From the time he was a teenager working in his father's pharmacy, Mike Auricchio has held a lot of different jobs, from the automotive industry to the insurance industry to retail management.
Now, the 2002 Ward Melville graduate is fulfilling a dream he has had for eight years: opening his own business. Auricchio is getting ready to open the doors to his video gaming center, The Revolution, in Stony Brook on Sept. 1.
"A lot of people say follow your dreams, but they never do," he said. "Well, I’ve been talking a long time. It’s dream time."
The Revolution will offer both video game retail and a pay-to-play game room, filling what he hopes will be a dire need in town: a cool place for young people to hang out.
"That's what everyone said growing up – there was nothing to do around here," said Auricchio, 28, who still lives in Stony Brook.
The business is partly inspired by one of his own favorite places as a kid, Spaceplex, which closed not long after Sports Plus popped up in Lake Grove during the 1990s. And it's partly inspired by , where Auricchio briefly worked several years ago – a business model on which he thought he could improve.
Located next to on Route 25A, and formerly home to a Kaplan test prep center, The Revolution will feature several vintage arcade games, including "Marvel Vs. Capcom," "Mortal Kombat 2," "Virtual Cop 2," and more.
Auricchio has equipped the gaming center with a 120-inch pull-down projection screen, a 60-inch 3D TV system, and additional 60-inch TVs. Game systems will include Nintendo, Sega Saturn, xBox and xBox 360, Playstation and more. On the retail side, The Revolution will sell game systems, hard-to-find accessories, and apparell such as t-shirts and hats.
There will be tournaments.
"Let’s have fun. They’re video games, they’re meant for fun," Auricchio said. "Come in and play and have a good time."
When Auricchio was searching for a location to open his store, he said he checked out places from Lake Grove to Rocky Point and down to West Babylon before stumbling upon one right in his own back yard. Among the challenges he faced: finding a municipality that would allow him to open a game room, as some town codes don't allow them.
But not long ago, Auricchio said, he and his brother went to eat at Green Cactus and noticed the empty storefront next door: a place they had passed by many times, but never really took notice of until just then. Auricchio signed the lease on the 1,440-square-foot space on Aug. 10. The reality is just starting to hit him and he couldn't be happier, he said.
"Obviously running your own business is stressful and time consuming," he said, "but if it puts a smile on your face, why wouldn’t you want to do it every day?"