Top Five Longest-Running UK Indies: Stan’s Game Exchange

Our spotlight on the UK’s most established independents as part of Indie Retail Month continues with Cornwall-based Stan’s Game Exchange.

Owner Steve Stangroon tells MCV the secret to his store’s longevity and voices next-gen concerns.

What is the secret to staying around so long?
It’s all about customer relationship. We’re a small town and I do better trade-ins than anywhere else. It all started years ago when I bought a 40 quid game and traded it in for 10. Now I always give five or six quid back on a 10 trade in. The supermarkets never give good returns so customers come to me.

How has the store developed?
Over the years we’ve always built on console releases. The Mega Drive was a huge hit; PlayStation was brilliant, as was the PS2 and so on. Things with the next generation look a bit shaky as pre-owned is massive for us.

How do you plan to develop and stay around?
Well if the next generation results in there being no second-hand market, I see it all going back to PC. If the Xbox One goes against pre- owned then I can see the PS4 following suit. It’s worrying for everyone: indies, supermarkets and online.

How has the indie scene changed since you started?
No one sold games but me when I started. Sniff did a few games, but over the years everyone has started stocking games. Supermarkets, corner shops, even booksellers gave it a go.

What advice would you give to someone starting up?
Find somewhere with little competition. I’m in Cornwall but I get a lot of holidaymakers visiting saying they want an indie games store near them so there is scope and demand for it.

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