A new business on South Hill is doing more than providing local gamers with their favorite board and card games — it’s also providing a community space to play them.
Upon first entering its two-room space, South Hill Games looks like a retail shop with displays of comics, figures, art and various games. But toward the back, another room is set up with tables, inviting customers to sit down for a game.
“These spaces are as much a community space as a retail space,” said shop owner Jesus Areyano.
These spaces are as much a community space as a retail space.
Jesus Areyano, owner of South Hill Games
“We’re mostly game-focused,” added store manager Megan West. “We’re trying to make it a community store.”
And already, the community has responded. Locals have come in to check out the business, which opened at 16126 Meridian E. on Feb. 24, for future game nights.
The store is targeted specifically to card, tabletop and board game players — the shop doesn’t sell video games.
“We decided that this is a place where you can unplug your device,” Areyano said.
And while many customers they’ve served are immersed in gaming culture, Areyano said that the store welcomes anyone interested in gaming.
“I wanted to create a space where my parents can come in, (and) it’s not their thing but they won’t turn away,” Areyano said. “There isn’t a single person out there who hasn’t played a game.”
Areyano opened a gaming store in Parkland six years ago, but eventually closed it down.
“It got too big and we decided to shrink it down to a smaller store,” he said.
We decided that this is a place where you can unplug your device.
When an opportunity opened up to start a new store on South Hill, he took it. It was in part a passion project with the goal to bring together the community through gaming. Areyano, 36, grew up in Puyallup and graduated from Rogers High School. There was a comic book store nearby that he always visited, and it was a large influence on his pursuit of his own business.
“It was called Spiders Web,” Areyano said. “That was the store I grew up with as a kid.”
Comic books are another focus of South Hill Games. Some of them come from Areyano’s personal collection, while others are from customers who have sold them to the store.
“People bring in comics to sell to us,” he said.
Now, Areyano and his four employees run the shop and often play games together.
“You have to have people who want to play games,” Areyano said.
“We have to learn all our games, so we have nights where we sit down and play,” West said. “We call it family time.”
We have to learn all our games, so we have nights where we sit down and play. We call it family time.
Megan West, manager at South Hill Games
And it’s through gaming that they also connect with others in the community.
“When someone comes in and something catches their eye, it’s really enjoyable to get them excited about something new,” said employee Kelsey Farnum.
Moving forward, South Hill Games will host game and movie nights. Currently, hours are from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. More information will be listed on its Facebook page.