MOUNT PLEASANT — Anyone who loves board games and other related categories of games will soon have a new place in the area to both buy and play them.
On Saturday, Menagerie Games opens at 4525 Sheridan Road (Highway 32), just north of the county line. The business is a venture of Kathleen “Kit” Strehlow and her husband, Matt Strehlow, who works in information technology at SC Johnson. The pair have had Menagerie Games for about 1½ years, but it was online sales only. Saturday marks the opening of the store/gaming center and the end of online sales, Kit said.
Many game manufacturers don’t want their products sold online, she explained, so the Strehlows decided to make a complete switch to a brick-and-mortar store and leave online sales behind.
The 2,200-square-foot building they found for their store was both affordable and has the advantage of not being far from Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. “A lot of the customer base is college-age kids,” Kit said.
The Strehlows are big fans of playing games — Matt long before he got Kit hooked, she said.
“Our basement looks like a gaming store,” Kit said. “We’re both very passionate about gaming and bringing it to other people.”
Kit, whose favorite game is Ticket to Ride, said they’ve noticed that game stores are doing better than 10 years ago. “Whether that’s new groups playing or one group increasing is hard to say.”
Her store is a place both for buying and playing tabletop games, but not electronic ones: nothing with a video screen. At Menagerie, Kit said, “We focus mostly on board games. There are not a lot of places you can buy them.”
The store’s game categories are board games, card games, role-playing games and miniatures. The latter involve little figures that usually come unpainted, so buyers paint them as they wish. “You assemble armies and do different scenarios,” Kit said.
The store currently carries about 60 to 70 board games, Kit estimated, from about 20 to 30 companies including Iello, Looney Lab, Mayfair, Asmodee, Gamewright and R&R. They range in price from $7 to $80. One display is for games that cost $20 or less, and there are about 30 titles there, Kit said.
They have games that will appeal to almost all ages, Kit said. “We have at least two that a 4-year-old can play, and they’re still fun for everyone else,” she said.
“Card games are a huge portion of the (potential) revenue because of the events,” she said. There is usually an admission fee and prizes for winners.
Other revenue sources will be game accessories and snacks, Kit said.
The store will also rent games to take home; upon return the renter can apply that cost toward the purchase of the game.
Menagerie Games is also a place for free drop-in playing, Kit said.
The store is open 4-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 262-732-2370.