No matter what they’re unboxing, few people can say they’ve been opening things for other peoples’ entertainment for as long as Roman Grothaus has been. Better known as “SimplyUnlucky” within the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG community, Grothaus has been opening tins, unwrapping packs, and reviewing products for over 10 years now with a focus on Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. He accomplishing a long-time goal several months ago by opening an Official Tournament Store where he sells Yu-Gi-Oh! products and is able to host tournaments as a Konami-recognized venue. Just as he’s evolved his channel to keep up with viewers’ wants, he plans to keep expanding on his store to pursue more opportunities.
Grothaus had a booth set up at the Team YCS tournament for people to gather at during the two-day event where he and his team sold cards and signed some of those cards for fans. You could hear the occasional cry of “Oh baby!” – Grothaus’ signature phrase when he gets a good pull from a pack of cards – from around the booth as people opened looked through cards they’d just bought. The crowds hardly ever let up, so ComicBook.com caught up with Grothaus on Day 2 of the event before players and fans were able to congregate around the booth.
With nearly 550,000 subscribers by now, many of his viewers know he’s been at the unboxing game for a long time and has wanted to open a store for a while. The unboxing gig began as a hobby and eventually turned into a career when he realized he could share the excitement of pulling rare cards with the community. Unboxings weren’t unheard of at the time, but he realized there was room to build on the format.
“So we started out as just doing unboxings, and we noticed that no one really showed much excitement or enjoyment,” Grothaus said. “Even 10 years ago on YouTube or over 10 years ago now, there weren’t really unboxing channels yet. I maybe referenced one when I started my channel. And then after a while I realized no one even has a face cam on YouTube.”
He said he was one of the first to start using a face cam in his videos, and after seeing how successful it was, he looked for more ways to evolve.
“And then after a while I realized, well, let's change up the videos a little bit,” he continued. “When you create a new format, and just because we're opening something, it doesn't mean we just have to be opening something.”
Those changes took various forms like out-of-the-box duels, but one of the biggest catalysts for change happened when he opened the SimplyUnlucky Game Shop in Modesto, California. Aside from being a place to sell products, the store provided a venue for creating vlogs and hosting tournaments as well as a teachable moment for Grothaus.
“The store was a learning experience,” he said. “It started out as something that was always a dream, and then eventually, I found out it's also a big business decision. “Now we just take it one step every day, take it slow.”
Grothaus wants to expand, but not too quickly. The OTS can fit around 30 people in a tournament now, and the SimpyUnlucky team is careful not to overload the venue by promoting the events too much. He’s spoken with the owner of his building about expanding into the space around the shop and hopes to one day fit between 100-200 people in that venue. He’d also like to open up another store in Los Angeles and perhaps more after that.
“I think eventual goals – I've talked with Konami as well – I would love to have a store maybe in LA because that would just be a bigger hub and also Konami could connect with me a little more if we were able to be successful in that,” he said. “So, just maybe a couple more stores, and then eventually, however that works from there, just be more involved in the game and just continue to grow with the viewers, the fans, just Yu-Gi-Oh! players in general.”
Grothaus recorded plenty of videos at the Team YCS event and has started sharing some of it on his channel, so keep an eye on his YouTube channel for more of that content and to stay up to date on his plans for evolving his Yu-Gi-Oh! business further in the future.
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