Biz Buzz: Game design and retail store in Rexburg wants you to have an unforgettable experience

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BIZ BUZZ

REXBOURG

Game store in Rexburg provides fun experience for customers

Joseph Brower poses for a photo inside his store. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

REXBURG – Playing games is a popular pastime for many families while on vacation, and Joseph Brower of Rexburg is passionate about providing customers with original games and a space to play them.

Last December, he and his partners Stephen Gygi and Brian Grigsby opened Binary Cocoa, a game design, manufacture and retail store in the space behind the former New York Burrito at 10 South 1st East. in Rexburg.

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The company just celebrated its first anniversary and Brower noted the occasion in a Facebook post.

“A year ago today, we took our first step by opening a physical storefront. It has been quite an adventure, ”he wrote on the company’s Facebook page on December 2. “Without this incredible community, none of this would be possible. We love to see the gaming community grow and look forward to next year.

Brower and his partners currently have five original table games that they have designed and created, which are sold in the store and online. Three more are in the works, which should be available in the next 30 to 60 days. One of their most requested products is a game called Mondrian, which Brower describes as a mixture of Scrabble and Checkers. See how it works in the video player above.

The game has made it into the last four at the Ion Awards, the largest board game competition in the United States held annually in Utah at the SaltCon Board Game Convention.

Another popular title is a role-playing game in the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons called Shadow Brume. This is a haunted house escape game and is played on a 3ft by 3ft board. The team has a prototype for a portable version of the game that folds into a suitcase, which will soon be available to the public.

shadow mist
The board for Shadow Brume at Binary Cocoa. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

The trio also have an electronic arcade game in the works and offer laser tag rental equipment and laser printing services for businesses or individuals.

Brower has been interested in games since he was a child and started making them at the age of 14.

“A lot of the games here are ideas that I have had for a very long time, but I didn’t have the skills or the experience at the time to make them into anything meaningful,” Brower told EastIdahoNews.com.

Brower started professionally making games about 10 years ago and partnered with Gygi and Grigsby, who both live in Arizona, to open Binary Cocoa as an online company in 2019.

Brower says several things prompted them to open a physical store last year.

“One of the hardest things about designing a game is getting unbiased feedback. Your friends are always ready to try the games with you, but they don’t want to tell you harshly what’s wrong, ”he says.

Brower made the store available for people to come and play the games they made and provide feedback so they could refine it and turn it into a product people love.

Another reason for the storefront, Brower says, is to provide a different experience from other game stores and to make the shopping experience less intimidating.

“A lot of the games are (counterfeits of other counterfeit games),” says Brower. “One of our goals is to create unique games, not just those of other game developers, but even among our own games.”

Brower says Binary Cocoa is also a space where like-minded people can come together and enjoy interacting with each other.

binary cocoa showcase
Binary Cocoa is located at 10 South 1st East in Rexburg. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

The business concept is represented in the name.

“We knew we were going to make physical and digital games, so we thought about it, non-binary. And then we thought about chocolate because people say our games are cool, ”Brower says. “Binary chocolate didn’t convey (the whole idea), so we (proposed) cocoa.”

(The store has free cocoa available for people who come to play games).

Brower wants to host more community events in the future and is working to free up more space downstairs. He hopes to continue to provide a unique experience for customers.

“We’re trying to find gaps in what the gaming community wants and what the region offers,” he said. “We love to interact with the community. It is satisfying to see people come around to our ideas.

Binary Cocoa is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday by appointment. Visit the Facebook page or call (208) 656-3037.

BITS BIZ

Local bank provided capital to help create 73 new jobs in 2021

IDAHO FALLS – As businesses recover from the challenges induced by the COVID-19 recession, Idaho businesses are leading the pack – a phenomenon noted by AdvisorSmith, which recently ranked Idaho as State No. 1 for entrepreneurs in 2021.

This study examined more than 20 indicators of the health of the business environment, including the availability of finance, a factor that Zions Bank understands.

The bank ranked # 1 in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 7 (a) loan approvals to the SBA’s Boise District office in fiscal 2021, which ended on the 30th. September. Zions Bank provided capital to help grow 36 Idaho businesses with loans totaling over $ 8.2. million.

Earlier this year, the bank also approved nearly $ 80 million in loans from the SBA’s paycheck protection program in the state.

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