Calling all collectors: Category One Games has just what you’ve been looking (and looking and looking and looking) for.
Category One specializes in out-of-print collectible card games. From Star Wars to Lord of the Rings, they host over 160 games on their site.
“No other online or physical game store carries a large selection of out-of-print games,” Scott Church, founder of Category One, said. “Our customer base are fans of these various card and miniature games. There are still plenty of people who still want to enjoy their hobbies, but don’t have any other way of picking up new cards to play or collect.”
The collection Church built attracts thousands of people each year, but it didn’t happen overnight. Church has collected vintage cards and games his whole life – buying and selling cards locally until eBay and online sales became an option that opened up his business to new customers.
“I was able to pay my way through school by selling old cards, and eventually buying and flipping new cards,” he said. “This led to eventually buying a website and starting this business.”
That was nearly 20 years ago. In the intervening time, Church had a lot going on. Personally, he got married and had three kids. His career took many turns, too – he taught middle and then high school before taking a job in accounting for a few years.
In 2020, many people were forced to stay at home because of COVID-19. Gaming and collectibles saw a huge spike in interest during this time period and Church saw a huge boost to his business.
“We saw our sales triple that year,” he said. “My son started working with me while he was out of school, and now he’s my right-hand man.”
By 2021, his side hustle had grown enough to launch a full-time venture. Then in fall 2023, he enrolled in the Master of Business Creation program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business this year in an effort to keep the growth going.
“When I heard about the program, I knew I wanted to be part of it,” he said. “As an entrepreneur, you want some guidance, but don’t know where to look. This program gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off other founders and teachers with years of experience.”
All his coursework has been applicable to Category One Games in some way, whether it’s bolstering his startup or refining his business acumen.
“The MBC program feels like we’re in a CEO bootcamp,” he said. “We are learning skills that would help us step into any company and know how to be competent in every area we’d need to manage.”
Soon, Church will have added an additional 20 new games to the site – and that’s just the start of his plans for expansion. His cohort has been a big part of his renewed success.
“I’ve updated my marketing approach and implemented ideas brought up by my fellow students that have made a positive impact on my business,” Church said.
Learn more about Category One Games at categoryonegames.com.