Galaxy Gaming plans new location

July 24, 2018

This piece was submitted by the South Dakota Small Business Development Center. 

Galaxy Gaming is planning its third and biggest move since opening in 2005.

The video gaming and laser combat center will move this winter across Interstate 29 — from leased space near the Cinemark Century movie theater to its own building along the west side of the freeway.

“We’re going from renting to owning and from a B-minus location to a B-plus location,” said Max Kaftanati, owner and general manager of Galaxy Gaming. Business space will expand immediately from about 8,000 to 9,000 square feet. To accommodate the possible need for more space, the new building will have the capacity for a second floor to be added later.

Galaxy Gaming is based at 3801 W. 34th St. Its new location will be just north of the corner of 39th Street and Mayfair Drive, next to the Baymont Inn. Dirt work has started. Building construction is expected to begin soon.

Galaxy Gaming’s existing center includes 30 gaming computers and about 30 Xbox One stations. The new building will allow the center to significantly expand its laser combat arena, which is a popular attraction for groups, Kaftanati said. The new arena will be multilevel and feature a completely new design. Laser tag equipment also is being upgraded. New guns will feature multiple game-play scenarios. Reality gaming also is an increasingly popular attraction, Kaftanati said.

Kaftanati’s business started along West Burnside Street in 2005 and moved two years later to 57th Street and Louise Avenue. It moved again about three years later to its present location.

“We’ve had some challenges, just like any business, but it was a fun journey,” Kaftanati said. “This is something I have a passion for and love doing, so it’s the business we’re in.”

Kaftanati’s wife, Mariya, co-owns the business and is among its eight employees.

Kaftanati has had an interesting business journey, said Mark Slade, regional director of the South Dakota Small Business Development Center in Sioux Falls. Slade and the SBDC have been helping Kaftanati with business plans and budgets, on and off, since 2005.

“He’s faced a lot of hurdles as an entrepreneur, growing and outgrowing spaces,” Slade said. “He’s a great example of someone who immigrated to the United States and dreamed of owning a business.”

Kaftanati, 40, was born in Germany but is of Russian descent. He attended college in Hungary, but he has lived in the United States since 2000. He worked for a transportation company before setting out in business. He has slowly built up his company, and he hopes to keep growing it, Slade said.

“Mark has been extremely helpful over the years,” Kaftanati said. “Every time there was a need for a business plan, he’d help me.”

The SBDC offers consulting in areas such as business plans and financial projections. The agency’s network of offices and programs also can provide specialized advice in areas such as government contracting, manufacturing processes and international trade.

Most recently, Kaftanati resumed working with the SBDC in 2016. He explored leasing and remodeling space but decided to build. He has secured a U.S. Small Business Administration loan with backing from Cornerstone Bank in Sioux Falls and the First District Development Company in Watertown.

Steve Natz of Natz Commercial Real Estate helped Kaftanati find a new location.

“We like the site because it’s got 40,000-plus cars driving by it every day,” Natz said. “It’s visible from the freeway. It’s easy in, easy out from 41st Street, and it’s close to Lake Lorraine,” which is a growing commercial area.

The computer gaming center targets families with children and businesses for group outings, as well as young adults who enjoy competition and excitement in a high-tech atmosphere.

“For the younger crowd, we’re the only fun business in town that’s open all night long on weekends,” Kaftanati said.

Austin McGraw of Sioux Falls is among the center’s loyal customers. The 29-year-old bank loan servicer has been going to Galaxy Gaming for 12 or 13 years.

“It has a very welcoming environment,” McGraw said. “It’s a fun place to be, a boredom buster.”

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Galaxy Gaming plans new location

Galaxy Gaming is planning its third and biggest move since opening in 2005.

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