|A Place for Fun
A spotlight on Game Café, a Missouri-based game store
|Fantasy Flight Retailer Spotlight | Published 28 July 2011|
Our Fantasy Flight Retailer Spotlight has received increasingly positive feedback; fans are excited to discover hard-working retailers across the nation who are dedicated to their hobby. Last week we introduced you to a California-based game store; today we’re traveling to Missouri and highlighting Tom and Julie Bumgardner’s store, Game Café!
Game Café was a long term project of its dedicated owners, and it has been a great success. With a great retail area, abundant play space, and constant activity, Game Café is a fun experience. Without further ado, Tom and Julie!
A joint effort
Game Café opened its doors in June of 2006, and was started by husband and wife team Tom and Julie Bumgardner. However, the venture began much earlier, born as a childhood dream of Tom’s. It was eventually coupled with Julie’s love of games, and culminated in their joint desire for a place entire families could enjoy playing games together. Over five years were spent just thinking, planning, and researching what Game Café would be, as well as saving up. We decided to model our store after the game cafés popular in Korea. During many road trips and visits to other store locations we also decided we wanted to take the best that we saw in other stores we liked and add our own ideas and high standards. In the end we combined them all into Game Café. Today, Game Café currently fills two buildings with 5000 square feet of play space, as well as a large retail area.
Our goal was to create a unique, inviting recreational environment that possessed a comfortable atmosphere of fun for a broad range of people. We strive to be a family-oriented store, and work hard to create a positive place where everyone can feel welcome and enjoy themselves–children and adults, men and women, parents and grandparents alike. A place where these individuals could come to spend time together and meet others. Game Café is also the place to go to play your favorite games, follow new releases, play in tournaments, and to discover something new.
Walking in our front doors you will find a large variety of games for all ages from board games to card games, miniature games to roleplaying games, party games to educational games, and more. We carry something for every player and the accessories that go with their passion. Beyond this you will find our café table event area, which also offers snacks at the ready, drinks, pre-packaged food, a self-service microwave oven, and Bottomless Cups of Holding available from our soda fountain. In the back, you will find an internet café consisting of four PC’s and four console gaming areas with wall mounted large screen HDTV’s. There is also a separate game room, complete with a custom green felt card table (that can be converted to a sand table), perfect for a gaming group and often used for birthday parties as well. The basement is a finished event hall used for tournaments and other events. The walls are wired with internet jacks for up to 40 computers. Our second event hall is next door in an adjacent building; we purchased it last year and have plans to connect it to the other event hall.
Game Café is home to many tournaments and events, and we are always open to starting something new that follows our customers’ interests. Currently, we host tournaments and events for Dungeons and Dragons, Heroclix, Magic: The Gathering, Naruto, Pathfinder, a Pokemon League (one of the largest in the region), Warhammer 40,000, Warmachine, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. We have also done events involving board game tournaments, video game tournaments, board game nights, and offered workshops. It doesn’t stop there; Game Café has hosted in-store events for sports teams, MOMS Club, home school groups, and youth groups. There are also many unique events that we do, such as a Dungeons and Dragons Prom, Lock-ins, New Year’s Parties, Halloween costume parties, and All Night LAN parties, to name a few.
Game Café Live is our outreach effort to spread the fun and lend a hand. We participate in events for Children’s Miracle Network, go into local schools, churches and libraries to host family game nights, and support local game conventions. We have also given donations to local schools, churches, groups and other fundraising events such as Cancer Action and St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
We train our employees to offer excellent customer service because we want our customers to feel welcome and that they belong. We do all that we can to impart a fun positive experience with each interaction and experience. We strive to maintain our staff as “game experts” with extensive product knowledge, so that they can advise and help customers find what they want or figure out a good match for them, whether they have never played a game before or they want to be shown the next product they might enjoy.
A special feature of Game Café is our extensive, ever-growing board game library holding over 100 games. We are proud of having demo copy upon demo copy of games to look inside, try out, demo at the counter, and play. All of our demo games are available to rent for in-store play. We are working on Game Menus to assist in selecting the game customers would like to preview. Additionally, our “game experts” are continually learning and reviewing games to be ready to teach you to play, if needed.
Fantasy Flight Games is a staple in our store and we love our Media Center that updates automatically as new releases enter the market and hit our store making it easy for new and regular customers to get an innovative look on any potential FFG game they are considering.
Game Cafe continues to be a work in progress. Through growing and changing, continuing the ongoing process to maintain and better ourselves, we strive to make Game Café the best it can be, for you to enjoy. After all, life’s better when you have more fun, and Games Café is the place to find it!
Thanks, Tom and Julie! Make sure to keep watch for our next Retailer Spotlight article.
If you are interested in visiting one of these great game store locations, keep reading to find one in your local area, or see if a local store has already been mentioned. If you are a retailer who is interested in participating in our Retailer Spotlight and having your store featured or if you are interested in more information, please contact [email protected].