LANCASTER- If you can dream it, you can do it. That certainly holds true for Lancaster Village Trustee Edward Marki who will be fulfilling his lifelong dream of opening MEBSGAMES, a video game play center. The grand opening will kick off at noon Wednesday, Nov. 21, located at 30 Central Ave., in the Downtown Village of Lancaster Central Business District.
“I wasn’t really planning on opening a store until after I retired from ECMC, but when this storefront became available, and with the problem we had last summer, I really decided to do it for the kids,” remarked Marki, who was referring to the concerns raised by village business owners due to youths biking, skateboarding, and loitering throughout the village district.
Back in the day, Marki said the Boys and Girls Club was more than just a gym. There were pool tables, video games, and snacks. It was called the teen center.
“It seems we have lost that financing to fund something like that and it’s a shame,” said Marki. “Watching the events unfold in the village showed me there is a need for youth, ages 10 to 18, to have somewhere to go other than the movies or the mall. There is no place for kids to go to hang out with their friends. My kids go to the Depew Roller Rink and they don’t even put skates on. They hang out in the video game area with their friends.”
Marki has been in the video game industry for more than 15 years and knows exactly what he wants his store to be.
“What makes us stand out from other game stores is we are here to provide not just a store, but an environment where kids can enjoy themselves with their friends and feel safe,” remarked Marki. “I am going to provide these kids, these teenagers; somewhere they can feel comfortable. I want this to be their store, not just a store.”
When a patron walks into the store, the front area will consist of video games and systems for sale.
The store walls will be lined with several flat screens TV’s and youths and adults will be able to test out a gaming system or video game before buying it.
“People who want an Atari or want to play an old Sega Genesis with Sonic are going to be able to come in here and play it,” said Marki. “If you come in to buy an Atari you’ll buy the one that is actually playing. None of this, ‘gee, I hope it works.’”
Atari, Nintendo, Sega, PS2, PS3, and Xbox will all be available for purchase and all products are warranted. The store will buy and sell new and used games. In fact, on opening day customers will receive a 50 percent bonus on trade-ins.
The two back rooms, which eventually will become one large room, is known as the “Play Center” will be set up with flat screens TV’s on the walls where kids can sit, hang out, and play video games.
“In the play centers kids will have the choice to play whatever game they want to play in the entire store,” said Marki.
An hour in the play center will cost $3 or $5 for two hours. The area will be adult supervised.
“There are rules and regulations the kids will have to follow,” commented Marki, a former teacher. “Working in a classroom you realize the first thing that kids want to do is see where the boundaries are. Believe it or not, kids won’t tell you that they want boundaries, but they do. The kids who mostly act out are kids who are looking to see what the boundaries are and when they know. That’s when they start to relax and feel comfortable.”
In addition, youths will be able to purchase food and drinks as well.
In the future, the store will hold tournaments in the back room on Fridays and Saturdays.
“There will be football tournaments and Call of Duty tournaments,” Marki said. “There will be a big screen TV screen in the front of the store showing the tournaments going on in the back room and speakers to let everyone hear what’s going on back there.”
On opening day, free pizza will be offered and cupcakes will be given to the first 100 customers.
MEBGAMES is opened from 3 to 8 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday; 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
“It is not just some store on Transit Road that will just let you trade in your games and get a new game, but it is a place where parents can feel safe knowing that the store is being run by a New York State certified teacher who has a master degree in behavioral adolescence. This is my specialty,” said Marki.
Check out MEBSGAMES Web site at www.mebsgames.com
or call 200-7876 for more information.
“On opening day we just want people to come in,” remarked Marki. “We don’t care about whether we make any money. We just want people to come in and see the store and get parents to check it out and feel comfortable.”