Video gamers have a new place to call home in Alexander City.
Respawn Arcade, Pinball and E-Sports officially opened for business Friday, September 23.
After nearly a year in development, the business’ open sign now glows along downtown, revitalizing an entertainment venue that has been absent in Alexander City for years.
As owners James and Jessica Duncan welcomed their first customers Friday afternoon, both nervousness and excitement rushed over them.
“I'm just nervous because that's just me whenever I'm doing anything that's unknown because I know we've put so much time and effort in, but I'm also looking around and I'm proud because it didn't seem like a year ago that it would turn out so much better than I hoped,” Jessica said.
Much like the name itself, the duo have given a respawned life to a part of Alexander City. Over the past year, the couple have poured love and sweat into the arcade that now sits at 148 Calhoun Street, completely renovating a building which previously housed a pawn shop.
“We've been working on it since last Thanksgiving, and I mean, we've taken two inches of plaster and drywall off and we have all new floors and new lighting. It literally has been gutted and completely redone,” Jessica said.
Get Exclusive Members Only Newsletters
Sign up for our Free Newsletters
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
On the polished new floors sit a plethora of games spanning traditional arcade machines, skee ball, air hockey, shuffleboard and modern video game consoles.
For those excited to jump in, the arcade will operate Monday through Saturday, with Sunday reserved for private gatherings. Store hours have yet to be determined, as the couple is still gauging attendance.
Admissions will operate around all-day wristbands for all age groups. Prices will fluctuate throughout the week, with wristbands costing $8 Monday through Thursday. On weekends, admission ranges with $15 adults and $8 for 11 years of age and under.
The couple will house only certain games initially, but hope to expand the arcade with new games over time depending on the public interest, including potentially eSports tournaments and virtual reality.
“It will depend on people coming and supporting business, which we will reinvest in new games. When it was in our basement, it was about what we wanted, but now we're looking at what people want to play. So, it's all based on what the customers want,” the couple said.
No matter the interest, gamers can be sure to find their favorite video games and the Duncans at Respawn Arcade for the foreseeable future.
“We're willing to do as much as the people want to and we can invest a lot into it. We want people to show up and have fun,” Jesscia said. “Like how it looks and feels, it’s somewhere I'd want to hang out, which is good because we're gonna be here a lot.”