By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
When a former stuntman/producer wanted to settle down two and a half years ago, he opened Tucson Games and Gadgets.
“I’ve traveled the world, lived in 14 different countries and then I had an opportunity to come back to Tucson, where I grew up, and try something else,” store owner Mark Kadow said.
“I said, ‘Why don’t I open up a board game store?’ because I’ve been playing games like Dungeons and Dragons for 30 years.”
A couple of weeks after thinking about the idea, Kadow obtained a business license and distributors for games.
Kadow opened his store at 2900 E. Broadway Blvd., #134. He plans to open a second location by the end of November at Tucson Mall, 4500 N. Oracle Road.
The Broadway store brings in loyal customers like Chris Novellino, who visited on opening day and has since made it his second home.
“I can’t get the guy to leave,” Kadow joked.
Novellino is a photographer by day and an avid Living Card Game player by night. He follows a set schedule for coming into the store.
When he’s on site, Novellino can be found in a dedicated “Novellino’s Corner” teaching others about new games.
“I help out any way I can, teaching games, demo-ing board games,” he said. “Gamers have this stigma with nerds and geeks, and we indulge in that. We accept it with open arms.”
The store has created a community, or safe haven, for gamers. It welcomes customers ranging from the newest of newbs to the most seasoned veterans.
With Novellino keeping customers interested and Kadow keeping shelves stocked, it’s not hard for Games and Gadgets to make a profit.
Kadow reinvests his profits into the business so he can keep the lights on, provide the newest games and open the second store at Tucson Mall. Its location will be near the Animal Kingdom pet shop.
“The future is bright, come on in,” Kadow said. “If you haven’t played any games, then this is the perfect store. We aren’t going to jump down your throat. We want to know what you like and we want to help you.”
The new destination will be more than 4,000 square feet, double the size of the Broadway store. Décor will include dark wood and dim lighting. Hours will extend to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
“It’s going to be an entertainment destination,” Kadow said. “We’re hoping to get something that has a Dungeons and Dragons type feel.”
The new store will also have multiple rooms available for different types of games, such as Magic the Gathering, D&D, X-Wing and Local Area Network parties.
Players will also have a chance to participate in virtual reality games.
Good shoppers can buy a virtual reality set for just shy of $800, but Kadow offers trial play. His setup regularly attracts quite a crowd.
Participants pay $10 for 15 minutes of playing time. Available options include shooting zombies in a darkened area with only a flashlight and gun, and defending your castle with a bow and arrow against incoming invaders.
“We’re approaching all types of entertainment,” Kadow said. “The virtual reality is just a small aspect of what we’re doing.”
Games and Gadgets
Address: 2900 E. Broadway Blvd. #134
Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-midnight
Note: A second store in Tucson Mall will open by the end of November.