TCG Player is expanding its downtown office in the Galleries of Syracuse this summer into a headquarters like you’ve never seen before. The tech start-up will be renovating 44,000 square feet into an open floor, fantasy themed space complete with an enormous dragon hanging overhead with a two-story slide for a tail.
CEO Chedy Hampson says the unique workspace will inspire both the company’s employees, and, hopefully, Syracuse residents.
“We want you to walk down the streets, look in and see us working on our next mobile application in the Harry Potter room,” Hampson said. “We want classrooms on middle school kids and high school kids to visit, and go back to their guidance counselors and tell them that they want to be a web designer, that they want to be a programmer.”
The Syracuse-based technology company connects buyers and sellers of collectable game cards and classic video games. In 2016, Hampson had just over 100 employees working in three separate locations in Armory Square. Today, he has a rapidly growing staff to go along with his headquarters expansion. TCG Player is looking to bring on at least 170 new employees in the near future, with a hope to expand to 1,000 employees total in the next five years, most of whom would be based in Syracuse. Hampson says creating a friendly workspace where employees feel valued is a top priority.
“We have an incredible interview process,” Hampson said. “The first interview alone doesn’t even ask you a single question about the job. All we care about is ‘What is your core values of you as a person’? Are you somebody we think we might want to be best friends with? Can you communicate well? And then, if you pass this sort of culture test, then we start bringing you back for future interviews that would ask you about the technical skills.”
TCG Player is just one of several tech startups making themselves at home downtown. Start-ups are popping up across the city map in venues like the Tech Garden and Syracuse Co-works. Mayor Ben Walsh hopes this growth can encourage Syracuse’s young professionals to believe in the possibility of the city’s burgeoning tech market.
“You have a hometown guy in Chedy Hampson who grew up in this city, graduated from city schools that decided to stay in his hometown, invest in his hometown,” Walsh said. “It really does provide a blueprint for us. When we talk to young people in our city, we can point to TCG player and say ‘You can be a successful tech company in Syracuse.’”
TCG Player’s new headquarters is expected to be complete sometime this fall. Look out for the giant dragon-head overlooking Warren Street.