LAN Mob Celebrates 2 Years

Another year in the books

LAN Mob is closed today for Labor Day and marking 2 years in business.  Two years!  It's felt like a decade in Bossman years, a blur of lock-ins and tournaments and payrolls. The hustle has intensified all around my life and I have a hard time slowing down and just enjoying a game these days. This last week I was on a vacation from my day job as a systems engineer and spent a lot of this time around the shop working through a long backlog of business-related items. I also was able to spend some time gaming which was GREAT - Overwatch, PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds, League of Legends, Starcraft are all amazing games every time I have an hour to spare.

I wanted to reflect quickly on the past year, some of our successes, failures, and give a little peak into what we have planned for our third year in business.

First a Shout-out to the Best Staff NA

Cody, Enrique & Robert do a fantastic job keeping this machine oiled and running every day. We recently tried to define a single job title and it was difficult given the breadth of their responsibilities, but finally settled on "LAN Center Operator". These three individuals do an amazing job from running tournaments, fixing game issues, running overnights, constant cleaning, and utilizing our social media channels every day. Thank you guys!

And our Customers

Our customers are a cross-section of Rome and the surrounding areas. On a given week we can see anything from a 6 year old kid showing up with a handful of crumpled up 1s to a 75 year old man trying to understand how to turn on an XBOX.  We have players who come here to socialize, players practicing for tournaments, and players on the cusp of being semi-professional gamers. We've met YouTubers and Twitch streamers. Local non-profit organizations like Kids Oneida are a regular and much welcome presence around the shop, and they're outstanding at what they do. Our membership program has grown to 19 active members with the longest membership streak now at 10 months. We can't thank our customers enough for the continued support: it fuels us to continue improving every day and being the best LAN Center we can be.

Some Wins

We've had some major wins over the last year:
  • Completion of a remodel and expansion of the shop to add more square footage.
  • Addition of a retro room which we just completed with some console seating!
  • Master X Master Launch event - 1 of 13 LANs nationwide to participate.
  • Sending Draxsel to two SSB4 majors including UGC St. Louis and Evo Las Vegas.
  • Replacing our old Smartlaunch software with shiny new ggLeap software.
  • Participation in both a global WAN tournament and ggCircuit Season 6.
  • Selling out the 100th lock-in last week.
  • Reaching our 250th blog post here.

And Losses

We went through a rough patch with staffing last September - November that included a departure, a staff shakeup, and a prolonged illness. Every person brings some unique talents towards a business so any time staff leaves it takes time to recover.  Last September was a bit of a perfect storm that nearly ended our business, but we persevered and grew stronger as a result.

A handful of regulars have left for various reasons - college, military - and we really miss their positive energy and sense of humor. If I had to pick any one departure that really hurt the most it would have to be Slooze. He's an unselfish guy and will tell you otherwise, but his impact to the business, relationships with customers, staff, and myself was invaluable. We all miss him dearly and hope to see him more some day.

The Future

There is always something in the works at LAN Mob and we do have two major projects lined up for the next year. One will be a Kickstarter to further improve the shop, and we'll have a very low funding goal for this with a lot of potential stretch goals and rewards.  While that project is still a few months out, the second project is much closer to seeing daylight and I'm very excited to share with everyone. We're keeping a lot of those details under wraps as we continue to suss things out but I can tell you it will involve the launching of a new website, the revival of the LML, video game sponsorship, and a dedicated weeknight here at the shop. We're aiming high with this effort and I can't wait to share what we have prepared.

I still think a lot about how our business fits in the local landscape. I care about Rome, want to see it succeed and see potential in all of the customers who come through our doors. It's very interesting the difference in opinion of our little city by age. There is an aging population who remember and long for the good days before Griffiss closed, but they still view the city and culture in high regard. Then there is a middle-aged population which is mixed from neutral to jaded on their outlook for the city. They grew up through the worst of times - business closures, property values plummeting. Some are unable to see any future here, or they see an economy teetering on a lab. Then there are the youth. They haven't quite reached the age yet where they've made a decision on this area or its future, and we're happy to offer one small contribution to their quality of life. We're often told that this is the most amazing thing to happen to the city and CNY in general, and we're happy we can call Rome home.

Thank you to everyone for another great year and we look forward to what the next year may bring!
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  1. Amazing! Congrats on 2 years! You have done an AWESOME job BOSSMAN! Thank you to you and your staff for creating a great place that many people from all walks of life can enjoy! Looking forward to great things from LAN Mob in the future! See you soon!