(STAFFORD, N.J.) — With a gaming controller in one hand and a few pounds of Capicola in the other, Louis Bruno Jr. is creating new boundaries in the online gaming community. Bruno Jr. works at a family-owned-and-operated butcher shop, Bruno’s Meat Market, in Stafford, New Jersey.
After long hours of slinging sandwiches, Bruno Jr. moonlights as “The Meat Man,” an avid gamer and entrepreneur who aims to promote a positive, inclusive gaming community. His mantra, “Stay Positive,” has catapulted his fanbase on Twitch, the live streaming platform for gamers, to 33,000 subscribers. His infectious, uplifting personality has also earned him a role as a content creator for Team Diverge, an athlete-led gaming entertainment industry founded by NFL star Juju Smith-Schuster.
This interview was edited for clarity and length.
The Click: How did you become involved in the online gaming community? What does it represent to you?
Louis Bruno Jr.: “Growing up, I had different gaming consoles, like PlayStation and Xbox. My friends and I always played online together for fun. I never considered playing video games competitively or professionally to generate income.
Ninja, a professional gamer and Twitch streamer, laid the groundwork for competitive gaming and live-streaming; he made profiting off of live-streaming and competitive gaming a possibility. Nearly a decade ago, I began live-streaming thinking it would be an easy way to earn money. However, I learned that the platform was a toxic environment, and I decided to take a break.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. I started to live-stream a game on Twitch called Krunker, a fast-action, pixelated first-person shooter game. It began with a simple message to a fellow gamer, stay positive. Within a few nights, I had about 20 followers whom I actively engaged with. Since then, I have worked to create a safe, engaging space to ‘game,’ and we have developed a community ever since.”
The Click: Explain your mantra, “Stay Positive.” How do you plan on growing your platform?
Louis Bruno Jr.: “Stay positive is just a way that I stay grounded. No matter what happens, I always try to be polite and smile. Whether I am on the meat side or the gaming side of things is irrelevant, I like to see people happy.
Recently, I have had the privilege of participating in charitable gaming events and a spelling bee that helped raise money for children. I aim to continue building an online community of people, fundraise, and donate to various charities. The Cancer Society means a great deal to me, and I would like to continue contributing to that organization and other youth programs.”
The Click: How did you develop a partnership with Team Diverge? Can you talk about your experiences with the organization?
Louis Bruno Jr.: “I applied online. I think my responses and values aligned with their mission. Team Diverge is an excellent family-run organization, and we share the same goals within the gaming community. Our partnership allows me to create content and helps us to build and maintain a fun, engaging community of players and people.”
The Click: What has your family said about your decision to pursue a career in gaming?
Louis Bruno Jr.: “My dad is a butcher and opened a business 30 years ago. We are a tight-knit family that has worked together to build a business that people love to visit. We are passionate about helping people, and creating content is an excellent opportunity for me to do just that.”