BUSINESS

Aledo awards TIF loan to new business

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Bob Pople sits at a computer station that shows the LAN Archy Gaming Center.

Robert C. Pople, owner of PC Works in Aledo is opening up a new entity – LAN Archy Gaming Center, at his current location at 221 East Main, St., Suite 1, Aledo. He will continue PC Works, offering technical support to computer owners, but plans to bring the 21st century to Aledo by offering a place for PC gamers to gather.

The Aledo City Council agreed to give Pople a $10,000 Tax Increment Financing loan Monday, Aug. 3, 2009 to purchase equipment that includes systems, software, licensing plus a printer and chairs.

The loan agreement is for four percent interest to be repaid over 10 years.

Pople plans to open LAN Archy Gaming Center in September. “We’re not going to open until we’re ready,” he added. He has a web site to update the progress of the gaming center at www.lanarchygc.com.

He said the gaming stations will be open to the public prior to the 3 p.m. start time for LAN Archy, so people can come in and for a reasonable price use the computers for research. He plans to charge $5 an hour. There will also be a $20 all-day pass. “While it is youth oriented, it is open to the public. It’s not a youth center. It’s a public gaming center,” he said.

There are rules that need to be followed. “No drinking, no drugs, no bullying,” he said. “People will be able to be here and be safe, no matter what age.”

The gaming center will offer memberships for $85 a year that will include lots of perks. For instance he has affiliated with Happy Joe’s Pizza to offer gaming center members a free pizza every other month using a fuel card punch system. On the opposite months I’ll offer free time for gaming,” he said.

Gaming is a big part of many people’s agenda. “World of Warcraft is one popular game. It has 11 million users that pay $14.99 a month. Individuals using interactive games can play either individually or at a gaming center.

Pople said he has already talked to a number of parents who plan to use his center as a reward for doing chores.

The bonus of a gaming center is it is a social atmosphere. With one scenario six people could come together and go on a quest.

Plans are to have six game cubicles set up with 32-inch screens, optical mice, along with the systems, gaming headsets and microphones. Pople is going to be offering age appropriate games, including action simulations, role playing and strategy games. “I plan to partner with igames.org. Gamers can play either single player games or on-line. “We’ll have several hundred games.”

He said that gaming centers license with a number of companies to offer the games.

Pople has been at his new location since April and has had the gaming center idea percolating in his mind for the past three years. He credits a couple of friends of his with coming up with the name. “It’s been their dream to open a gaming center. I decided to run with it.”

In addition to offering a place for teens, he forsees that this may also appeal to older adults looking to use a computer. He even can set up the station with an optimized large letter keyboard.

He plans to host tournaments and plans to partner with “like minded organizations” that are interested in giving youth positive alternatives for hanging out.

He sees his business as one that would have an appeal for birthday parties and other gatherings, like Proms. Or opening it up for a fund-raiser for different groups.