Lafayette, LA - Many small businesses have struggled during the pandemic, but thanks to the popularity of video games, for one small business owner business is booming.
"Opening a business is hard. Running a business is hard, it’s stressful, it’s time consuming," Jeff Pearson, owner of two Play 'N Trade locations in Lafayette and Carencro.
The pandemic added stress to the millions of business owners across the country. But with the explosive popularity of video games, it’s kept Jeff Pearson’s business open.
"Everyone during the pandemic, we had the lockdown where everyone had to stay at home. What are you going to do when you're stuck at home? You’re going to watch something, you’re going to play something," Pearson said.
Play ‘N Trade had its second-best year on record since opening 15 years ago. Pearson says a lot of that can be attributed to a new generation of gamers emerging during the pandemic. "So in the standpoint of maybe introducing kids to new games, we do actually see that. We’ll see the parents coming in, they’ll be like I want to start my kids off on the NES, Mario, Battletoads."
Despite an increase in business, Pearson says he knows that luck has played a part in being able to stay open. "I’m definitely very appreciative having kind of lucked out honestly. As a small business owner, my heart went out and bled for all these businesses that were not able to kind of maintain," he said.
He says he feels for all the other business owners in the community who are no longer around.
"I wish they didn’t have to close shop. It’s heartbreaking, it becomes part of your family. Your business becomes part of your identity, who you are. And the idea of having to close a part of who you are is just really sad," Pearson said.