“Stoke on Trent is a great place to start a local business” says Rhys Davey, one of the owners of XPVR Virtual Reality Experience based on Piccadilly in Stoke-on-Trent City Centre.

Since opening in July 2019, the attraction has grown in popularity due to attracting a wide audience that want something different to do. The attraction says it has recruited an additional 4 employees in order to operate more effectively due to demand, bringing the total team to 8. The new team are predominantly students from Staffordshire University studying Games Design and E-Sports. "Our new team is brilliant and we're really pleased with how they are adding to our business with their knowledge in gaming and E-Sports." says Lewis Armstrong, Co-founder of XPVR.

The attraction says it has plans to expand its entertainment offer to increase the number of virtual reality games and escape game experiences that are available as well as scheduling events such as tournaments and social evenings

Business partners Rhys Davey and Lewis Armstrong opened the city centre venue back in July 2019. The two entrepreneurs live locally in Tunstall, saying they spotted a niche in the leisure market and decided to open their business in Stoke on Trent to 'offer something different'.

The venue’s city center location was important to the entrepreneurs and wasn’t without risk warns Rhys. At a time businesses around the country are struggling and high street stores are feeling the pinch, making the move to open an independently owned virtual reality leisure attraction in Hanley was ‘one of the riskiest things we’ve ever done’ adds Lewis.

“We have been very busy with birthday parties and corporate team building events for nearby businesses, but have plans to expand on this and expand our packages further in the next 12 months" says Rhys. "I think Stoke on Trent in general is on the up. As a city we have lots of great things to offer locals and tourists. The support from locals and initiatives like the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID has been fantastic"

The tech entrepreneurs were encouraged by the networking and support for local businesses in the area, as well as the city being voted one of the top 10 UK cities to start a business back in November 2019 - beating the likes of London, Liverpool and Manchester. The Stoke-on-Trent City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) represents over 430 city centre businesses and organisations with the aim of transforming Stoke-On-Trent City Centre by improving experiences and standards for investors, visitors, workers and residents alike through various events and initiatives.

Richard Buxton, BID Manager, says:

"XP-VR is an incredibly valuable addition to the High Street and brings something totally new and exciting to the area. Piccadilly is now a hive of entertainment, thanks to local business owners like Rhys and Lewis and the street is lined with great venues, restaurants and bars too - making it the ultimate destination for people wanting to sample the extensive offering that Stoke-on-Trent has to offer."

The success of starting their business in the city is down to several factors adds Rhys “We’ve focused on offering something completely different and providing immersive activities for players to experience together. We wanted to add to the city centre attractions and believe the future of Stoke on Trent is very promising”.

Prices for virtual reality experiences start from £5 per player and more information can be found on the attraction's website online at www.xpvr.co.uk.




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