The Gamesmen at Penshurst has “ridden the roller coaster” and overcome huge odds to achieve a remarkable feat.
Australia’s first and longest running independent video games retailer celebrated 35 years in business on Saturday.
In reaching this milestone, the business had to overcome the loss of co-founder Angelo Cusumano, who died after being shot during a hold-up of the store in 1995.
It has also had to deal with massive technology changes and fierce competition from some very big players.
The Gamesmen is still owned and operated by the Cusumano family – Angelo’s widow Mary, who lives at Illawong, and their sons, Angelo Jr, Daniel and Chris.
Angelo Cusumano Jnr said the business had survived in a tough environment because, “We give customers what they want – not just an extensive product range and competitive price, but real service”.
“We have ridden the roller coaster and are still going strong.”
Mr Cusumano said the business had evolved, with online sales a modern form of the mail orders his father developed in a big way.
The Gamesmen stocks new releases across all platforms, as well as an extensive retro collection, and claims to be the only independent retailer to have ongoing relationships with major suppliers such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.
Angelo Cusumano Snr was an electrician, who worked part-time as a waiter at the Conca D’oro function centre in Riverwood, when he teamed up with another waiter, Sebastian Giompaolo, to start the business.
They began selling games at market stalls, including Caringbah, and opened a store in Bonds Road, Riverwood, before moving to Forest Road, Penshurst, in 1988.
Other stores were opened in Wollongong and Penrith, but did not survive.
Mr Cusumano said, after his father’s death, his mother was determined to keep the business in family ownership, and he joined it when he finished school.
His brothers Daniel and Chris are now the managers.
Daniel Cusumano said, “We have strived against all odds and we’ve never given up”.
“[That determination] is instilled in our family and in the entire Gamesmen team.”
Chris Cusumano said, “It still excites me to be the underdog, to wake up each morning and take on the big guys.”