Bigger is better...when it comes to gifts and games!

If you haven’t noticed, our sister-store, Nerd Herd, has gone through a bit of a growth spurt. In June, the store relocated from its modest 1,000 square-foot location on Baltimore Street (which, some may remember, also housed Lark in our first four years) to the more spacious, 2,500 square-foot former home of the Gettysburg National Bank. The move has not only allowed the store to increase its product line beyond the scope of board games to include more novelties and gifts; it has given the store a way to connect with its community in a much more hands-on way.

“I think we’re doing a lot better in this new space,” says Nick Wallace, the 17-year-old high school student who runs the store along with a staff that includes several of his closest friends and fellow gamers. “With the increased space out front, we put out the giant chess set and the orange lawn chairs, and that draws people in, and then they appreciate what we have to offer as well.”

Wallace says the clientele also appreciates the increased product line for younger children who may not be interested in the board games that dominated the focus in the previous store. That product is now displayed throughout the front of the store, with math and science-based products housed in the “left brain” room and arts and literature-based products found in the “right brain” room.

“We’re trying to get it to where anybody can come into the store and finding something they like,” Nick says. “It’s a gradual shift, but it’s helped us to reach a demographic that we were missing out on before because we didn’t have the space to carry the product.”

The move to broaden the store’s product line meant that the way the games were positioned in the store needed to evolve as well. Hence, the Game Vault, an actual former bank vault that now serves as the primary show space for the games, as well as a place to host demos of the games. “Customers seem to like the idea of our game vault,” he says of the room, which also features a lounge and large screen TV for playing video games. “Having all the games in one place has allowed us to devote a bit more attention to the other product. There are still board games on display throughout the store, but now you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by it when you come in.”

“Moving has forced us to evaluate what we want to do with the store,” says Wallace’s friend and co-worker Abby Gray. “It has also helped us define our identity because we’re able to be more of a gifts and game store instead of just a game store. Families are coming in more because the store is more enticing to the whole family, and people are responding very positively to the increased ability for them to see the product and be more hands-on with it.”

Something else that has been good for the store is the recent focus on store events, such as Friday and Saturday night “game nights.” The events, which take place from 6 to 8 p.m., have not only given customers the chance to test selected games out before purchasing them, they have also given local teens (as well as those traveling through) a place to call home.

“We’re really focusing on building a community with the store with the events,” Nick says, adding that the store is currently in talks to create an after-school event during the school week that will serve a similar function as the game nights. “We want to have a place where people can come in and hang out with other nerds and play games and feel like they’re part of something.”