MADISON - A Madison man is generating interest in a business that he hopes will steer area youth away from drug use and give them something positive to focus on.
"My life has been affected by those close to me who have struggled with addiction," Vince Moore said. "I think that sometimes the loved ones are unfortunately left with a lot of pain. My hope is to provide something locally that can help our youth focus on something positive."
Moore, 21, is a 2016 graduate of Chapmanville High and a resident of Madison, where he also works at a local convenience store.
Moore, who has developed a business plan said that since he was 10 years old, he dreamed of having an arcade-inspired business that would host gaming tournaments, a small laser tag course and at some point, affordable hot food to clientele.
"I've thought about it for 10 years," he said. "I wanted a place like that as a kid and we had nothing like that. I approached the city council in Chapmanville about doing something like this and they shot me down when I was 16. They said I was too young."
Armed with a business license, Moore is seeking private investors to review his business plan. He intends to approach the Boone County Commissioners and the Madison City Council - not for financial support, but for a nod of support for his idea and for feedback.
Moore has reached out to the Boone County Community & Economic Development Corporation via email and is looking for guidance as a first-time business owner.
The self-described "gamer" hopes to secure $45,000 in total from multiple investors and has a plan to repay it plus interest in three years.
"I realize the state of the local economy is down, but I'm confident in my ability to reach our youth and offer something unique," he said. "I've done my research and I have a good business model."
Moore said his mother will participate in the endeavor, making the business family operated. He said each member of the staff, including himself, will have extensive background checks to ensure parents of their positive history.
"I work hard for my money and I am responsible," he said. "I want to do this right and I want it to be something that the community is proud of."
Moore has been examining potential locations in Madison that have the square footage and higher ceilings that would support bouncy equipment for younger children.
Initially, hot food won't be served, but he wants to move toward a small, focused restaurant style menu that would appeal to young people.
"Freaks, Geeks & More" is the business name registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State office in Moore's name.
"We will have monthly XBox tournaments so we will keep kids involved," he said. "We'll have a limited number of traditional arcade games like Pac Man, including smaller ones for the younger kids."
If a location cannot be secured that can accommodate bouncy equipment, Moore said that specific days of the month will be used for setting up the equipment outside at a meager cost for kids to enjoy.
From the law enforcement perspective, Madison Police Chief Chet Burgess said that his department supports any endeavor that would steer children and teenagers away from drugs and the activities that sometimes come with drug abuse.
"I'm absolutely for the idea and I commend him for trying to make a difference," Burgess said. "We'll definitely be there to do walk through or assist in any way we can, just like we'd do for any business in Madison. My hope is that the community would be able to support it so that as a business, it could see a profit and be successful. I admire his desire to do something positive for our community."
Contact Moore at email@example.com or by phone at 304-307-2025.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter