“Everybody was kind of waiting on a phone call saying that we were going to close forever,” said Todd Van Leeuwen. “They never got that phone call.”

It was a chaotic first year to say the least. But now, Waypoint VRcade is celebrating reaching one year.

Imagine the excitement of launching your dream business, seeing it busy and two weeks in– gone. That’s the challenge that makes today that much more special.

Stepping into another world, Todd Van Leeuwen was living the dream. Suddenly, he was snapped back into reality.

“It was 1,000 miles an hour the whole time and then all of a sudden, nothing, and that was really hard.”

Two weeks after its grand opening, the pandemic forced his business to close. Unlike others, it’s not something you can order ‘to go’.

“You can’t have that at home, so you have to come out here to play it and there’s no way for us to take it to you because of all the infrastructure that’s required to have it actually work,” said Van Leeuwen.

He initially fearede this was ‘game over’ for his dream. But it was a dream he wasn’t going to let die.

Maybe a week in, I was able to snap out of it and get back to work.”

So he began to adapt, starting with developing and selling his own hand sanitizer. Then, he began building and repairing PCs for gamers at home.

“There were a couple different times where our PC building was what kept us open that month. There were a couple times where virtual reality headset systems– the sale of those– will keep us open.”

While closed, he finished developing and improving his business for when it was game on.

“We’ve added extra games, we’ve added extra platforms, we now have a birthday party space. Our corporate event and private party space is now open and finished.”

This shirt, a pretty good summary for how the year went.

Van Leeuwen emotional for the support allowing his business to stay online.

“It’s been overwhelming, positive, and positive is good for a change.”

Celebrating one year this weekend, Waypoint will be giving away gift cards and virtual reality gear. Not just as a way to ring in year two, but as a thank-you to those who made this a reality.

Originally posted on WSBT 22, by DJ Manou: Link »