The Village Geek, an originally McPherson-based gaming shop, opened its second location at Third and Poyntz in Manhattan in November 2017.
Complete with an espresso bar and regular events in-store, the small business’s mission is to create “community through games.”
The term “gaming” might bring video games to mind, but The Village Geek acts as a retailer and event space for physical board and card games.
Sterling Oliver, recent Kansas State graduate and Village Geek employee, described the business as a “judgment-free zone” for people with any level of game experience.
“The Village Geek is a place to come and try out new games, to find new games and to play in communities with other people,” Oliver said. “If people have been interested in different kinds of board games or seen a certain card game and want to learn more about it, that’s something we can help with.”
Oliver began working at The Village Geek in May 2018 and said he loves his job.
“Getting to be around stuff [he loves], getting to work around games and helping people find something new that they’ll love,” are Oliver’s favorite things about working at The Village Geek, he said.
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The Village Geek holds regular competitive events for players of various games at various levels. They also host free, open board game meet-ups every Saturday.
The business’ physical store is set up as space for customers to come in, play games and create a sense of community with those around them.
“[People] can come in and play whatever they want, whenever they want,” Oliver said.
While many events still take place in person at The Village Geek, Oliver said some now are held virtually for players’ safety. Traditionally high-traffic events like Dungeons & Dragons tournaments moved online.
“As this kind of game store, we won’t be sticking around very long if we can’t get people in here to play,” Oliver said. “We’re finding ways to keep the community together while still trying to be intelligent about how we approach it to keep people safe.”
For in-person events, hand washing and mask wearing became the norm even before the local ordinance requiring masks be worn in public spaces, Oliver said.
The Village Geek hosts public virtual and in-person gaming events Monday through Saturday.
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