Gaming store Geek Retreat opens in Portsmouth city centre offering milkshakes, Warhammer events, Pokemon merchandise and much more
A NEW table-top and trading card game store has opened in the Portsmouth’s city centre, offering a cafe bar and plans on the horizon for video games nights.
Part of a nationwide franchise opening hundreds of stores across the UK, Geek Retreat hopes to be a one-stop shop for anyone interested in ‘geek’ culture, ranging from table-top gaming to limited edition prints from local artists.
The store, in Arundel Street, near Commercial Road, held a grand opening on Saturday.
The event went so well staff were left rushing out to restock the store’s café bar – a ‘fantastic’ result, according to franchisee Bruce Cooke.
The 30-year-old former composite technician said: ‘We just want to make a great community. It feels amazing to be open.’
Now the store has plans for different events – featuring Warhammer, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: The Gathering – almost every night of the week, as well as plans for video game nights, featuring Mario Kart among other classic multiplayer games.
Business partner and fellow franchisee Beth Davis, 40, said: ‘It’s been scary – but exciting. I’m more of a computer gamer and we have some big plans. We’re planning on adding a Switch (console) soon and doing gaming nights. We’re hoping to have Mario Kart events too.’
The city now boasts several stores catering for the table-top gaming community, which includes Warhammer – previously Games Workshop – across the street from Geek Retreat, and the Dice board game lounge in Southsea’s Albert Road.
The businesses should see a healthy community of hundreds of avid table-top and trading card enthusiasts, according to community stalwart Steven Ward, who said he had seen a surge of interest in the gaming culture during the pandemic.
Steven, who is a member of the Brucehammer Warhammer gaming club in Portsmouth, said: ‘Lockdown has really boosted people to come and play games and pick up a hobby.
‘Absolutely the city can sustain three shops dedicated to these sorts of games. I know hundreds of people in the city who take part in Warhammer gaming.’
Enjoying a milkshake with his two children in the new Geek Retreat shop, he added: ‘It’s just a great atmosphere, it’s a great space. Family’s are really welcome, I’ve brought down my two young children. It’s really great.’