“All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”  

Those are the words of author and business strategist Max McKeown, and those words have never been more true than during a pandemic. 

The COVID-19 pandemic that spread across the United States in 2020 forced many businesses to adapt in order to survive. That especially held true for small businesses, which were among the hardest hit. For some, surviving the pandemic meant putting expansion on hold, and altering the vision for the business’s future.  

Such was the case for Christopher Lewis, owner of Part Time Gamers. Christopher turned a few game sales from his personal collection into a gaming retail store that he ran from his home. The business became official in April 2020, selling games for a variety of console systems.  

He began selling in stores on eBay and Amazon, but he soon created his own website, www.parttimegamersstore.com. Christopher started by selling from his vast personal collection, then he purchased more inventory to sell.  

Within months, he had more than $14,000 in sales.  

“I think that’s pretty good for a one-person operation,” he said.  

Soon, Christopher had another goal. He wanted to move into a brick-and-mortar location. The question was, would it be the right timing and the right decision for his business?  

About the same time, the announcement came for new game consoles that would arrive in time for holiday shopping. For Part Time Gamers to sell the latest consoles at a good profit margin, he would need financial assistance to purchase the consoles in bulk to get a better discount 

With multiple choices available, Christopher needed assistance to determine the best path for the future of his business. He turned to Communities Unlimited.  

Christopher was referred to Communities Unlimited by Higher Purpose, a Mississippi-based nonprofit that connects small businesses with a variety of resources.  

Christopher consulted with the Lending team at Communities Unlimited and was able to create financial projections for the building purchase and for the console purchases. He applied for a Microloan to assist with the building acquisition and a Reboot Loan to purchase inventory. 

After reviewing his financial projections with Lending Associate Kevin Tillman, it was determined that purchasing the building at that time wouldn’t be best for his business. With the COVID-19 crisis in full swing, bringing customers in to a new physical location would be impossible, because all non-essential locations in his area had been forced to close 

Instead, Christopher decided to concentrate on building his business from home and getting on more solid financial ground before moving to a physical location. 

COVID-19 Reboot

He decided to work solely to apply for the Reboot Loan, one of the products introduced by Communities Unlimited in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The loan is designed to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs who want to introduce a new product or service in response to COVID-19. 

Just 20 days after his application was submitted, Christopher was awarded a $10,000 Reboot Loan to purchase the consoles and other inventory in time for the Christmas shopping rush.  

“That Reboot Loan was perfect for that purpose of gathering the inventory and the products I needed to get them out there,” he said.  

He was able to purchase several of the latest consoles in bulk at discounted prices, which meant a better profit margin for him. He also set aside some of the money for the latest PlayStation and Xbox systems expected to be released in November. Those systems are expected to top the list of big-ticket, hot items for Christmas sales.  

Christopher said the Reboot Loan was the perfect solution for his business and an easy process, thanks in part to Kevin’s guidance.  

“It was a very smooth experience. I enjoyed it. Kevin guided me through the process from start to finish,” Christopher said. 

Thanks to a loan and financial assistance from Communities Unlimited, Christopher is now able to offer what is expected to be a hot-ticket item to customers looking for entertainment while staying safely at home.