Electronic, Game Businesses Thrive on East Side
ST. CLOUD -- Josh Nelson has had a passion for gadgets since childhood. He started his first e-Bay store, buying and selling electronics, when he was in third grade.
Nowadays, Nelson, with the help of seven employees, runs a pair of eclectic, if not slightly hidden, businesses on St. Cloud's East Side. He's gearing up to open another on New Year's Day.
LGS Electronics, located at 44 14th Avenue Northeast, fixes and sells phones, televisions, computers and other equipment. Next-door neighbor Lewis Game Shop sells video games, board games, toys, records and other collectibles. After operating under the LGS name for the better part of a decade, Nelson recently split the 5,000 sq. ft. space into two separate stores.
"For people who come in on the game side, they'll see the people working on that side are just all about video games and toys - they're very knowledgeable about that stuff," Nelson says. "Then on the other side, those guys are going to be more knowledgeable about cell phones and repairing stuff. It's really hard to find one person who can be knowledgeable about both."
Despite the varied inventory, Nelson says he has a simple method for pricing products and services.
"For the game store, when we price, we're looking at the open market - Amazon, e-Bay, Facebook Marketplace - as opposed to retail," Nelson explains. "For repairs, we just charge $40 for labor, plus the cost of the part. Most shops charge $80-90."
"We operate in so many different areas - we can afford to make less money on each."
Nelson's plan seems to be working. He's opening another Lewis Game Shop in downtown Monticello on January 1, with long-range plans to keep opening more "destination" stores.
"I have a guy that comes down from Canada about once a month to shop at our store because we're the closest store to him that's like this," Nelson says. "People driving up from the Twin Cities to the cabin in Brainerd will usually stop in. Honestly, I don't really think it really matters where we are. I think, eventually, the people who want help with their electronics or are looking for retro video games - they'll find us."
LGS Electronics and Lewis Game Shop are open every day from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.