LONGMONT -- Eugene Waara said he fields questions every day about his downtown business, Stonebridge Games. People want to know: What's going on?
For a few weeks now, he's had a "for sale" sign in the front window. The building is definitely for sale, he said. The business might be.
"We're having a tough time," said Waara, who opened the gaming store in 2004. "We just can't get the inventory in."
An investor's recent pullout hurt his cash flow, he said, so he can't buy enough inventory to keep the shelves stocked. If the shelves are half-empty, he has fewer products to sell, which further hurts his cash flow. It's not the kind of cycle a business owner wants to be in.
"I'm trying to make a decision -- I've been trying to make a decision for a while, whether I'm going to keep it going and move (to another location)," Waara said.
Either way, he said, he's going back to his old profession: He started a new job in high-tech sales this week.
The store's special events, which have been a staple since the day it opened, have kept him going, he said.
Right off the bat, the store built a loyal following, drawing gamers from Fort Collins and Greeley up north and from the Denver metro area down south. Just last weekend, he had about 70 kids in the store for a competition, he said.
"That's probably what kept me in the game for the past few years," Waara said.
He said Colorado has 15 to 20 stores statewide similar to his, some of which have opened in just the past few years. One of those is a relatively new one in Fort Collins.
"(The owner) got all inspired after hearing me speak in Vegas a few years ago, talking about building community," Waara said.
Kimberlee McKee, executive director of the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, said she hopes Waara is able to keep the business going or sell it to someone who will.
"When I came for my interview, I think that (store) is one of the top things I remember about (downtown)," she said.
"Eugene has done a fantastic job of doing what we would like every downtown business owner to do, and that's to have a place where people can not only shop but experience what they're buying and spend time with family and friends," McKee said.
Regardless of what becomes of Stonebridge, Waara will continue to be part of the community. He lives in Longmont and serves as president of the Longmont Area Visitors Association.