Taking your great idea and turning it into a business is hard work, just ask Gary Copeland. It takes a lot of time, hard work and whole lot of passion, but if you just can’t seem to shift that golden idea you have out your mind, then we think it’s time you act on it and give your business a go. Gary is the co-founder of new gaming inspired cafe ‘Pixels’ which will be opening in Irvine in the West Coast Of Scotland very soon. In the midst of getting everything ready for launch, we were very lucky to catch up with Gary to get some insight on what it’s really like getting your start up off the ground…
Where are you based?: Irvine
Business venture: Pixels Cafe
Social Media: PixelsCafeIrvine
Give us some insight into your business…
“We are opening a cafe in Irvine that focuses on good food and gaming. We’re big geeks ourselves and we want to make Pixels the best place in Ayrshire for likeminded people. We’ll be running weekly events for video games, board games, card games (Yu-Gi-Oh / Magic the Gathering) and table top games (Dungeons and Dragons). The prevalent idea is to make a venue that is enjoyable for everyone and all ages and give parents somewhere safe that their children can socialise and enjoy.”
How did you decide on a concept and what made you pursue it?
“The business started 6 years ago when my business partner and I were having a chat about things to do in Irvine that weren’t drinking/shopping/eating. Like a lot of small towns and villages, other than the occasional club for kids and the local pub(s) for adults, there isn’t much to do at all. I was also having a bad time with my then job we talked jokingly about how awesome it would be to open our own cafe that was themed with gaming. That way we could make our own awesome food and give everyone a place to go that was different from everything they’d been doing in the local area.
Then we sat about for 6 years. Eventually I started working on the beginnings of a business plan and showed it to a private investor. They loved the concept and said that with a bit of help they would be very interested in investing some money. Then I lost my job and thought to myself: “I could get another job doing the same thing and working up another ladder… or I could finally follow the dream and go for it”, so I finished the business plan. I presented it to the private investor and they put money down there and then.”
Have you faced any hurdles in setting up your own business?
“So far, we’ve had a fairly smooth sailing but I’m waiting for something to go horribly wrong. The biggest problem we’ve faced so far has been with Scottish Power. We’re waiting for the property we’re looking at to have the power turned back on at the mains and, unfortunately, this is taking longer than anticipated. We were aiming for a September launch but it’s looking like we’re broadening that to Winter. In some ways this is good, as it’s allowed us to focus on social media and build a bigger following, which in turn has brought people into our Kickstarter where we were raising funds to help us.”
Describe a day in the life of running your business.
“A lot of emails and phone calls. I’m very excited about the prospect of getting our doors open but the behind the scenes work is at times overwhelming. My business partner is still in full time employment to help supplement our overall income and offset a few monthly bills once we’ve opened, so the work falls to me. On top of liaising with the landlord, HMRC and all the tradesmen, I’m also working on our social media which has proven to be a bigger ask than we expected! We’ve got loads of people asking questions and engaging with us, which is great, but can be time consuming! I don’t want to leave people hanging.”
As customers, what can we expect from utilising your business?
“You’ll be able to enjoy good food, tasty coffee and enjoy a variety of different avenues for gaming. If it’s video games, board games or table top RPG’s then we’ll have you covered. We want people to come in, people who might be shy or unaware of likeminded folk and leave with a host of new friends who all share similar interests.”
Do you have any advice for those wishing to open their own business within a unique field like yours?
“Go for it. It can seem scary and overwhelming and at times it is, but there’s nothing else like it and with the unbelievable support we’ve had from our friends and family I can’t imagine not doing it now.”
What does the future hold for you?
“The future is always uncertain, but the next BIG dream is to have a Pixels Cafe in various locations across the UK, or even the WORLD! On a smaller scale, I’m looking forward to opening our doors and inviting everyone in for a coffee, cake and maybe a shot of some Mario Kart too.”