We’re Open and Renting!

We’ve been open for in store browsing for the past week. We wanted to see how well we would do with our new signs up, on the street, and over our door. Once we got the ‘Ok’ from the building inspector to allow customers in, we unlocked to door to see how we would do ‘organically.’ It has been fantastic! Such a great response from the local community. Folks are truly excited to have a new local game store.

We’ve settled on new store hours:

  • Sunday: Noon to 8pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Noon to 8pm
  • Wednesday: Noon to 8pm
  • Thursday: Noon to 8pm
  • Friday: Noon to 10pm
  • Saturday: Noon to 10pm

We’ve been fielding questions about our open game space, game rooms, and rental library. We’ve pulled together the majority of the questions and posted answers on our new “Rentals Program” information page.

We want to make our game library available for folks to bring home, one way to alleviate the COVID stay-at-home boredom. We’ll be following strict procedures, keeping any played games quarantined for 48 hours before returning them to the library.

Reach out if you have any questions – 978-655-2654, info@queensgambitgames.com

Four 9′ x 13′ Game Rooms

We’ve put in sound dampening layers in all the game room walls, and solid core doors will be the finishing touch. Our hope is that the rooms will give gamers some privacy, and less distracting sound from the open gaming area.

Game Room Progress

The rooms will be available for reservations soon after we open. We have an extensive library of games for in-store play, as well as take home rentals. Dave is sorting out the details of how we will be tracking room and game rentals. We hope to have some updates in the next couple of weeks.

“Opening Season” is upon us!

We are now definitively “Opening – Spring 2021”!

We’ve been in a holding pattern… waiting… frustrating ourselves, and our kind MainVestors.

Carrie has been posting progress photos on our Facebook page – thanks Carrie! This week our fit-out contractor, My Contractor, finished the framing and drywall scope of work. That means the construction work is more than half-way to being completed.

There are a few more weeks of scheduled construction. Then likely several weeks as we move and install our furnishings, fixtures and inventory from storage. This means we do not have a target date for opening, more of a target season.

As things stand, we still need to tread carefully with COVID-19 precautions. This means our plans for our open gaming area, private rooms, and game rental services are not yet polished. When we do open, we will be focusing on maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Our in store events and gaming policies will be rolled out slowly in accordance with guidelines set by public health officials.

Stay tuned for more details as we work out the specifics and roll out new services and offerings as the pandemic resolves.

We are keeping tabs on new products coming out in the next few months. We will be taking pre-orders and special orders for products you would like ordered for in-store pickup. If interested, please fill out the special orders form on our shop website.

It’s been a year…

We’ve been on this journey for over a year now. We’ve been working hard, and have learned a lot.

At the dawn of 2020, our hopes were to have a location, and open our store by May, perhaps June. We signed a lease for a great space with potential for making a unique community gaming space in downtown Haverhill.

Then things got complicated. COVID struck, our landlords best laid plans did not survive the downturn. We hoped by then for a September opening, but that date slipped. As did the October, November, and December possibilities as well.

We made the hard decision to end the lease agreement, and find a new location. We are giving up a location in the heart of Haverhill, but found a location in the busy commercial corridor between Methuen and Salem, NH.

We are entering 2021 with plans for opening in February at our new location in The Village Mall, 436 Broadway, Methuen, MA.

About that Soft-Opening…

Good news first. We have finished updating our existing game inventory into our web store! (link is also in the menu above) The existing inventory is not all that we plan to offer. If something catches your eye, we can ship it, or set it aside for when the store opens. The site is still very much a work in progress. Please feel free to send us tips, requests, or questions: info@queensgambitgames.com.

Our accounts with the distributors are dependent on having a physical store, so we will need to finish the fit up of the space before we can have a more comprehensive inventory for you to choose from.

Which leads to the not good news.

If you recall this image, from this summer, not much has changed inside the store front. Construction delays have slowed down the progress of getting the space completed. Without getting lost in the details, as one can understand one delay leads to others. As things stand, we are planning on beginning the fit out of the space in November. This should mean a late November, early December soft opening…

End of Summer Update August, 2020

We’ve been quiet, but very busy this month. As we announced in July, we purchased the store property and inventory of The Whiz store in Westborough, MA.

We also purchased the game library, as well as several tables, chairs, and bookcases from The Adventure Pub of Arlington, MA. They closed their doors on July 31. Thankfully, we are going to be able to re-home their games and add them to our own library of borrowable games.

We are close to finalizing the e-commerce store. We need to enable a few features, one core one is a loyalty program to keep in touch with our community members.

Dave has been feverishly entering in the inventory into our point of sale system. Carrie has been busy sorting and cataloging our very large Magic: the Gathering card collection. Russ has been spending money on inventory, storage space rental, finding out that the logo he likes is un-printable in basically every other format than a website, and trying to fix that.

We are actively looking at additional ways to serve the Haverhill community during the pandemic. We are fleshing out the details of a board game rental service. Athena at the Adventure Pub gave some great insights into how to handle game rentals, effective ‘quarantine’ of returns, and more. We hope to be able to get a similar service up and running soon after the store opens.

When is the store opening?

We do not know yet.

Our landlord and his work crew are working hard on the property. This month they have been focusing on internal drywall work in the upper floors. Their hope is to get the retail floor finished by the end of September. We will then need time to do our own interior work, as well as getting the required permits for opening the store. There have been delays in materials delivery due to COVID-19. Maintaining worker safety also requires smaller work crews, and keeps the number of sub-contractors on-site low. This, of course, slows the pace of work.

