The 2020s are shaping up to be the decade of the geek, as classically niche and nerdy culture becomes more mainstream and beloved by all. Whether more recently inspired by franchises like “Stranger Things,” or longtime lovers of all things gaming since the 1980s, local game store Mindtaker Miniatures has something for fans both young and old.
“Mindtaker Miniatures Games and Hobbies is known for having the things that no one else has,” said co-owner Robyn Lowy. “Whether it is long out-of- print games, miniatures from discontinued lines or just the exact bit you need to complete a model, we offer a unique buying experience for the fellow hobbyists in Clark County.”
Lowy first got into the hobby shop business 20 years ago; as lifelong gaming enthusiasts, Lowy and her family had a vast selection of games stored away. However, when money was tight, it was often difficult finding the extra funds to spend on adding to their collection. So, Lowy began looking online for other enthusiasts willing to make a trade, swapping out some of their older collectables they didn’t play anymore for the new games they were after.
After a while, Lowy found the art of the trade just as fun as playing the games.
“Over time, trading with other members of the community became our new favorite pastime,” Lowy said. “Friends asked us to help them trade things and slowly a business began to form. We’ve spent the last 10 years honing our skills and supporting the community that supported us so much in the beginning.”
Now with their own storefront, Lowy and her team are able to connect with fellow hobbyists face-to-face, spending each day meeting new customers who share their passion, running events for the local gaming communities, appraising collectibles, and shipping orders to spread the love with fans across the area.
“Most of our stock and store is based on hobbyists and gamers just like us. We buy unused and unloved games and turn them into the new ‘latest things’ for other gamers,” Lowy said. “If folks in the area have miniatures and games sitting on their shelves collecting dust, we love being able to give people the opportunity to bring them to us to turn them into new games or cash to breathe new life into their hobby.”
Working with such a wide range of specialties is not always fun and games, but Lowy is always excited to flex that creative muscle to level up her business.
“Being unique has its challenges; no systems exist in the marketplace currently that integrate the many facets of our business,” Lowy said. “Developing the systems and resources that allow us to thrive in this new space, though challenging, is my favorite game.”
As previously mentioned, thanks to shows like “Stranger Things,” and other nostalgic franchises being rebooted for a new generation, recent years have seen a huge boom in geek culture. Activities that were once seen as niche, like retro video games, tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, and fantasy gatherings like renaissance fairs are receiving new love from fans of all ages.
Lowy and her team have certainly seen this trend play out at the shop, connecting with a whole new crowd of players partaking in the hobby they’ve loved for so long.
“In trading out-of-print games and game systems with rich histories, we see the impacts every day. People are returning to the hobbies and games that sparked so much joy in their youth and sharing it with their families and friends,” Lowy said. “We’re happy to make those long-lost treasures available and accessible to a whole new generation of tabletop gamers.”
Gamers, traders and hobbyists of all ages and experience are welcome to see what Mindtaker Miniatures has in store at 17030 S.E. First St. Suite 106 in Vancouver, or online at www.mindtaker.org.