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Interview with Gary Copeland (Pixels Cafe)

First off, tell me about yourselves?
I’m Gary Copeland and my Partner is Kieran Morrell. We’ve been best mates for about 6 years now and are both lovers of board games, video games and nerd culture in general.

I spent years in Retail working away in places like Gamestation (RIP) and GAME and early last year decided that I wanted to open my own cafe. Kieran and I had spoken about it plenty but it always seemed like a pipe-dream, so when I went to him with my proposal his eyes lit up and we got working on it straight away.

Kieran has always worked within the council, specifically with the youth teams, and he agreed that Irvine was in serious need of something that was safe, family oriented and available for all ages. Our two ideas combined turned into Pixels Cafe!

And what inspired you to open a gaming cafe?
A love of video games and board games as well as our two jobs steered us to this point. On top of that I’ve always been a mile a minute thinker, and come up with business ideas left right and centre. This just seems to be the real winner.

Have you taken any inspiration from similar businesses or are you planning on going your own way with it?
Megabytes and R-Cade in Glasgow as well as Unboxed Gaming Cafe in Ayr are all places that have shown us there is a demand for the general idea. Although we are focusing on a different overall theme (ours is more inclusive for all nerds than being specific to a genre) these places all showcased that people want more places to enjoy their nerdiness and make new friends.

Have you faced any challenges in opening your business, and if so how did you overcome them?
We have and still are struggling to locate a viable premise. We are on the hunt though and although we thought we had found our perfect premise, it’s slowly turning out like it’s not going to be as excellent as we had hoped. Outside that we haven’t encountered too much so ask us again once we’ve been open for a year!

What kind of food will you offer?
The end goal is to serve good, hearty, healthy food. Like a gourmet subway. We’re steering away from overly fried goodies but we will have the comfort foods that we know people love (instant noodles, crisps etc).

What kind of events will you host?
We’ll be regularly hosting video game tournaments, TCG (trading card game) nights, TTRPG (tabletop role playing games (like Dungeons and Dragons)) as well as 18+ nights that will let us play age restricted games freely and we’ll be able to open the doors and allow BYOB.

How has the idea been received so far, and have you received much support?
So far the idea has been received excellently. We’ve got a really big following on Facebook facebook.com/PixelsCafeIrvine​ and our Kickstarter was a roaring success. People are very excited about the Cafe which is why we’re working tirelessly to bring it to life as quickly as possibly.

What has been your proudest moment and/or biggest accomplishment so far?
So far our Kickstarter has to be our crowning jewel. We were looking for £2000 and we made over £4K! The love we were getting on social media was phenomenal too.

Are you still accepting donations to help get the business started and if so how can people do that?
Unfortunately we aren’t any longer, but if people would like to get involved and start flexing their abilities, we’ll be running weekly events in a placeholder premises for the time being. Every Friday starting on the 18th we’ll be in Fullarton Connexions in Irvine starting at 6.

Lastly do you have social media/a website and if so provide links?
Currently we’re just on Facebook:​​https://www.facebook.com/PixelsCafeIrvine/

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