This week we head east of Chicago to Downers Grove, Illinois to chat with the friendly folks at Fair Game!
What was the catalyst for opening your store?
Fair Game opened in 2010 by Josh Stein, Amy Dreisbach and Eric Reynolds on the belief that games provide a fun and challenging form of entertainment that requires face to face interaction, teamwork and critical thinking. The goal was for the store to be very friendly and welcoming to all types of folks and to serve all gamers, especially those that might be uncomfortable in other game stores. We spend a lot of time and resources in helping families, students and others new to tabletop gaming get introduced to the hobby and reap all the benefits that come as a result. My wife, Rita, and I purchased the store from Josh and Amy two years ago, having been one of those families that were introduced to and positively impacted by the tabletop game industry. We have done our best to continue to offer a very welcoming and family friendly environment and are so appreciative to be able to serve such a wonderful community.
How do you promote inclusivity and accessibility at your store?
It is SO important that people feel welcomed when they walk through our doors and we spend a lot of time making sure that players who might be new to Fair Game understand that priority and that they have a role to play in creating that welcoming and inclusive environment. We have a relatively small footprint, but we do our best to provide a wide variety of in-store gaming events, everything from our regular Tabletop Tuesday Board Game events to our enthusiastic young Pokemon fans that join us on Saturday mornings. In addition to scheduled activities, we have a good-sized demo library that we encourage people to take advantage of. Our policy is that if there’s an open table, people are free to grab a game and sit down to play, and we’ll do our best to help get a new game up and running.
Why do you think FLGSs are important?
Life is crazy. It’s full of responsibilities, disagreements, anxiety, deadlines and having to occasionally deal with mean people. FLGSs can play a variety of roles for their local communities, but one of the most important things that they can do is to help people carve out time to put aside all that craziness and just be present with those sitting across the table from you. One thing I always tell people who are looking for that “perfect” game for their group, is that the specific game doesn’t matter as much as the act of getting together with friends and family and enjoying the time with each other. The FLGS is there to help that process of getting people together. We are “fun enablers” and really enjoy that role.
What’s the most important thing you want gamers to get out of your FLGS?
It might sound a bit cheesy, but honestly, the goal we have as an organization is for everyone who walks into our doors to be happier when they leave or to leave with something that will bring joy to them at some point in the near future. Friends. Family. Fun.