Right now, we are planning on having access to the space on October 1, 2020. We’ll then be painting, decorating, setting up furnishings and fixtures, and moving the inventory we’ve purchased from the Whiz and the Adventure Pub on site. It is a lot of work, but we will get it done. Tentative plans now are for a soft opening at the beginning of November.

Mayor Fiorentini, has expressed interest in attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Prescott Building. So, we better get ourselves dressed for the occasion!

The Whiz Ceiling Tiles Monopoly

Mixed Feelings

I am sad to say, that the gaming community lost a long time favorite friendly local game store this year. The Whiz, of Westborough, closed up shop in March. I am sitting in the storefront now, and you can feel the communities love of their second home here.

Queen’s Gambit had been in contact to discuss options between us and The Whiz. Frank discussions were had, and unfortunately, the timing and the logistics for many options did not work out. Fast forward a couple of months and we were approached by the Bankruptcy Trustee for the Whizco, Inc., and we placed a bid for their inventory, furnishings and fixtures.

We’ve been quiet about the details, to maintain the arms-length requirements of the bankruptcy proceedings, but also to let the Whizco handle their community communications as they wished.

Now that the sale has been completed, we are comfortable discussing the details. Queen’s Gambit now has a jump start on inventory to supplement our initial line up for our new store. The glass displays, cash wrap, computers and furnishings are also a real boon for us in getting the essentials in place for our opening in a couple months.

We’ve been in contact with members of the Whiz community. Russ is friends with Adam Scaramella who helped organize the Dungeons and Dragons Adventurer’s League events at the Whiz. Dave and Carrie know Josh Bryant, the former owner, from their years in The Realms Live Action Role Playing community.

Patrick Nelson, who helped support and organize the wargaming community at The Whiz has reached out, and we are working with him to help re-home some of the material here at the Whiz that community members hold dear. In particular, the ceiling tiles.

While it is highly unlikely that we’ll be regular hosts to members of the Whiz community at Queen’s Gambit events – Haverhill to Westborough is a mighty long commute. We are hoping to host regular tournaments and other special events where they are welcome to join and help create more lasting memories.

Mid-Summer Update

Carrie has been posting updates on Facebook showing the progress of the building renovations.   Our landlord, Lee Properties, LLC, has been working hard trying to balance his timeline, and the safety of workers due to the pandemic.

Our lease does not start until September 1st, or when the city signs off that the space is occupy-able.   We were hoping to be able to get some interior finish work done during the month of August, but that is looking less and less likely.

I have been working on the back end getting licenses and permits, Tax Ids, setting up the accounting and payroll systems.   Dave and I choose to use LightspeedHQ as our Point of Sale and e-Commerce solution.   We’re working now on loading the inventory we have already, and getting the web store set up.

We’ve put in a bid to purchase the inventory and fixtures of a store that is closing up.  We hope to learn in a week or so if that bid was successful.   If so, it will give us a great start on inventory, and furnishings.

Friends and associates we’ve met over the years are helping out with their professional services, and sage advice.  My dear friend Jeffry Pike at Pike Creates to finalize design and promotional imagery.  Dave and Carries old friend, John Wrisley, a veteran local game and comic store owner has been giving us sage advice on starting up and management.  Lewissa Quinn at Threads of Time has agreed to help create some custom vests for Dave, Carrie and I so we look ‘professional’ behind the counter.  Not to mention the private encouragement and support of so many of our friends and family

There is still a lot of work left to do.  We need to get the signage planned and approved, we need to order the tables, chairs, shelves, and oh yes… the games!

Success! Thank you!

We are deeply encouraged by your support for our MainVest campaign. 46 investors raised over $25,000 to fund improvements to the interior space, and get assistance with a website design and marketing.  

We can not deny that we have some significant challenges ahead with the overall economy, and the realities of social distancing over the next few months.

We are somewhat blessed, in that the earliest we expect to open is in September. This gives us time to adjust any procedures, orders, and staffing to meet the needs of our customers.

If you have not already, feel free to join our Facebook groups to follow the conversations. We’re encouraged by the support of the folks in Haverhill. There are requests for different product lines and events. Folks are also celebrating the renovation of a landmark building in Washington Square.

Lee Properties have a lot of work to be done this summer. We’ve been working closely with them to get our plans for the interior space realized.

The exterior work has begun. The bricked up windows are cleared, and their replacement windows are ready for installation.

The interior is fully gutted. It will be a few months before finishing work can be completed.

We’ll keep posting updates, of course.

Thank you, everyone for your support. We have a lot of work to do, to prove the faith and trust you’ve placed in us. We couldn’t be more excited!

7 Days and Counting…

We are so close… 74% funded! We have one week left to meet our goal of $20,000 in our MainVest campaign.

This funding will allow us to add some additional customizations to the space. We have a mezzanine space already set aside for a semi-private gaming experience. We want to add one more large private reservable room as well.

Dave and I are hoping to populate the room with miniatures and terrain from our collections of Wizkids, Reapers, WarHammer, and Dwarven forge.

We’ll also be using these funds to get a professional website and social media presence and get our on-line store up and running for merchandise requests and pre-orders.

A deephearted thank you to the 23 investors who have contributed toward our crowdfunding campaign. Please like and share. Reach out to people who may be interested in supporting the gaming community in Haverhill.