sent people there, too, for items that I don’t carry, so the general environment in town is friendly. Most places don’t have a problem sending someone to another business that carries some of the same things they do. For example, the Toy Factory has some of the same games that I do, but they don’t have any problem sending anyone over here, and I don’t have any problem sending someone over there. It’s a lot easier to have a community of businesses than trying to compete against everybody else in a price-war.
What do you like most about owning this business? I get to play games all day; it’s a pretty good deal. Teaching people how to play a new game is always really fun.
Do you have a special relationship with the community? I am the race director for the McDonald Forest Run, and all of the money for that event goes to local cross country and track teams. Pegasus Games is the primary supporter of the event. This is my eighth year of doing that, and I give about $5000 a year to local teams.
Are you the only person who works here? Yes, it’s mostly me, and my daughter helps out when she’s around.
Do you think people are generally better off working for a local independent business than a large business chain? I’ve worked other places, I’ve had other jobs, and I’ve owned other businesses, as well. I think it really depends on the owner and whether they care about their employees. Generally, I think a small business would care more.
Does your business use sustainable practices? We recycle everything that can be recycled, and we compost, which is not very common at a retail establishment. Also, we just upgraded our lighting to LEDs.
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about Pegasus Games. We’re awesome!
(Article and interview by Bryce Benson – November 17, 2013)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).