As early as age of 14, Steve Heiden dreamed of starting his own gaming business. In 2012, he put his ideas on paper and placed third in the annual Shocker Business Plan Competition at Wichita State University. When he and his partners, Terrence Abbott and Adam Haselwood, consolidated the funds from investors and their personal finances, they still needed more to fill the gap. Steve decided an SBA-guaranteed loan was the best option available, so with the help of his banker, a loan was obtained, and his dream became a reality.
BattleStations Gaming, Inc. is a pay-to-play facility where customers or “gamers” can play more games than they could ever hope to buy, on equipment superior to most home set-ups. Gamers can walk-in and compete against their friends or anyone else at the store interested in playing . BattleStations offers snacks, drinks, and birthday party packages too. Customers can try a new game before buying it, trade-in used games, or buy game software and equipment. They are quick to meet their customers’ needs and value the ability to try new things with the business.
Since opening in July of 2012, the business has attracted over 2,400 customers…enough to move ahead with adding a west-side location. BattleStations created 9 new jobs in Wichita and plan to add another 5-8 employees once the new store is up and running.
These entrepreneurs have found success in a niche market catering to gamers by responding to customer feedback and taking care of their team members. BattleStations has also found a way to give back to the community by hosting ‘lock-in’ events to raise money for local charities. In less than one year of opening its doors, the business has donated 3% of its revenues to local causes. CEO, Steve Heiden, personally benefitted from one charitable event when he met his now fiancé!
Steve says the SBA guaranteed loan is what filled the funding gap to start the business. He had established investors early on, but still needing financing. With the help of an experienced lender and the SBA, all the financing needed to open the doors were realized.
BattleStations is located near Central and Greenwich at 11330 East Central in Wichita. Their new location is on track to open in July of this year on the West Side at 21st Street and Ridge Road.