Frisco's Power CoupleMar 01, 2017 ● By Aj Addae
In fact, for only having lived in Frisco for a total of a little more than a year, the dynamic duo has already made impressive strides within our city’s modern food and gaming cultures, and they have done so right before our eyes. Although commonly known as the successful and humble owners of Gearbox and Nerdvana, the Pitchfords possess consistent charm coupled with a range of achievements that can be fully attributed to their eclectic backgrounds and contagious personas.
Working harmoniously together has been an ever-existent aspect of the couple’s history. The Pitchfords are originally from the coast of Calif. The couple was primarily based in Pismo Beach, where they met through their after-school jobs, at what used to be a frozen yogurt ice cream parlor called “Pismo Pete’s.” At the ages of 16 and 18, they simply began their relationship as friends and colleagues, before blossoming into young sweethearts.
“He would crack me up,” Mrs. Pitchford says and laughs while recalling an earlier time of life at the Pismo Beach ice cream parlor. Little did the two adolescent Pismo Pete’s employees know that their fast-growing bond at such a young age would contribute to how they continually supported each other throughout all endeavors in their adolescent and adult lives, whether it be partaking in collaboration or functioning as innovators.
Years later, in 1996, while the young, then-engaged couple resided in north Hollywood, a sudden job offer sparked their interest. They packed up their bags, full of ambition and passion, and moved to Texas. “It was a risk,” Mrs. Pitchford says. However, calculated risks have never been a roadblock for the young, driven couple, even today. With great spontaneity, the two picked up and immediately followed the direction of their passion. Very soon after, the young couple found themselves in Garland, Texas, where Mr. Pitchford readily accepted a job in the gaming industry.
The gift of multidimensionality that both Pitchfords individually possess proves to continually contribute to their overall successes. Creativity has regularly played a large role in the couple’s personal lives. Not only has Mr. Pitchford been creating games since the ripe age of 6, but it is a little-known fact that he was also a very talented and well-rehearsed magician during his early college years, as a means to pay his way through classes at the University of California, Los Angeles. Additionally, Mrs. Pitchford not only possesses a knack for videogames, but she also has a grip on the social sciences, as she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Fortunately, years after moving from Garland, and soon after, to Plano, the city of Frisco began to call the Pitchfords’ names, as the community’s climate seemed just right for the couple. Mayor Maher Maso brought about the idea of the Pitchfords potentially enjoying and utilizing Frisco’s plethora of technology companies, as well as the city’s unique mix of modern and home-style cultures. The couple more than fit in. The two moved Mr. Pitchford’s economic development corporation headquarters to Frisco, along with their brand new coffee shop and restaurant, and, of course, Gearbox, which is Mr. Pitchford’s highly-acclaimed videogame company. In fact, as expected, Frisco’s blossoming environment has treated the couple quite similarly to their sunny origins in Pismo Beach, both in its weather and its cultural surroundings.
From Frisco’s many opportunities in technology to its ever-growing media and food industries, the couple describes these facets of the city as a “perfect fit” for the two. “Being from Calif., we love that Frisco is so progressive and excited to embrace new ideas,” Mrs. Pitchford states. The Pitchfords have shown this level of excitement not only through their businesses, but through their endeavors, as well. As long-time videogame lovers, the Pitchfords were able to successfully capitalize from combining their three favorite common interests: coffee, food and videogames. Through this love of coffee, food and videogames, the birth of Nerdvana, Frisco’s new board game hearth and coffee shop, was brought about. Just like the multiplicity of classic gaming interests they see from clients, coffee and pastries continue to arise from the heart of Nerdvana.
Deep facets of personality and authenticity arise from the essence of the couple. The couple’s quirkiness heavily manifests through their work, as seen in every inch of Nerdvana. “We are super nerdy about games and coffee,” Mrs. Pitchford pipes. “When we talk about being nerds, it is because we have always been super passionate. When we like something, we go into it and try to learn as much as we can.” This fiery combination of passion and intellectual stimulation has shown itself to be the theme of the Pitchfords’ relationship, as their goals and dreams have brought about both Gearbox and Nerdvana. “The overall vision of both is that we incorporate our love of games in such a way that celebrates this love and manufactures more love for the culture and its subtle references, in a non-cheesy way,” they describe. The couple’s shared passion of progressivism carries on, even subconsciously, into the couple’s environment, as they have proudly implemented Frisco’s first all-gender restrooms inside of Nerdvana.
Persistence, ambition and a few tricks up their sleeves are not the only centripetal forces that drive this couple to be so successful. Family also plays a role in their story. The Pitchfords have a 17-year-old son who lives here in Texas and the rest of their family resides in Calif. Ultimately, when asked about what the two have in store next for the future, they simply answer with a hearty laugh, saying, “In short, a lot.” It is no secret that the Pitchfords are simply just getting started, and we cannot wait to see what spectacular thing will come next from this local couple.