GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Wood-N-Cloth, a clothing and woodworking boutique, opened just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of economic hardships, that business closed. Now Team VR is open in its place. The new business, owned by the same family that opened the boutique, offers people the chance to play virtual reality games in a safe and clean environment.
Every morning, Candy Murphy stands in a private gaming space in her new store. Even though she’s happy about her new virtual reality business, it started out as a boutique.
“Wood-N-Cloth opened in October,” Murphy said. “It takes a while to get the ball rolling. I had been online, gone to all of the art fairs to sell and was doing fairly well. We opened in October and went through the process of Facebook advertisements, friends, family, and all of that stuff. I was getting to the place here people would walk in and tell me they drove by and saw me, I wanted to come shopping, I saw you on Facebook and we were really getting out there,” Murphy recalled.
“Just like so many people, COVID came and we had to close down. My most important wish was that I wanted that one on one personality opportunity to be with people, to get to know them. So, I was super excited about not selling online, but to have a store. That way, I can have that interaction. Having Wood-N-Cloth gave me that,” said Murphy.
From that need to serve people, another idea was born. This time not so much wood working and clothes, but games and virtual reality.
“There’s not very many things for families and teenagers to do in the Gulfport, Mississippi area,” Murphy said. “We wanted to come up with something fun and safe, because of the COVID times, so we came up with Team VR.”
Team VR offers people a space to play virtual reality games. For those of you that are in the dark about VR games, these aren’t like your everyday video game.
“When you play on a VR headset, it’s right here and in any direction you look, you’re in the game. It’s a whole 360 view. It will bring you environments that you could never see in real life. Or it could bring you to environments you could see in real life, but can’t go to especially now due to COVID,” said Team VR Manager Derek Murphy.
Even with COVID regulations dictating how businesses operate, Murphy says that Team VR is ready to deliver.
“The stations, each of them are in a six-by-six area. You can play right next to someone and not really come into that six foot rule that they have. While you’re in the game, we have several games that are really active, boxing games, music games, you can work up a sweat and burn some calories for sure,” Murphy said.
VR is a relatively new gaming idea, so you don’t have to have experience playing to enjoy your time at Team VR.
“You just come as you are and we have all of the equipment here that is needed to play. We will hook you up, give you a quick walk-through, and you’re good to go,” Murphy told WLOX.