By Frank Bixler (Email Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org)
It is not often anymore, especially during these hard economic times, that one hears of a determined young entrepreneur opening a small business.
Instead, while driving down the street, one often sees empty store fronts lining the road. However, twenty year old Ruslan Khatipov and his business partner Rob Colquhoun have broken this pattern with the opening of their new store, The Gauntlet, located by Domino’s Pizza off Crystal Street, in East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania.
The Gauntlet is described by its co-owner, Ruslan, as the “Coolest gaming store in East Stroudsburg,” and it surely fits that affectation.
After the relocation of The Encounter , another gaming store formally located on Main St. Stroudsburg, to Allentown, Pennsylvania, many former customers of The Encounter were left with no place to buy their video games, trading cards or a type of gathering place to socialize and compete in video game and card tournaments.
Many of these gamers were unable to make the lengthy trip to The Encounter’s new location in Allentown. Ruslan and Rob immediately spotted the business opportunity this presented and pounced on it.
After locating a store front with affordable rent, the partners set about establishing a new gathering place for The Encounter’s old clientele. The Gauntlet has a wide variety of merchandise to appeal to almost every type of gamer in the region: video games, traditional board games, like Risk, as well as more exotic games like Battlestar Galactica, and of course, card games, including Yu-gi-oh, Magic, Pokémon, World of Warcraft and so much more.
The atmosphere of the store is warm and inviting, with several tables set up for customers who are too eager to wait until they get home to start playing with their new games.
One will often see several of the regular customers at these tables, with their playing mats spread out across the milky white table tops, quietly focused as they deliberate their opponent’s next move and how they will counter it.
Card tournaments are held on a weekly basis: Tuesday’s, Thursdays and Saturdays there are Yu-Gi-Oh and World of Warcraft tournaments starting at 6:30 pm, Wednesday’s are board game nights starting at 6 pm and Fridays are Magic the Gathering tournaments starting at 6:30 pm. A mandatory entrance fee ranging from two to fifteen dollars goes towards cool prizes that are awarded to the winners.
These tournaments often draw a large crowd, packing the small store with focused participants, from wall to wall. Mondays at 6 pm are video game nights, where Ruslan and Rob set up T.V.’s for the customers who also sometimes bring their own T.V.’s so that more people can participate in the gaming, lending to the store’s friendly social atmosphere.
The Gauntlet is open from 12pm to 8pm Monday through Saturday, and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. Experienced gamers, not so experienced gamers and those who have never even heard of the term before are all welcome at The Gauntlet and are sure to find games and activities that are certain to help whittle away the long tedious hours of the day.