Lindsey Leicht and Tracy Wright are plugged into the gaming community! In January 2022, the two sisters and business partners opened an 8,600 square foot lounge in Airdrie for gamers of all ages and abilities to meet, eat and enjoy their love of virtual reality, console, PC gaming, and pool.
They first hit on their concept when they realized travelling to Calgary was the only option for virtual reality and group gaming action. Both women had experienced life challenges and valued time with friends and family. One Christmas, after a joint family trip to Calgary to enjoy time gaming together, the idea of offering the same opportunity in Airdrie took firm hold. "When we moved to Airdrie in 2014, my son was 14, and there was little for him to do after school.
Being able to offer a place to hang out and be kids appealed. Tracy adds, "I had organized a few ladies' nights before this, and again, we had to travel to Calgary to game." The duo invites friends, families as well as individuals to enjoy their premises.
It's been a challenge to get their plans up and running. Still, the two women have persevered through construction issues, the rising cost of materials, financing concerns, staffing dilemmas, and the stress of opening during the pandemic. "We've learned to pivot around roadblocks, to turn and refocus," says Lindsey. "Our original intention was to open last July, and we set our sights on that. Unfortunately, our contractors were unable to confirm completion dates for the project," adds Tracy. "It was a big letdown for our staff and us when that original opening date didn't happen. It was also a great learning experience, and we now know to trust in the process and that everything will happen when it's supposed to happen."
Funding was also an issue, and the partners found traditional banks less than helpful. "We felt deflated but kept searching for options. We found Community Futures Centre West online and spoke to an advisor by phone, who was excited about our concept. The team there got the ball rolling. Now we have a loan backed by three CF offices, and the experience has been wonderful."
"Our goal is to provide the community with a safe place to get together and have some fun! We're starting with virtual reality, console gaming in our VIP rooms, and pool tables. Air hockey and foosball tables are available at no charge, plus there's lots of seating for people to hang out." Lindsey adds: "People are chomping at the bit for PC gaming options as well. LAN parties are popular in the gaming community - when everyone brings their PC to one person's house to all play together. In our next stage, they'll be able to come to Glitch Gaming and skip that hassle."
As a differentiator, Glitch Gaming offers a mix of gaming and food. "We have a full kitchen and concession available so people can play, eat and chill for a while. When we'd visit Calgary to play, we noticed that no food or drinks were offered afterward, which meant we couldn't extend the fun and had to go elsewhere. We have a professional chef on board so everyone can enjoy some great food, plus we've applied for a liquor license so adults can unwind with a drink between games.”
The lounge can welcome approximately 200 people and includes two VIP rooms accommodating eight to fifteen guests, plus a large mezzanine. Eventually, Tracy and Lindsey hope to add a stage for live music and community events but currently focus on providing space for birthday parties, ladies' nights, book clubs, team building, and everything in between. "We want to be an important community resource."
Game on, Airdrie!