“The Gaming Goat is focused on spreading the love of gaming,” says owner Andy Sherrill, who opened his shop in the Seasons Market Shopping Center in October. “I love how games help people connect with others, spur creativity and imagination.”
Although the popularity of video games and apps are markers of the digital age, the exponential growth of the Gaming Goat franchise proves that the love of board games, trading card games, miniatures and party games isn’t slowing. The Illinois-based franchise of analog game stores recently expanded to 20 locations. The Woodbury location marks the first expansion outside of Illinois; five more are on the way in 2017, including stores in Houston and Las Vegas.
The Gaming Goat carries more than 500 titles of board games, as well as trading cards and other supplies for games like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon and Star Wars fantasy games like X-Wing. “We are the cheapest when it comes to board games anywhere; we even beat Amazon on most products,” Sherrill says. “Games can get pretty expensive, so that is one of our biggest draws.” The Gaming Goat’s board games are always at a 30 percent discount off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. The business model includes maintaining a low overhead with minimal staffing and selling high volume in order to pass the savings on to their customers.
“Most of our customers have a pulse on the industry and know what they want,” Sherrill says. Tables are set up for play in the store, which offers daily events for people who want to come in and play. “We have weekday night Magic the Gathering, we have events for X-Wing twice a week and Star Wars Destiny once a week. We also have board game night on Saturdays, as well as demo opportunities for people who want to try a new game, but don’t know how to play.
“Many people in the general public don’t know that these games exist,” Sherrill says. “Typically they know games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Risk, but board gaming has come a long way. We want to encourage new customers with the board game nights and demos.”
Sherrill, who lives in Woodbury with his wife and child, graduated from nursing school at the University of Minnesota and worked as an RN for 3 1/2 years. He left the field of nursing to actively pursue his strong passion for games. “I want people to know that this is a family-friendly place, where kids can come after school to play games with friends or learn new games,” Sherrill says. “I want this to be a fun, relaxing place where people can come hang out and enjoy their hobby.”
For the Sci-Fi Lover
Sci-Fi lovers will love these Fantasy Flight games such as Star Wars X-Wing, where you battle with and against miniatures of your favorite Star Wars vehicles.
Chill & Relax
Players of Tokaido will take their characters on a stroll through Japan to collect knobs and trinkets.
Try the party game Bang, a fun multiplayer game where one person is the sheriff, there are outlaws, deputies, and you don’t know who is who.
Pathfinders Society, Saturdays at 1 p.m.
Pokemon League, Sundays at 2 p.m.
HeroClix, Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.