Head honcho of Orange's Games n More hub, Nic Drage is feeling pretty chuffed since seeing the business flagged as a finalist on the 2023 Western NSW Business Awards list.
In the running for Excellence in Micro Business, the gaming store is one of seven businesses all contending for the category's top title.
But it's the sense of safety within the community hub that Mr Drage said sets Games n More apart in the fierce competition.
For many people in Orange, it's the only place where they can connect with like-minded peers.
And perhaps his greatest asset in the business world, Nic Drage is a huge champion of community-driven work in the retail sector.
What were your thoughts after realising Games n More made the final Business NSW cut?
It was a bit of a surprise and it's really nice to get that recognition, especially after being an interesting few years in retail for us.
We just try to do what we do and any success we have always comes back to the people who make us what we are.
We're a little bit different here in the sense that we're not solely focussed on business. We're very much about the community and without [our customers], we don't exist.
In what ways has Games n More made its mark for the Excellence in Micro Business category?
Going through COVID, and for a lot of retailers in particular, was a really tough time for us and we got through that.
There was the fire where we had to deal with that challenge as well, adding a complete relocation of the business, but we got back up and running in a month.
But we managed to get through all of those challenges and now, with where we are on Anson Street, it's very much the sort of space that I always envisioned for the business.
To really get back to doing our mission with having events and lots of people here, that's what we're all about.
The gaming world has fast-growing popularity. What are your thoughts on the changing times?
I think a lot of the stigma around gaming has caved in the last few years, for example, Dungeons & Dragons has a massive following now and is really popular.
We very much like to look at ourselves as that safe space for people to come and socialise, where they're able to meet other like-minded people and connect through those hobbies and interests.
So, it's all becoming less 'fringe stuff' and more mainstream, which is really good to see.
How would you describe the impact that your business has on the community?
We provide another outlet for a lot of people, particularly for those who might not have that opportunity in other areas of their lives or have different interests outside of their usual friendship group.
They're widening their social groups and we're able to be present for them, be that gaming base in the community.
We're that safe hub for a lot of people and we've always been really community-focussed like that; where we try to facilitate that welcoming environment for everybody.
What are some of your hopes and goals for the business in the near future?
When I bought the business, I met with individuals who were doing similar things to us and while there was a bit of overlap in some areas, we were all still so unique and different in our own ways.
With Paul Willoughby closing up, we had a chat and we were on the same wavelength, so we're going to pick up a lot of the stuff that he had.
We're that safe hub for a lot of people and we've always been really community-focussed like that.- Owner of Orange's Games n More, Nic Drage.
We'll look at stocking certain ranges of paints and hobby supplies that we didn't stock before.
After adding these products into our offering, hopefully we'll see a whole bunch of new faces that we haven't met before and it'll be great to welcome them into the community as well.