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Success stories

‘Game on’ for college friends who launched retro business venture in the heart of Wrexham

Kyle Oliver and Charlie Hughes

In January 2024, best friends Kyle Oliver and Charlie Hughes joined forces to open Retrograde Wrexham’s doors to the public for the first time, thanks to the support of Business Wales.

Within a month of trading the duo were already exploring new ways of developing the business further, as they consistently exceeded daily profit goals and secured £3,000 turnover in a matter of weeks.

Alongside expanding the café’s arcade offering to four retro gaming machines, the partners have sourced second-hand equipment from local businesses that will allow them to broaden the café menu with home-made pizzas and a variety of bubble teas.

Charlie Hughes said:

I’ve always dreamed of running my own gaming café, but never actually considered following it through until October 2023. I have worked as a barista for local companies for several years and recently started specialising in gaming and console repair. I received a number of older consoles and arcade hardware from a client after finishing a job. Sourcing these retro games is quite difficult, so when they landed in my lap it seemed like a sign. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. That’s when I partnered with Kyle.

Instantly agreeing to help his best friend to accomplish his entrepreneurial dreams, Kyle reached out to Business Wales in December 2023 for advice on how they could make the café a reality. Exploring the service’s online resources led to Kyle joining a live tax and bookkeeping webinar run by Business Wales Advisor, Lee Stephens.

Following an initial conversation in the webinar, Lee provided Kyle with information on business rates, locations in Wrexham, local and government resources and documents for funding schemes, as well as paperwork for the Green Growth and Equality Pledges. In January, Kyle and Charlie secured a spot in Wrexham’s popular Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre. Having previously been a café, it had all the amenities necessary and, placed in a popular spot, heavy footfall which played a big role in the business’ first month success.

Thanks to the support Lee has provided through Business Wales, Kyle has been able to develop the entrepreneurial skills needed to grow the business, which has allowed co-owner Charlie to be able to leave full time employment and focus on the in-house development of Retrograde Wrexham.

Kyle Oliver said:

I’d heard about the support of Business Wales through companies I’d worked with in the past, but never expected to have as much support as I have had over such a short timeframe. Days after meeting, Lee reached out with countless resources and documents on everything from securing a premises to food hygiene certification and employment. Lee helped us to develop a business plan and growth strategy, and even signposted us to funding opportunities, which we’re keen to explore further.

I had never considered co-owning a business, but put myself up for the challenge to help my friend to achieve his entrepreneurial dreams. It has been a challenge, as I work full time as a software engineer, but the support from Lee and Business Wales has made the process much simpler. We would never have had the success we’ve had to-date if it wasn’t for them.

Their plan for the coming year is to expand the café’s menu and gaming offering further, with hopes of growing Retrograde Wrexham’s profit margins enough to employ another staff member.

Lee Stephens said:

It has been brilliant to watch Retrograde Wrexham turn from a handful of hard drives and a dream, into a fully operational business in a popular premises. Kyle and Charlie would never have had the success they’ve had if Kyle hadn’t harnessed every element of support we have to offer, from our tailored one-on-one meetings to online resources and webinars. We hope Kyle and Charlie’s story is testament to how advice and support is on offer to anyone who reaches out.

Business Wales is funded by the Welsh Government. For more information and support to help you plan, launch and develop your business, and to speak to a specialist advisor, contact Business Wales. 

Visit or call 03000 6 03000. Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg / we welcome calls in Welsh.

Business Wales Helpline

03000 6 03000

Lines are open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau’n Gymraeg.
We welcome calls in Welsh.