Hidden away behind the Marshall’s at Lakeside Plaza, on March Lane, resides a recent addition to Stockton’s slowly-growing entertainment scene.
The Dragon’s Den is a game store dedicated to trading card-games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering and tabletop-board games such as Catan.
The owners, Michael Beck and Tom Douglass decided to open in Stockton despite hoping to have a store in Bay Area after noticing Stockton hadn’t had a game shop specialized in card games.
“We selected Stockton because it seemed like you guys didn’t have a good card shop in the area. We just did a lot of market research. We were searching for somewhere in the Bay Area, ultimately we settled on Stockton and found a nice spot,” said Douglass.
Support for the store became noticeable a few days after launch, as word of mouth filled the voids the owners pre-launch social media blitz couldn’t.
“As soon as we got word out people were stoked to have us here, wanted to come out and see what we were all about,” said Douglass.
The store is always expanding on its customers wants and needs. Cardfight!!, a new Tradeable Card Game was introduced to the stores lineup after repeated suggestions.
“Our approach is pretty much: if people want to play it, we are happy to support it!” said Douglass.
Everyday the shop hosts tournaments for the various games it sells, ranging from Magic: the Gathering on Tuesdays through Saturdays to hosting board game nights on Tuesdays.
“We host tournament events every day of the week. We have Magic, three or four times a week. Yu-Gi-Oh twice a week … we’ve recently scheduled a Dungeons League for Dungeons & Dragons and we have free play where people can come in an jam some board games… just gotta get people in by playing games, that’s what this is all about,” said Beck.
If new players wish to join a game such as Magic, the owners are more than willing to work with that customer to ensure they understand the fundamentals of the game.
The Dragon’s Dens owners have set up competitions in order to cater to both a casual audience, who just want to have fun, and the more hardened audience who want a competitive experience.
“For example our Yu-Gi-Oh events, we do just a four round swiss, no cut to top aid or anything like that on our weekly’s, then on every month we run something with a higher entry fee and a higher prize payout that’s run at more competitive levels,” said Beck. “So I really want to cater to both groups because I know that just playing the regular tournament events doesn’t feel good to a competitive grinder, but I know that people have fun with games because they’re games.”
Beck and Douglas both strive to make the shop a friendly, open place for customers, where they can seek the aid of the owners in building a new deck build, testing out a new build and generally hang out, playing their games with friends.
“The best thing about the business of selling fun and being in the retail business is the best way to push the business forward is to have people like you and want to come back. The best way to get that is to be a friendly person, and be helpful with things,” said Beck.