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.

We have a location!

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We’ve come to terms on a lease for the commercial space in the Prescott Building, 2 Washington Street, Haverhill, MA

The building is currently undergoing historical renovations. We will be sharing more information and photos as work progresses.

Work on the building, and our build out will progress over the next several months. We are looking at a proposed September 01, 2020 opening.

We still have a number of details to work out. Our finishing touches, reservable tables and rooms, and service offerings will be entirely dependent on a number of cost factors.

If you would like to help with making this new gaming space a success (and get a decent return for your investment), please visit our MainVest (https://mainvest.com/b/queens-gambit-haverhill) page and make an investment of as little as $50.00.

And please, let us know what you are looking for in a game store / gaming parlor… We’d love to hear your ideas, and hopefully make some a reality.

Thank you.

P.S. 

Please… 

stay home, cover your cough, wash your hands

and support your local small businesses during this trying time

let’s hope by September we are all ready to gather around some tables and play some games! 

COVID-19 and Queen’s Gambit

I wanted to reach out addressing COVID-19’s effect on Queen’s Gambit.   We are still deeply involved in planning and preparation our store for a mid to late summer 2020 opening.   While it is within reason that COVID-19’s most serious effects will have passed by that time, we are keeping current events in mind.  

As the owner, I am making it a priority that employees will have a livable wage, and access to affordable health care and sick leave.   I view this as essential to ensure the safety and well-being of the staff, without whom this endeavor cannot succeed.   These essential policies are going to be crucial to the success of our store, and community.  

Dave, Carrie and I are preparing store policy and procedures to emphasize employee and customer health and well-being.   There are a number of excellent examples in the gaming community we will be emulating, as well as the essential CDC guidelines:  stay home if sick, cover your cough, and wash your hands.

We are proceeding with all due deliberation to bring to the Haverhill and Mill City communities the best gaming store, gaming center, and gaming community possible.  They will not be possible without your assistance, either through investment or patronage.   Thank you for your support, and encouragement.

Best,

Russ Morgridge

We’ve narrowed down our location search… more information coming soon™!

We’ve looked long and hard at several excellent locations in Haverhill. We’ve looked at some plaza spaces, side street retail and main street (literally) retail spaces.

We’ve honed in on properties on Downtown Haverhill’s newly dubbed “Restaurant Row” and are excited by the possibilities. In particular is the work to restore much of the storefronts to a historical appearance. This will give the neighborhood a late 1800’s look and feel that we plan to capitalize on in our interior design and decor. This is where the capital raise is most needed.


As for our business model in general, we are looking to take advantage of some overall trends in the entertainment market. Such as:

  • Surge in disruptive hospitality – order your food online or visit a food truck – Queen’s Gambit doesn’t need to invest in food service or equipment. You can always have your favorite meal thanks food trucks and delivery
  • Trends toward casual, accessible venues over formal settings.
  • People are living in smaller homes as housing prices skyrocket, making it harder to host gatherings in minimal space

Rather than opening up another cafe / bar / restaurant on Washington Street, we will offer a space for people to meet and enjoy a board / card / party game from our extensive library. Or they can participate in role-playing game / miniature game sessions, with some hosted by the store.


We hope to soon be able to provide a preview of the space we are building, so that you can share in the excitement!

We’re Launching!


It is official! Queen’s Gambit • Games and Hobby Shoppe has partnered with the local investment crowdfunding company Mainvest to offer an opportunity for community members to support, and share in the success of our nascent local business. You can see our campaign page at https://mainvest.com/businesses/queens-gambit

Dave and Carrie have been close friends for over 30 years. With the support of our caring community of friends that have encouraged us over the years that we have decided to try something a bit daring.

We have a solid financial plan, and a solid amount of funding already secured. However, we have decided to open up a crowdfunding campaign to help provide additional funds to build a strong start-up marketing campaign, and hopefully also allow us to provide a space than the usual rows of shelves and tables that is the standard in game stores in the area.

For years, we have pondered how to incorporate our passion for tabletop gaming into something more than a hobby. Dave and Carrie have their own published titles, I dare say we can call them a “studio” or maybe a designer? You can check out their website www.lupusrexgames.com, and their titles on DriveThruRPG. As for myself, I have also wondered how I could use what resources I have available to me to help foster values that I hold – the value of community and friendship.
We’ve poured over market research, how to guides, read the nightmare scenarios, run then numbers, and done several gut checks. While we have a few weaknesses to address, we firmly believe that our strengths, and active support from experts, can pull us through the all-important first years. They have daringly stepped up to run the store day to day, while I support them with the financial and administrative backing and more than some evening hours I am sure as well.

At Queen’s Gambit • Games and Hobby Shoppe, we are looking forward to providing a safe and welcoming environment for families and friends to gather around games and amusements that encourage face to face social interaction, cooperative as well as competitive board, card, and role playing game experiences.

We will offer comfortable seating and tables, as well as light refreshments to compliment the full stock of tabletop gaming, hobby, and pop culture merchandise. 

Many thanks to all who have contributed advice and support over these past few months.