Games of Berkeley will move in September to a newer, more expansive location at 2510 Durant Ave. to expand its current stock and hold more events.
After 19 years on the corner of Center Street and Shattuck Avenue, Games of Berkeley is moving to the Telegraph district to better serve the local community. According to owner Erik Bigglestone, the primary reason for the move is to expand space to accommodate merchandise and better incorporate the needs of the customers.
“It’s always been about serving the community of sci-fi and fantasy fans,” Bigglestone said. “(Here), we can’t add more to the breadth of the product – more things are asked for and we can’t accommodate.”
The process of moving began a couple years ago, but finally went underway when Bigglestone began looking at potential spots to relocate in March. The future location was one of the first viewed by Bigglestone, who liked the larger space and more open layout.
He added that that the business would suffer at the current location due to the large amount of construction underway in the area, noting the city’s future plans for the 16-story hotel, also planned for the Shattuck Avenue and Center Street corner, and the Center Street parking structure — located at Milvia Street and Addison Street.
The new building, formerly occupied by Earth’s Bizarre — a store that sold various forms of paraphernalia — is bigger than the current space by 2,000 square feet and less expensive than other buildings in the Downtown area, Bigglestone said. This new space will also provide more opportunities to comfortably hold bigger events.
“Once in a while, we’ll have an event with 100 or more people and we can’t accommodate that with the (current) space,” Bigglestone said.
Another benefit to the new location is the better accessibility it provides, making it inclusive to all potential customers. While the previous location did not have an elevator for those wanting to access game areas downstairs, the floorplan of current location is more accessible.
According to Bigglestone, customers have commented optimistically about the move. Local business owners in the Telegraph district are excited about the business moving into their area.
“We’re psyched — we need all the business we can get, (the) last thing we need is another pizza joint,” manager of Amoeba Music Dina Ruedel said. “Nothing against food places, but diversity is good.”
Local residents had somewhat mixed feelings regarding the move, but ultimately found it promising.
“It may alienate a portion of their older clientele,” said 20-year customer Crystal Davis. “But I think the new location would introduce a new audience.”
Davis added that perhaps some of the older clientele liked that the Shattuck Avenue location was in less proximity to student traffic.
For students like Kasden Bunker, a self-proclaimed card game master, the new store would provide an ease of access for people attending events that Games of Berkeley currently holds.
“(On a) hot summer day, take a break from walking up the hill to browse some board games and play a game of Magic (the Gathering),” Bunker said. “That’s the dream.”
Games of Berkeley expects to have its soft opening in September later this year, with plans to completely move its entire stock by the beginning of next year.
Contact Vera Esail at [email protected].