Support Local Game Stores

If you haven’t guessed it from my previous posts, I’m a fan of all types of games: roll playing, card, board style, complex, simple, gross, or pretty. No matter what, chances are I’ll play it at least once. Video games are the exception because the motions often bother me.Game time clipart

So today I’m giving a shout-out to my local Northwest Indiana stores and gaming cafes. One does not have to be a deep level D&Der or Magic fanatic to enjoy wandering into these locally owned shops. They stock all kinds of wonderful games and gifts. Want your preteen or teenage kids to have some social time away from the glowing screen? Take them to a game store. In addition, these places are great for date nights because they allow you to talk with your partner rather than stare silently at a big screen. Nothing against movies, but game places lead to actual conversing and fun. If your date gets cranky or is a poor loser, best to find that out early.

Many game stores serve drinks and snacks as well so you can have hours of fun. They are family oriented, and games encourage critical thinking, reading skills, tactical analysis, math skills, and in some cases, language skills. Plus, they allow you to give your child the best gift ever, some of your focused time.

My favorite part is that game stores allow you to “try before you buy”, which beats most toy stores any day. Nothing is worse than being stuck with a game that doesn’t work for couples when you only have two players or is just boring. For instance, Oh My God! There’s an axe in my Head looked fun and a little twisted, usually the way I like them. Games Inn had it available for testing so we checked it out. Turns out this Stratego-style board game was dull. It either did not work for couples (despite the box’s advertisement) or just didn’t work for us. Either way, I’m glad I found out before shelling out around $20 for it.Magic game symbols

However, if game stores and gaming cafes are to survive in this order-online world, they must sell games. The coffees, snacks, and playing fees may help but moving their products is what keeps them in business. Most metropolitan areas have at least one or more of these stores. For those in the Northwest Indiana area, here is at least a partial list of the shops (in no special order) that I know about and would encourage you to check out. You’ll certainly find something for that special “nerd” in your life.

Games Inn: This Hobart, IN store features a very large open area for gaming, a few tables specifically set up for Warhammer, large café, and huge choice of trial games.

The Librarium Café: It is also located in the Hobart downtown area. This coffee house offers an intimate place for gaming and enjoying fine bakery products. They offer a small variety of games for sale and 100 games to try.

The Tenth Planet: Located on Hwy 30 in Schererville, IN, this store features a wide array of comic books, movie and comic collectables, and games. They sponsor Friday Night Magic tournaments. They also stock some unusual games that come from more international developers.

Galactic Greg’s has been a  Valparaiso, IN icon for 25 years. It features comic books and also has a section for playing Magic, Pokemon, HeroClix, and Star Wars X-wing. Because many of these games use miniatures, the store also has a nice miniature collection.

I have not visited these places yet but found them on a Google search.

Gotta Have It Games &Collectibles in Lake Station, IN. According to their website, they feature a number of collectible and trading cards, actions figures, and vinyl records. They also have live game playing table times that can be reserved for groups.

Heroes Haven in Michigan City, IN. Their Facebook states that they sell comic books, graphic novels, action figures, and play specifically Magic, HeroClix, Warhammer and more.

By the Board Games & Entertainment in Lowell, Indiana. They have special rooms for Friday Night Magic, D&D, and board games. The website also says they offer vintage and used games and extra pieces.

Shop Local to Save Your Community

The holiday shopping season is in full swing so this is a good time to give a shout out to local brick-and-mortar businesses. The TV is full of holiday ads of happy little Amazon packages singing their way into your home or all the wondrous things you can get at the big box stores. However, take a step back for a moment and think about the real cost of shopping exclusively online. It ultimately harms your choices and your community.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Amazon. I love the ability to see an item first, try on clothes before buying, or browse a selection before I choose. None of that is possible with online shopping. Plus, Amazon has become a mega-clawed consumer monster, stomping out Mom and Pop stores and eating up even the big box places while slobbering out mass-produced, low quality goods from the cheapest vendors. If everyone shopped mostly or exclusively online, imagine what your city would look like in just a few short years. No big stores for great selections, no small, cool shops along Main Street, no gaming cafés to check out new games, no special jewelry stores for that unique wedding ring. All of that goes away, ground to death under the wheels of automation and cheap prices. Unfortunately this is a true picture even if you shop a lot at eBay or Etsy. Using them for that hard to find item or unique gift is okay, but the more we buy online, the more profit we take away from local folks.

The solution? People need to reorient their thinking if they want to keep a variety of choices in local shops. Sometimes it is not all about the cheapest products. Sometimes it is about supporting local businesses and the city’s tax base. Consumers can make friends with their local business owners. Folks should prefer helping others by supporting their favorite places. Plus, having the item in their hand when they go home rather than waiting weeks for it to arrive is wonderful. You know the quality and color are exactly what you wanted. True, many online items arrive within ten days, but others take six weeks or more as packages are shipped from some foreign location. Last year, our special Christmas ornament gifts for 2016 arrived in February 2017 because we didn’t see the fine print about the overseas Amazon vendor. Certainly those who want to Buy American, can’t easily do that on Amazon.


In addition, I love the personal touch that a storefront offers. Someone can answer my questions, help me solve issues, and/or suggest new things to buy. That experience is shiny golden to me. True, sometimes that sales help is a bored teenager staring at their cell phone or radiating bad attitude more than usefulness, but that occurs less often than working with the cheery salesperson who wants his or her store to succeed.

In terms of crafters and artisans, the choice in where to spend your money also about supporting art and the ability to get a special and maybe unique gift. Author fairs allow you to meet local writers. Craft and vendor fairs abound in every community at this time. These salespeople, often retirees or single income families, need the support more than the corporate conglomerates, and they usually offer fine quality toys, woodwork, jewelry, cloths, soaps, foodstuff, and more. They are proud of their work and eager to share it with you.

Even if you buy items on Etsy, you are supporting small businesses somewhere, just not in your own community. You are allowing another artist or crafter to keep going because they are thrilled that you liked their work as much as they liked making it.

So please buy locally to stop your hometown places from disappearing. When they are gone, your local school and property taxes are more likely to go up without that sales tax revenue. Instead, consider attending a craft festival or visit the shops along the center of town. Your spent bucks will go further and you’ll see the benefits as your community thrives. That’s so much better than a line of dark, boarded up storefronts and deserted streets.