Jake Bainton was 17 when he took his passion project before the Carson City Planning Commission.
That was in August of last year. When he received project approval, people in the audience clapped. A new entertainment option for Carson City youth was in the works.
On Jan. 24, Bainton gave the Nevada Appeal a tour of that project. System’s Edge is a virtual reality arcade located at 1087 S. Carson Street. It offers eight advanced gaming stations and a lounge on the second floor where people can socialize and study.
Still 17 — and scheduled to receive his high school diploma this spring — Bainton is steeped in a new reality: running a small business.
“Self-accountability and organization are some things that opening a small business teaches you,” Bainton said.
Bainton said as the business owner, various taxes have kept him engaged and learning.
“Roadblocks are tough,” he said. “You learn about systems interacting with them closely.”
Since the arcade’s soft opening in late December, customers have streamed in, Bainton said. The arcade’s target demographic is high schoolers and college students, but adults have been playing, too.
“Parents come in and try it out, and they absolutely love it. They have a blast,” Bainton said.
Word-of-mouth has helped attract customers. Patrons of Red’s Old 395 Grill, which sits near the arcade, occasionally check it out. Bainton and friends also have been handing out promotional cards at game shops and other places teenagers congregate. They plan to post flyers at Western Nevada College.
Their entrepreneurial spirit is apparent in other ways. The systems in the arcade are custom built and integrated with hand-tracking controllers. System’s Edge Manager Jayson Kareck, 24, provided the proprietary software. Bainton used his college fund from his grandmother for start-up costs.
Now, with a sizeable suite to manage, Bainton is monitoring operating costs as revenues climb. He admits the business has a skeleton crew right now, but he’s optimistic about adding employees. He said growth will depend on demand.
“It’s a good place to start,” he said, adding he wants the business to be self-sufficient.
For pricing, Bainton researched comparable rates of other virtual reality arcades. Customers at System’s Edge can purchase half an hour on a system for $15, or an hour for $20. Bainton said pricing involved “a lot of math related to how much it costs us to be here.”
At the heart of the enterprise is a desire to give Carson City youth a place to call their own. Bainton said the arcade will host tournaments and community events. Patrons can rent out the suite for parties. Two dozen games offer multiplayer and single-player options. The business also has snacks and soft drinks.
“Fostering community is a big part of it,” Bainton said.
He hopes the arcade appeals to “clique-less kids,” those who don’t neatly fit into categories.
“This place is so ripe for community growth,” he added.
Regular business hours for System’s Edge are 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, visit, https://www.systemsedgecafe.com/
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