At the age of 17, Woodstock’s Tyler Rambuski-Salzman has accomplished more than many twice his age. And he manages to do it all while maintaining a 3.9 gpa.
Rambuski-Salzman, a senior at Marian Central Catholic High School, owns Gamer Crates, a monthly online subscription box-service that caters to video game enthusiasts. In recent years, the service has grown exponentially.
“A lot of the stuff we do, we make or have partners that supply it,” Rambuski-Salzman said. “We look at what we’ve done, what would be cool, what we haven’t done.”
GamerCrates.com delivers casual and hardcore gamers a crate each month which contains a variety of products relating to a common genre or theme, and often centered around a specific game.
Rambuski-Salzman, who considers himself a casual gamer, had the idea for his business at age 15, and initially sought out support for his idea through crowdfunding or an investor, before approaching his mom asking for partnership.
“When he brought the idea to me, it was a time in my life I was wondering what I was going to do,” said mother, Michelle Rambuski. “I knew nothing about . I knew nothing about subscription boxes. It took quite a bit of him bringing it to me, and me researching it in the background without him knowing, finally thinking, ‘You know what, this is a good idea.’ The number one thing he had to agree to was that school comes first.”
The company initially started in their Woodstock home and expanded into a commercial space in Woodstock in January 2016. Gamer Crates are shipped to customers in more than 30 countries and all 50 states. In the last year, the company has grown more than 800 percent. Social media provides a connection to customers and partners, and elicits feedback needed to keep the business moving in the right direction.
Upcoming for Gamer Crates is an iPhone/Android-based app that a partner has helped develop. In addition to the traditional Gamer Crate offered, the company is fine-tuning a “Snack Pack” which can be applied to more than just gamers, featuring items such as cinnamon beef jerky.
Rambuski-Salzman maintains a strict balance between school work and running his company, usually heading from Marian at the end of the school day to put in time at the office, then heads home to finish homework. A former Marian Central baseball player, any free time he has now is spent with his company.
“This is my full-time extracurricular,” he remarked.
Rambuski is quick to credit her son for the success of the company.
“I could say he’s dedicated, hardworking. But Tyler has this thing about him – it’s not ‘if’ we can do it. It’s ‘how’ we can do it. I want to do this, how can we? Sometimes it’s not immediate, and we have to wait,” Rambuski said. “And sometimes the path we go down doesn’t work out, so we find another solution, but we always find out how.”