Ah, the smell of fresh paint and cleaning supplies! The folks at Play or Draw in Avondale have been working hard at getting their store set to go, and today they finally moved forward with their soft launch. It’s a bit early for a full review – they were still stocking and facing some of their cases, pricing merchandise, etc when we went in – so we’ll return for their grand opening and will post plenty of pictures at that time. In the meantime, however, here’s some things that captured our attention…
- It’s clean. Sure, there were supplies and open boxes all over the place as they worked to finish stocking the shelves, but the place was free of stains, smudges, dust and dirt.
- It’s comfortable. There were plenty of things to notice in this regard, the first of which was the fact that it was cool. Not frigid, but certainly cool enough to retreat to from a triple-digit Arizona high. It didn’t have the scent of failed personal hygiene that so frequently permeates game stores which means my wife and other lady gamers I know won’t be afraid to go in and pick something up. Plus – and this might be the first time I’ve ever seen this in a game store – the chairs in the gaming area are padded cloth seats. WHAT!!?!
- The gaming area is large. For casual gaming, this will allow for multiple different games to be simultaneously played without encroaching on other games. For larger tournaments, assuming that they have sufficient tables and chairs they’ll easily be able to fit 64 players in the store and could probably expand to 96 if necessary.
- They’re attentive. Although the staff was busy with the store we were still greeted within about ten seconds of walking in, and a couple of the folks were happy to take some time to converse with us, find out what we played, and engage with us in general.
- They have their bases covered. TCG’s, paintable mini’s, RPG’s, board games, gaming supplies…the works. The only thing I didn’t see was anything from WizKids.
- The store is well-stocked with snacks, and there are plenty of food options nearby – always important for longer tournaments and gaming sessions! – although at the moment the only restaurant in the same plaza is a pizza place.
Play or Draw has all the raw material to be a fine game store, and if they play their cards right they could end up being one of the premier gaming destinations in the valley. We definitely look forward to seeing the finished product in a few weeks and will be sure to post an update once their grand opening is announced.
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