Board Game Fans Help Geek Retreat Cafe With Gofundme Donations
Board game enthusiasts gathered around a new cafe and raised over £ 3,000 to help pay for running costs.
Geek Retreat at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, was started by Matthew Wellington and his wife Andra Gheorghe in July of last year.
But just as the business took off, the Omicron strain of coronavirus hit, leading to a drop in footfall.
As a result, the couple launched a gofundme page with the aim of raising £ 10,000, which was supported by customers.
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They donated £ 3,395 which kept the shop up and running over Christmas time and the New Year.
The gofundme page said: “We believed that by opening at the end of July our business would not be really affected by any of the massive Covid issues. How wrong we were.
“We are currently in a position where we started our business with zero and although we have started doing well and built great communities, the struggles of Covid have now hit us. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and we will be grateful for anything anyone can help us with. ”
Mr Wellington said: “We are very grateful for the donations that have helped us get through this and we are now waiting for Oxford to come back to life.
“We have a lot of people who come here to play Magic: The Gathering and some of them have made some pretty big donations.
“Things were going well and we were just getting where we needed to be when the new variant came along and very quickly we lost around 60% of our sales.
“I’m happy to say that business is picking up and we just had a very busy Saturday. ”
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Mr Wellington said the cafe can seat 52 people and some players stay for hours.
They are encouraged to purchase coffee, coffee, hot snacks, and other drinks during their gaming sessions.
There are student discounts, the cafe sells board games, and hosts groups playing Dungeons and Dragons and other popular games.
While Thirsty Meeples in Gloucester Green offers competition, Mr Wellington said he enjoys working with all of the competition, including the Mystic Games store in Witney.
“The bigger the gaming community, the better it is for all of us,” Wellington added.
“We are often very busy at night but a little quieter during the day and we would like the students to come here for a break.
“They can play games, plug in their laptops, have coffee and play on our game consoles.”
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Mr Wellington and his wife, who live in Northampton, employ five people to help them run the cafe.
It is now open from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and from noon to midnight on Friday and Saturday.