A couple of years ago, Graham Conway-Doel, a Baptist Minister of 25 years, was exploring different
options for investing a lumpsum of money. He already had a pension and exposure to stocks and
shares but really wanted to find an ethical investment that allowed him to put something back into
the community. He looked a property and the potential to become a ‘good’ landlord but wasn’t
convinced this route would help enough people.
In his search, he came across Geek Retreat. He had played Dungeons & Dragons but wouldn’t really
describe himself as a ‘Geek’. He very quickly recognised that the stores offered something unique to
the local community and have a real impact on customers’ well-being. After spending time with his
wife visiting stores and seeing the Geek Retreat experience firsthand, he knew he believed in the
proposition and, as a result, took on the franchise of Harrogate 18 months ago. This was quickly
followed by two more stores, and Graham Conway-Doel is now the owner of Geek Retreat Wakefield, Harrogate and Leeds .
Graham regards his stores not just as businesses, but something that supports many different
people, from 18 people he employs, their families and the hundreds of loyal customers that visit to
make friends, feel safe and be part of a community. The inclusiveness of the stores when it comes
to different groups such as the LBGTQ community is also very important to him.
Taking on three franchises has been a big challenge for Graham, but one he has relished. He
describes the support he has from Geek Retreat HQ as very supportive and positive. The franchise
model works very well, with products and events provided centrally and regular meetings with the
Franchise Success Team. Help and advice is there if he needs it.
All three of Graham’s stores are enjoying growth, with turn-over on the right trajectory. He said:
“Geek Retreat has been a blast. The Franchise Support Team have been super-helpful and I really do
feel part of a bigger business but one where I can put more back into the community by providing
safe, inclusive, friendly and fun places for people from all walks of life – this was the number one
priority for me.”