Section 9 Cyber Cafe powering down after 12 years of gaming

The video game center located near the North Dakota State University campus permanently hit the pause button Thursday, Dec. 23.

Section 9.jpg
Section 9 Cyber Cafe, seen here sitting empty in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, permanently closed Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.
Nick Broadway / WDAY

FARGO — After more than 12 years in business, Section 9 Cyber Cafe has permanently closed, the businesses announced Sunday, Dec. 19.

The final day of operations was Thursday, Dec. 23. Located at 1142 17th St. N. near the North Dakota State University campus, Section 9 was a haven for video gamers, featuring PC and console gaming as well as two virtual reality stations, its website said.

The closing was first announced on Section 9’s Facebook page, where several patrons lamented the news. A reason for the closure was not given and customers were directed to Section 9’s website for more information.

“We wish to thank everyone who has come through the doors over the last 12-plus years,” the post read. “Operating Section 9 has been a richly rewarding experience for us.”

First opened in 2009 in downtown Fargo , Section 9 was founded when six friends sought to bring a high-tech gaming experience to the city. The group approached Ken Sanford, father of three of them, to pitch the business.


The eldest Sanford was proud of the result. "There's centers like this all over the country and all over the world. I think we went a few steps further than a lot of them," he told The Forum in 2010.

In 2016, Section 9 moved from 14 Roberts Ave. to their spot near NDSU, fulfilling a long-standing goal. "We've always just really wanted to be on campus," co-owner Stephen Sanford said at the time.

InForum contacted Section 9 for more information regarding the closing, however a response was not immediately received.

Readers can reach InForum reporter Thomas Evanella at or follow him on Twitter @ThomasEvanella

Thomas Evanella is a reporter for The Forum. He's worked for The Forum for over three years, primarily reporting on business news. He's also the host of the InForum Business Beat podcast, which can be streamed at or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Reach him at or by calling 701-241-5518. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEvanella.
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