With International Tabletop Day around the corner, we’re counting down the days to the big celebration by highlighting friendly local gaming stores, their owners, and their awesome stories. Be sure to find an ITTD event near you so you can enjoy the festivities in your community.
Travis Parry’s source of inspiration for opening his own comic-and-game store turned out to be someone close to him: his wife.
Along with collecting comic books, Parry spent his free time playing board games, then “started fiddling around with Magic and Warhammer,” he said. “Out of frustration, my wife said, ‘you need one place to buy all of your nerd things at once.’
“And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s not a bad idea.’”
With his wife’s encouragement, Parry began planning his store, from figuring out the ideal location to writing a business plan, often changing details before finally opening The Nerd Store in Greeley, Colorado.
After three-and-a-half years The Nerd Store has established itself as a popular destination for all things geek and now Parry finds that his days are never the same. Whether it’s playing games with customers, planning the next phase of the business, or preparing to do a show that The Nerd Store sponsors on local radio, Parry doesn’t have a typical work day. “Every day is different,” he said. “It’s always changing, except for paperwork.”
In his younger days, Parry was a regular at his local comic book store, after growing up with a love for the X-Men television series. “I wanted to be Wolverine when I grew up,” he said. “Then, when I was about 15 years old, I found a few of the X-Men comic books in the grocery store and started collecting.”
Even as a comic book store regular, he didn’t discover board games (besides Monopoly, Risk, and all of the usual suspects) until years later. “I had a friend that went to a board gaming group at the local game store,” he recalled. “I said to him, ‘Oh cool, you go play Risk every week?’ My friend said, ‘It’s a little better than Risk.’”
Parry and his friends started spending more time hanging out at that store. “I showed up almost every week for almost six years,” he said. “I played board games that I had never heard of and had a blast. Sometimes I’d show up for eight hours at once and play all sorts of games. It was awesome.”
Although he never played many games more than one time, there were a few that stood out to Parry, including Dominion and Power Grid. He and his friends played hours upon hours of Power Grid. “It was one of those games that you could be in any position and have a chance at winning. I really love the fact that you have to think about each and every turn and where you wanted to be. Did you want to be first? Or last? The fact that it was this mind game for the entire time, instead of ‘here’s my strategy, let’s execute it,’ really intrigued me.”
Nowadays during his free time Parry enjoys spending it with his wife and two children and still manages to find a few moments to enjoy his hobbies like painting Warhammer figures.
“That’s the great thing about tabletop gaming. It doesn’t have to mean just one thing,” he said. “When I sit down to do Warhammer painting, it’s totally different than when I sit down to play Magic or a board game. Each one means something different.”
Ultimately, The Nerd Store channels its owners’ thoughts on gaming and geek culture.
“To me, they’re [all] really an escape in a lot of ways, whether with others or by yourself,” he said. “When I paint, it’s to be alone with myself and have some time to think and what-not. When I’m playing a board game, it’s a chance to be with others.”
What inspired you to go to your FLGS for the first time? Tell us in the comments!
The Nerd Store is located at 807 8th Street in Greeley, Colorado. Visit their Facebook page here.
Image Credits: The Nerd Store
Ruel Gaviola is a writer and educator based in Southern California. He loves board games, books, cooking, traveling, date nights with his wife, and Star Wars. He reviews games and reports news for iSlaytheDragon.com and his name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. Follow him on Twitter.