COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – What used to be a paintball shop changed into a gaming center for business owners and spouses Jerry and Meredith Fry. The company provides not only board games, but organized play where people can meet and interact with various games.
To keep it all organized, there was a weekly calendar that detailed all the games and times they would be held. The couple maintained this schedule until the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit.
“We had weekly tournaments for ‘Magic: The Gathering,’ ‘Pokemon’, and miniature games like ‘Warhammer 40K’,” Meredith said.
Moxie used to have a location on Williams Road, but in 2013 moved to a new shop on Warm Springs Road. The new location allowed them to give more room for players coming in and making a space for the community.
“Organized play used to be part of the business, and now I would say probably a third of the store that was devoted to people coming in and playing, we have that closed off so there’s no longer people in here playing,” Jerry said.
Before the organized play was shut down, the entire business closed for 10 days in March to configure safety measures to move forward carefully, due to COVID-19.
“It was about the second week of March we closed doors for 10 days and then made the decision to do grab and go curbside pickup orders to try and make that even for people that did not want to come in,” Meredith said. “We kind of had the store blocked off so customers couldn’t come in for shopping during that time.”
The decision to limit access in the store came after careful consideration for the Frys, who have two immunocompromised staff members working inside.
“We were kind of like personal shoppers there for a while. Now, we let customers come in and they can shop the store, but they must wear a mask,” Jerry said. “If they can’t wear a mask, we can set up other arrangements.”
Even though organized play is not available, the business has kept a steady stream of regular and new customers by providing more inventory of two-player games, children’s games, hobby supplies, and more.
One of their specialties is board games, which features an array of categories that goes beyond the popular titles. Some of the different games they’ve seen include knitting, bird raising, and trains.
“A lot of people just think there’s ‘Monopoly,’ ‘Scrabble,’ board games that everybody has in their closet,” Jerry said. “But there are so many more. It is just unbelievable.”
The variety of options means that everyone in your family could like a different activity, making game night much harder than before. This even rings true for the Frys who all hold separate interests.
“That’s the problem for us as a married couple. We actually like totally different things! Jerry’s into resource management games,” Meredith said. “I’ll try anything once, but the other aspect of our business is the hobby side where I like to build the ‘Warhammer 40K’ models and paint them.”
The couple also have two children ages 14 and 16 who also enjoy painting, but have relished into puzzles since the expansion of their products.
“I think a lot of people have been looking for stuff to do during this time which is one of the reasons we branched out into puzzles recently, and those have been hard to come by with the distribution because there’s such a high demand,” Meredith said.
A few more of the reasons they increased their inventory is to make up for the loss revenue of organized play and to stock up on certain games that have had production issues due to the pandemic.
“When this first happened, we had a lot of distributors and manufacturers that closed down, so we couldn’t get their product,” Jerry said. “And our shelves started to look bare. I hope we don’t get back to that point.”
Meredith says the couple are trying to stock up on products in case production slows down, so if they have to switch back to curbside pick up, they’re ready.