Limited Run Games opens retail store in North Carolina
Since 2015, Limited Run has made a business of publishing physical versions of digital games, often selling them directly to customers with low print runs, rather than putting them into traditional retail distribution. The company does more than that these days, but it’s a business built around cutting out the middleman, avoiding many of the costs of overproducing games, letting them sit on store shelves, and paying a discount to everyone involved in this process.
Now, as the company recently announced, it is taking a small step towards becoming that middleman itself by opening a retail store in North Carolina. With plans to open the store in April, Limited Run built a space in the MacGregor Village shopping center in Cary, complete with an 80s-themed look and a custom soundtrack running around nine hours.
With plans for staff picks, midnight launches, and an extensive collectible card section, there’s a lot going on here, so we sent a few questions to Limited Run CEO Josh Fairhurst to find out more.
Polygon: So that’s weird, isn’t it? What is your overall vision of the store?
Josh Fairhurst: We started Limited Run Games in 2015 because physical media was dying, and it pained us as collectors to see that happen. Another thing that has pained us just as long is the death of physical game stores. The [are] there are definitely stores left, but that’s nothing like the glory days of having a Babbage’s, Software Etc, FuncoLand, and Electronics Boutique in every town. It has always been a dream to try in a physical store.
Looking at the photos you posted on Twitter, my first reaction was that it looks more like a video store than a game store. It probably has something to do with the shelves being empty, but is that part of the idea?
It’s deliberate, yes. We try to tap into the nostalgia of the days when physical retail was the only option. Most game stores didn’t really have a very distinctive look (and they still don’t), so we borrowed design lineups from 90s video stores, department stores, and some of the concept stores of video games of the time (the Best-selling game store in Jacksonville, Florida being our biggest influence).
How much of the store will be devoted to games from Limited Run, and how much will be devoted to other things — trading cards, games from other publishers, etc. ?
Approximately 75% of the store will be dedicated to games and merchandise from Limited Run, while the remaining 25% will be a mix of games, vinyl soundtracks, books, trading cards and merchandise from other publishers and distributors. . We will also have a small used selection in the back with customer exchanges, both modern and retro.
What was the biggest surprise in preparing the store?
Preparing the store took a lot longer than expected, so we held a parking lot event in August 2021. We ended up attracting over 1,000 people, which was way beyond anything we expected. We waited ! It was a huge surprise, and it gave us confidence that the store would ultimately be a success.
In ten years, what is your vision of limited-edition physical stores?
We hope to eventually have a presence on the West Coast, preferably in the Bay Area as there are a surprisingly small number of game stores there. Beyond that, we really want to expand internationally and have some sort of physical presence in Europe and Japan.