HARRISONBURG — Within 15 minutes of opening, there were more people inside the new location of Gamer Oasis at 140 East Wolfe St. in Harrisonburg than were even allowed to be in the business’s old location on South Carlton Street.
Gamer Oasis sells video games, board games, card games and offers electronic repairs and was originally opened in 2014 as 8-Bit Oasis. The store had announced that it would close during winter of 2017, but was saved by an anonymous buyer and renamed Gamer Oasis in February.
The new location is about twice as large as the previous one, said Lauren Davis, Gamer Oasis store manager.
“We thought we needed to move a year and a half ago,” Davis said.
This was due to the increase in the various gaming communities coming to play at the store.
“We had to turn people away at night because we didn’t have table space,” Davis said.
“You never want to turn anyone away — you feel bad,” Davis said. “This is a safe community space for everyone and you want to make sure it’s available for everyone.”
Finding the right space was the biggest issue, she said.
The location was previously a Dollar General, and Gamer Oasis made “aesthetic” changes to the store, including painting the walls black.
Parking availability, location and nearby food options were all necessary aspects for the new location, Davis said.
“I think it fits the clientele well and a lot of our regular customers tend to live downtown,” Davis said.
The business previously operated a second location at Agora Market in 2017, but the hours and space did not fit the company’s needs, according to Davis.
Gamer Oasis has hired an 11th employee, and aims to bring on another two part-timers as part of the new location, she said.
The electronic repair wing of the business is also expanding from console repair to include computer and iPhone repair, and is working on being able to repair Android phones.
The business is also expanding its stock of miniature and card games, she said, and looking to incorporate custom 3-D printing for miniatures.
“We’re just hoping to bring something unique to downtown,” Davis said.