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Pahrump small business owner shares success story

Ask Pahrump business owner Joshua Willis and Nye County Regional Economic Development Authority (NCREDA) Director Paul Miller about the magic formula of creating a successful business, and chances are they will simply respond by uttering the phrase, “it’s magic.”

Willis recently moved his new business, ‘Adventurer’s Rest,’ to a higher profile location at 361 S. Frontage Road, Suite 4, adjacent to the AT&T store.

Adventurer’s Rest is described as a business catering to enthusiasts of popular games such as Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, as well as varieties of books, to name just a few.

“Primarily, our clientele are basically teenagers, but we have game enthusiasts from five years old all the way up to 85 years old,” Willis said. “I also have gentlemen who come in with their great-grandchildren to buy cards and look at board games, so there is really no age limitation on the games and items that we sell.”

Willis moved to the new location late last month, after originally opening his shop a short distance away on Frontage Road last November.

He credits NCREDA’s Miller and President Allan Parker, a counselor from the Nevada Small Business Development Center in Pahrump for his initial success, as both were able to secure a revolving loan for Willis.

“Within our first year, we were largely able to increase the business into a better location and it’s been going great with the help from Paul Miller, who has been invaluable.”

Willis noted that he deals exclusively in cards, tabletop board games, and imagination.

“The biggest seller is a card game called ‘Magic: The Gathering’,” Willis said. “The cards are collectibles and they do not go down in value much at all. They constantly appreciate and they change on a daily basis so there is a market. It’s kind of funny, because I’ve been reading in the papers that big multi-millionaires are looking at the Magic realm as a form of investment.”

As a longtime resident of Pahrump, Willis said his interest in that gaming community began when he was a student at Pahrump Valley High School, more than two decades ago.

“I’ve been involved in this gaming community for more than twenty-eight years now,” he said. “For me, the Magic game was the big one that really got me interested, as well as Dungeons and Dragons. I need to point out that for lots of people, it’s not just a game anymore, it’s an entire lifestyle.”

Additionally, Willis said the game’s popularity has risen to the point where very adept players can actually win money and prizes while pursuing their passion for the game.

“We hold tournaments twice a week here, and we are in the process of working to obtain our next store level, where we can hold qualifier tournaments,” he said. “People can play here and gain access to the tournaments where they have a chance of winning up to $80,000 for first place. People actually make a living out of playing Magic. They will go and play in a tournament and win $80,000 and also walk away with a box of stuff that’s worth thousands of dollars.”

Despite living in a small, rural community, Willis said there’s definitely a demand for his unique business among many local residents.

“We have seen so many people come in happy and ecstatic because it’s a nice place where they can play as well as buy the items that we have in stock,” he said. “We have a lot of people who come in the store and play, plus we have a solid clientele base. Outside of that, here in the new location I think we’re going to do a lot better. We’re more visible, therefore we have more foot traffic.”

Willis also said those who’ve never played the games he offers can simply drop in to learn more.

“A lot of the players are really big on helping others learn because the bigger the community, the more fun it is to play,” he said. “It’s real simple, if you know how to play the game you just walk in here and play with others in the tournaments, all you have to do is know the game and put up the entry fee.”

Miller, meanwhile said it gives him satisfaction to see a would-be small business owner succeed in the initial phases of their very first business venture.

“I have known Joshua and his startup business from the beginning,” Miller said. “He has already expanded. He came to us and said he had a great opportunity to increase his inventory and the process in the way people play the games. He said he could sure use the revolving loan at that time.”

Miller also noted that he was a bit apprehensive about Willis’ business plan when they first met to discuss the venture, as he was not very familiar with the popularity of the various card games.

“When Joshua first approached me, I must admit that I was skeptical about his business,” Miller said. “I then started to do some research. This is not only a business, this is about the only outlet for our teenagers and other game enthusiasts to come and actually participate in these games and competitions. I have seen them in action during the afternoons here and it’s incredible what goes on here.”

Additionally, Miller said there are very few places in the community where teenagers can gather and socialize in a fun and safe environment.

“I think it’s a great service for the community because we need more places for our young people to go instead of just hanging out on the streets,” Miller said. “We have this program for anyone thinking of starting a new business and they can come and talk to us about it. I have several entrepreneurs coming to my office today to talk about their vision.”

For additional information on NCREDA’s services, contact Paul Miller, Executive Director at pmiller@doingbusinessinnye.net or Michelle Banuelos, Executive Assistant.

They are located at 1301 S. Highway 160, second floor.

The office number is 775 727-0716.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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