The history of Playlive Nation originates in Olympia when Duncan Woods opened the store with the goal of bringing people together utilizing the universal language of gaming. After seeing success, Woods decided to turn his business into a franchise and in April 2013 PlayLive Nation opened a fourth location inside the Vancouver Mall.
In August 2017, Bhavin Shah acquired the store from a previous owner and ever since then, he and his three employees have been meeting new people that are interested in the variety of games his location offers. He explains that the combination of playing games with friends and family is part of what drew him to the business.
“After working in corporate America for over 16 years I was looking for a career change,” Shah said. “Coming from a family of entrepreneurs I always wanted to have something of my own. After doing extensive research, I came across Playlive Nation. What attracted me to this business was that it was oriented towards friends and family spending time together building relationships. People enjoy spending time together, especially with their family and friends. We at Playlive provide a clean, safe, fun environment where people can meet to maintain continued quality relationships.”
Playlive Nation provides both Xbox One-based video games as well as collectible card games like Magic the Gathering, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! for people to play in the store. Shah said that offering both is a way for people to cultivate friendships in a safe environment.
“What’s unique about our store is that we offer both video and card games, allowing players to easily switch between the two,” he said. “As far as we know, no other gaming store in the area does both video and collectible card games.”
Shah said that after he acquired the business, he focused on remodeling the space to make it more appealing and welcoming. He added more gaming stations and brought in collectible game products and merchandise. He goes on to share that the family friendly environment has attracted new customers, and parents have started to take advantage of the various events such as Parents Night Out on Friday nights, where the kids get food, drinks and three hours of playtime for a set price.
Shah said that his business offers a variety of other events, too.
“One of our signature events is called ‘Mixer.’ This event happens once a month and it’s a three-hour event where participants are paired together to socialize while playing games. This gives them an opportunity to make new friends,” he said.
Shah said that he also strongly believes in supporting the local community.
“As part of our community outreach, we have donated birthday parties and free-play passes to the local schools to help them raise funds for their parent teacher organizations. We host fundraising events for local nonprofits where we donate 60 percent of the revenue generated from tickets sales for the event,” he said.
The future for Playlive Nation looks exciting. Shah said that his primary goal is to continue building a community that feels like home.
“My first and foremost focus is to make the existing location a social and friendly gathering place,” he said. “I have plans to open a second location within the Clark County area in the near future.”