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WQAD.com

Davenport esports arena closing its doors

Steve Grubbs owns Paradigm in Davenport. He said the past two years, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, forced his decision to close.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A downtown Davenport warehouse, which was converted into an esports and virtual reality arena, is closing its doors for good. 

"It’s been a difficult time to be in the location-based entertainment business," said Steve Grubbs.

Grubbs owns Paradigm in Davenport. He said the past two years, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, forced his decision to close. He said a struggling business model did not help, either.

"It was always on the edge of making money, not quite making money and then COVID hit this year and of course for the most of the year we’ve taken some fairly significant losses," Grubbs said.

Grubbs opened Paradigm in August 2018 on East 2nd Street in Davenport. But, forces out of his control left Grubbs no choice.

"All of downtown davenport was flooded in the spring of 2019 so we were shut down for about a month and a half and that cost tens of thousands of dollars to get back up and running, and then 2020 we got hit by COVID," Grubbs said.

But even after hosting the first esports match between Iowa State and the University of Iowa, Grubbs said he still needed some more luck.

"People are doing more in their homes and less outside their homes," Grubbs said.

Now, Grubbs is moving on from Paradigm, but will continue his other virtual reality business ventures, which include consulting, e-commerce and corporate training companies.

"You win some, you lose some and sometimes you have to figure out when to cut your losses," Grubbs said. "And this was one of those moments."

Grubbs is selling everything in the building.

"We are auctioning off the computers, the virtual reality headsets, the furniture and the wall art from Paradigm," Grubbs said.

The proceeds will help pay for the lease on the building that sat empty most of 2020.

"But it feels like you’re losing a part of yourself when you lose a business like that," Grubbs said.

It's game over for this business that needed one or two extra lives.

If you'd like to purchase items from Paradigm, you can see the items up for auction here.

The auction ends on Sunday, November 29, 2020, according to the Paradigm Facebook page.