Our Indie Retail Month in association with Gem continues with the final entry into our look at the UK's fastest growing indies, Loading Cafe.
Loading Cafe founder James Dance tells MCV about how his unique idea for an indie has spawned a second store.
Loading Cafe is a indie game store of a different kind. It may not sell games per say but it has helped sell the gaming lifestyle.
Players can come in and play the latest titles for free and the Loading Cafe also provides themed cocktails at industry events and game launches. It also sells a range of its own creations in-store.
“It’s changed a lot from what it started as,” says Loading Cafe founder James Dance.
“Branded coffee and cocktails were never in the business plan.”
Dance has since opened a venue in London, helping him get contacts to push the brand on even further.
“We do coffee and branded drinks and host events in our space, but wewant to set up events elsewhere,” Dance tells MCV.
“We have the contacts and background to set up a PR company for smaller developers and indies. We do campaigns and bringing our service outside of our store locations is key and being in London has really helped.”
Being different can be a blessing and a curse. It was social media and press attention that helped Loading Cafe build itself a customer base.
“Because we’re different, the big companies didn’t respond to it. We didn’t fall into a category. People are reserved about going with something that hasn’t been done before. So we’ve had to build up that legitimacy,” Dance adds.
“It took years before the first company understood us and what we wanted to do. And then the press side helped us talk to more and more companies and we’ve just tried to spread the word. Twitter, social media and PR helped grown us. 50 per cent of my jobs have come from social.”