NeonBomb is a great small business in southeast Manchester located at 260 Mammoth Road. It’s run by three business partners – Jeff Normandin, Jason Paige, and Christian Porter. They specialize in a vast selection of retro video games, manga, comic books and card fighting games such as Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and many others. Their store has just about anything that may pique your interest, from POP Vinyl figurines to stuffed animals and books. They have some great events and tournaments almost every day, or you can play your own games on their many playing tables. Check out their event calendar for learning to play Magic Events – and my favorite, board game night.
Photo slideshow by Mackenzie Shepard
I recently sat down with one of the owners, Jeff Normandin, to get some insights on NeonBomb, and the scope of the business:
Q: How did you get the idea and concept for Neonbomb?
Jeff: Growing up, we loved playing video games and reading comics. We wanted a place where people of the same interests could congregate and play the games we love, in a safe and judgment-free environment. When we first started the company on Amherst Street it was originally called Neotokyo and as we moved to different locations we eventually changed the name to what it is today, Neonbomb.
Q: To what do you attribute your success?
Jeff: We believe it’s our selection, pricing, and availability of retro games that have given us an edge. Our online store lets you search our huge inventory of both video and board games, manga, graphic novels, and card fighting games, which we just recently expanded availability into Canada, and we are looking to eventually expand our offering to other countries in the future. In fact, Gamestop frequently sends customers to us since we are the only ones that have those specific connectors to make your older systems work, older games for NES, Genesis, and N64.
Q: What is the biggest mistake you have made in this business that you have learned the most from?
Jeff: I’d have to say figuring out what the customers want. We would always try and find the next big thing to bring in and sell, and come to find out no one would be interested in that product at all. Since we have been here for a while, we now have a better idea of what our customers are truly looking for.
Q: What do you do to give back to the community?
Jeff: For the last three years we have teamed up with extra-life.org. Every November we have a 24-hour game day, which has allowed us to donate money to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, to help the fight against cancer.
Q: If you could start the company from scratch what would you do differently?
Jeff: I think we would have tried to have found a more suitable location. Luckily, as we have grown we have been able to expand to different parts of the city. When we were on Taylor Street it was a decent location but we had hardly any parking, which can be difficult if you are planning an event. The location we are at now has lots of parking and we have been able to add more playing tables for our customers.
Q: Where do you hope to see your business in the next 5-10 years?
Jeff: We still would like to locate to a bigger place, which would allow us to offer different types of tournaments. Right now we only do card fighting and board games, but we would love to be able to have an area with game consoles set up and we can have video game tournaments like Super Smash Brothers and stuff like that.
Q: How do you feel you stand out from the online retailers?
Jeff: Having a place where you can meet up with your friends and socialize play games and just hang out. It’s that experience that online retailers like Amazon will never be able to duplicate, and that’s what really sets up apart.
Q: If you have one piece of advice to someone just starting out as a business owner what would it be?
Jeff: I would have to say to really know what your market is and who your target customers are, and ask yourself how you are going to stand out.
Q: What do you want the readers of this article to know about Neonbomb?
Jeff: We try our best to be a customer- and family-friendly atmosphere, we are very knowledgeable in all facets of what we sell and we know most of our customers on a first-name basis, and we will always treat you like part of our family.
So if you are into games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic The Gathering, anime, manga, comic books and pop culture, check out Neonbomb. You can also find them at conventions around the area such as Granite State Comicon, and Queen City Kamikaze. Also be sure to check out their amazing selection of Japanese candy and treats!
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NeonBomb is located at 260 Mammoth Road, Manchester. Phone: (603) 505-8098.
Store hours: MONDAY: CLOSED; TUESDAY – SUNDAY: 12-8 p.m.
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