There and Back Again            

If you ever want to get a feel for the community behind gaming, then at one of their funerals, you will see. When the owner of the store sadly passed away, there had to be at least a couple hundred people who showed up for his funeral. People I had seen the shop every day, some that only made a passing visit. There seems to be some form of comradery when it comes to those kind of relegated to the background of society, we bond tightly, and when one passes, it’s felt by everyone, or that could just be the way I saw it.

Needless to say, at this point, a mid twenties online college student, owned his own store now. I called the company that my parents used for Residential Roof Repair to see to the business roof as it was long overdue for replacing, which caused the store to be closed for two weeks. The amount of people who showed up when I reopened was impressive to say the least. I had made a bit of a blunder by not putting up a sign of some sort, and so a lot of the regulars thought we shut down completely.

I can imagine what it must have been like to see, and in retrospect feel kind of bad for making it happen, but going to the owners funeral, and then the next week the place looks like it’s being torn down. I may not be the best as gauging when the most appropriate time to do things is. Beneficially though, it didn’t make everyone just assume and run away. I guess because we still had everything inside the store and windows, some may have jumped to the proper conclusion, and thankfully they did.

I had a grand reopening of the store when the roof repairs were done, to ensure that everyone knew that we were still operational, which drew as large a crowd as the former owners funeral did. I wound up having to make extra shipment orders because the store almost got cleaned out. I was happy to be making good money off the start because that meant I could rely less on the bank with the stores money, and have more of it get sent back to his family. Which made me feel better, and let me think that I was perhaps going to be ok running the store.

Since that point, I have kept things going, and kept the store running, and tried to fill his shoes. And though I may be different, I would like to think that when people come in, they can still feel the same spirit that was here when the store was first opened. Because ultimately, what I want it for everyone to be happy. To have their place that they can go, where the people know them, appreciate them, and enjoy their company. We may be geeks, but we’re in solidarity, and always look out for one another.

Roll For Initiative            

I suppose at this point I should talk a bit about what brought me to the point of running the store. One thing that you need to keep in mind when you’re on the outside looking in, is that there isn’t much changing of the guard when it comes to gaming stores. Generally there is the guy who opens it, maybe one or two additional employees, and that’s it. Those people stay in their positions for the rest of their working lives, and mostly due to the fact that it is such a passionate job that they wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.

I got my first job working at the store when I was still a pimple faced high school student, and never looked back, much like a lot of other store owners in my position. I wound up applying simply because I spent so much time in the store that I probably knew it better than anyone else who wasn’t working there, so I may as well have been paid for it. Fortunately the owner took a chance on me, and I hope he never grew to regret it, though I have the feeling he didn’t.

When I was out of school and taking college courses online, the owner found out that he had a pretty bad illness, let’s just say there wasn’t much chance that he would be able to continue operating the store in a couple more years. This left him and I in a pretty bad position, I didn’t want to lose my job, and he sure didn’t want to lose the store. And as his illness became worse, more responsibility fell onto my shoulders. It was after a year of going on like this that he sat me down for one of the more serious talks of my life.

You see, he didn’t have any other family in the area, and he was worried that if he passed away, that the store would simply close, and the next business would erase the memory that it was ever there. So he talked to me about how comfortable I would be if he signed the business over to me, paid for all the legal stuff to be done and out of the way, and left his insurance to the bank in order to take care of the financial burden that it would be until I was in a position to be self-sufficient.

In your early twenties, this sounds like an amazing deal, but it also broke my heart. He was the soul of this business, and I didn’t think that I had it in me to be able to fill his shoes when he was gone. After a month or so of ironing out the details though, we decided that it was best for the store to do it in the way he laid out. One final heroic sacrifice from him to ensure that his store lived on, and all his hard work wasn’t for nothing.

One In Another

When looking at our business name, it’s often misconstrued to be some form of new age technology conglomerate, when it actuality, we’re a gaming shop. I feel I need to address that part quickly in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those who are looking for one thing and expecting another. Bypassing that information, and if you find yourself still here, you may be wondering about the purpose of this blog. And in short, I just wanted a space to chat with people, share some of my ideas and notions when it comes to the gaming world, and what we’re all about at our company.

To start off, my name is Dale, I’ve been running the store for the last six years, and I am fortunate enough to be working in a field where I thoroughly enjoy what I do every day. It’s a low key environment that allows me to have long and lengthy discussions with people just like me. It’s more than just a store in the fact that I have the ability to really develop relationships with the people that I work with on a daily basis, all of our customers are great, and you’re almost guaranteed to be meeting with people every day who are just like you in their likes and pursuits.

I started the same way many other people in the fashion did, I grew up a gamer. We would spend hours each weekend down in my basement, surrounded by my other geek friends, playing Dungeons and Dragons, or various strategy card games. Our conversations were all about strategy for upcoming games, and we allowed ourselves to be immersed in the lifestyle that came with it. Sure we stood on the fringe of other popular things, but there’s a reason that games of this type have been around for decades and always find a following. There is plenty of people out there who thoroughly enjoy it and keep the industry running.

You may be thinking, as you’ve walked past that one gaming store in your city that always seems to be mostly empty, how these businesses keep running, and that’s due to the fact that there is such a large and worldwide support for these types of games, and generally a place run by a bunch of geeks are pretty ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. We began online orders of products before the internet really took off. And yes, before you wonder, we even get the occasional girl in the store.

I suppose this introduction is to work as more of a myth bust, that all guys who are into these types of games are basement dwelling nerds who have no social life. We have accountants, lawyers, doctors, and sports nuts who show up in the store on a regular basis, because we’re all just regular people, and some regular people even like to geek out every now and then rolling dice to kill imaginary dragons.