Good times and a major impact
Rob Gruber is comfortable being the underdog.
It’s a position he’s held for a few years, by choice or not, owning and operating a gaming store in a city of approximately 13,000 residents.
“Most small towns our size don’t have a game store. It’s a luxury item that a lot of towns can’t afford,” said Gruber last week.
“I’m one of those ‘cheer for the underdog’ kind of guys, so I almost like being behind the eight-ball in those situations.”
Many Rupertites know of Good Times Games’ stellar reputation as a fun-first, interactive and welcoming environment, as well as the number one place to go for games and supplies of any sort.
But this month, the rest of the province will learn what the North Coast already knows so well about one of its finest small businesses as Good Times Games is nominated for the Best Community Impact Award of the Small Business BC Awards.
“We’re pretty excited. We are a small business in a small community, so being on that provincial stage, even if you don’t win, you’re excited at being included and that someone recognized you,” said Gruber.
The Small Business BC Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of BC’s entrepreneurs. They celebrate the contributions small business owners make to their local communities and to the global economy.
The Best Community Impact Award in particular “goes to the company that’s truly making a difference in their community. This business has taken positive action to invest in their community and sees social responsibility as an integral part of the business’ success”, the awards’ website states.
“Right away I wanted to go out and start getting votes. We were a little bit late, our nomination came in, I think, on Oct. 22. They started taking nominations on Oct. 1, so we were like three weeks behind a lot of the stores that were on there,” said the Rupert born-and-raised Gruber.
Good Times is up against over 20 other businesses across the province for the distinction, many of them in larger, urban centres, but Gruber isn’t concerned.
“There’s a lot of people, not just in Prince Rupert, but in neighbouring communities that look to Good Times [as that special place to go]. Even people that live in the United States and all over the place [know us],” said Gruber, who added that, among the dozens of people wearing Good Times’ iconic T-shirts and sweaters in Rupert, people are wearing the logo in Spain, the UK and last week, he sent one to a gamer in Ohio.
“Our logo is all over the place. People know Good Times around the world.”
The Best Community Impact nominees have established community impact strategies, possess triple bottom line metrics – having measurable social, environmental and financial outcomes of corporate social responsibility, a diverse and inclusive workplace and business decision-making and have proven business leadership.
To be eligible for the award, businesses must have been in operation for a minimum of 12 months and employ fewer than 50 employees. Good Times Games has been in business since 2008 and has seven employees.
“I have no grand designs to be anywhere else and I’m pretty proud of the way the community supports the store. Everybody’s always cheering for us like we’re the little guy in town, so it’s a comforting feeling ... Every year we learn something new. Neither myself nor Kris [Johnson] are really businessmen. My business model is ‘What would 10-year-old Rob like to do?’ and I make that happen for the 10-year-olds and the kids that are around now, so it seems like a pretty good way to operate,” said the owner, adding that kids take over the shop in the afternoon and then the adults arrive in the evening, comprising a wide variety of clientele.
To vote for Good Times Games, visit: www.sbbcawards.ca/community-impact/good-times-games-and-electronics/
The voting period is open until Nov. 30 and the award ceremony is set for Feb. 25, 2016.
“[The nomination] just says something to Kris and myself and Ryan and all the team here that we’re doing something right,” said Gruber.