It’s game on as Nigel moves his trade up a level

A shop owner who battled his way back into business is about to embark on another adventure – into the world on online gaming.

Seven years ago, Nigel Woods was faced with every self-employed businessman’s nightmare, after being forced to close his Alnwick shop and start looking for work.

But in late 2010, spurred on by the encouragement of his family, friends and former customers, the 43-year-old took the plunge once again, opening a new store on Narrowgate.

And 18 months later, Woody’s – which deals in computer and console games, plus DVD and Blu-ray sales and rentals – is a thriving concern now set to expand.

“When the last shop closed, I didn’t think I’d ever want another shot at being self-employed,” said Nigel of Lower Barresdale, “I ended up taking a job working night-shifts in a supermarket.

“Working for somebody else did have its advantages. For the first time in ages I was being paid for holidays. But it wasn’t ideal.”

Bitten by the bug to try again, in 2010 Nigel looked at taking over an existing video shop in Alnwick, but his plans fell through.

“All that time I was being asked by past customers and friends whether I would open up my own place again,” he says. “I then saw a place on Narrowgate that was empty. It was perfect and had so much potential that I decided to go for it and, in December 2010, I reopened under my own name.”

As fate would have it, Nigel’s first few weeks back in the hot seat were eventful.

“We had the worst snowstorms in memory just as I reopened, so it wasn’t a great month,” he says. “I knew I just had to stick with it.

“Since then, business has steadily increased, stock levels are up and everything is going in the right direction.”

A substantial part of Nigel’s business is in second-hand console, handheld and PC games, on a trade-in basis, but he also deals with the hardware side.

“There’s a lot of demand for trade-ins and I also do game rental on a two or seven-night basis, which is going well.”

“I do sell brand-new titles, but I tend to get them in to order or leading up to Christmas. I’m also doing a pre-order scheme for the big releases.”

And the next stage of development should bring in even more trade – particularly if the wet summer continues.

“The shop has quite a large area downstairs which I’m turning into a games room, much like an internet cafe, where customers can rent time on a console. It’s ideal for rainy days, especially for visitors to the town who have kids.

“It will have Xbox consoles networked up together so that multiple users can play against each other, plus online access.

“I’ll hopefully have that up and running within the next couple of weeks.”

Contact Woody’s on 01665 602132.