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Small Business Person of the Year 2013
Chris Runyan relocated to Stamford, Connecticut from Bentonville, Arkansas in 2009. He’d considered opening a GameXChange franchise in Arkansas before moving but discovered that there were no franchise territories available in Arkansas. Chris pursued his passion for gaming and this particular franchise and prior to the relocation, researched job and business opportunities and discovered that while there were no GameXChange franchise opportunities in Arkansas where the franchise was founded, there were territories available in Connecticut.
GameXChange is a franchise retail store that sells, purchases and trades new and pre-owned video games and related hardware, software and accessories.
After living in Connecticut for just one week, Chris contacted the SCORE chapter in Norwalk and developed a business plan and set up meetings with commercial lenders with their help. After being rejected by eight banks, Chris contacted the Connecticut Community Investment Corporation, an SBA micro lender, where he was approved for a $35,000 loan to open his first store in Orange, Connecticut in March 2010.
Chris was profitable in his very first year and decided to expand to another location. Once again, he sought out technical assistance from CTCIC and got a second SBA micro loan followed by two more locations and two more loans.
Not only has Chris launched five GameXChange franchise locations, but his first store in Orange was ranked sixth out of more than 50 GameXChange stores in revenues for 2012, just its third year in operation. And, he created over 40 new jobs along the way!
Moving across country and opening a new retail concept was never going to be easy but because of a solid business model, thorough business plan and help from the SBA, SCORE and CTCIC, as well as lots of persistence, Chris has been able to achieve impressive results in a short period of time. And by the way, did I mention that Chris just opened his sixth location in Connecticut?