Milestones and New Beginnings - 9 Year Anniversary
Today marks 9 years since opening the doors to High Tide Games. In the past, we've held celebration events to mark the anniversary, but I decided against doing so this year. Construction on Bard's Bistro is at a critical point and I am pushing with every ounce of energy and funds to get it opened in April. As I type this, a jackhammer is pounding trenches in the concrete making it difficult to concentrate. That being said, I still want to take a few minutes to remember some of the milestones we've passed over the years.
High Tide Games opened March 1st, 2013 in the back portion of the building that currently has Woo's Kitchen and China Cafe.
Year 1 (2013) - We concentrated mainly on Magic and board gaming. We hosted lots of tournaments and participated in the first International TableTop Day. The community seemed to grow and grow and everyone was super supportive.
Year 2 (2014) - The limitations of that original location reached a breaking point. I'm sure some of you remember the air conditioning problems, the parking problems, and the lack of space. A mere 15 months after opening, we moved to our current location.
Year 3 (2015) - The additional space allowed us to expand into Games Workshop products. The front-facing location really boosted the growth of our Pokemon League. We also subscribed to a full-fledged Point of Sale system giving us the ability to manage inventory and keep track of metrics.
Year 4 (2016) - Events, events, events. In addition to all of the daily and release events, we held our first ever Free RPG Day, our first Easter Pokeball Hunt, and our first Board Game Swap!
Year 5 (2017) - Not entirely store related, but a huge event in my own life - my little one, known around the store as "the boss", was born in May of 2017. This year was also marked by the first St. Mary's Board Gamers Gala, the first multi-table D&D event, and a local Comic-Con!
Year 6 (2018) - This year was all about D&D! No matter how many new tables we started we still needed more. We were hosting 8 tables of D&D on Wednesday night, 6 tables of teens D&D on Friday night, elementary school D&D tables Friday afternoon, and special events like all ladies D&D and multi-table epics.
Year 7 (2019) - Believe it or not, my plan to open Bard's Bistro started back in 2019. Things were running smoothly at the store so it felt like it was finally time to branch out into what was my dream from the start - gaming + food. I even attempted to negotiate purchasing the bowling alley across the street, but sadly that deal fell through.
Year 8 (2020) - The pandemic put the restaurant expansion plan on hold. I used the shutdown as an opportunity to remodel the retail and gaming spaces. We were a very community-centric, event based business and that just wasn't sustainable anymore so we made a big shift to being retail focused and brought our website to the forefront.
Year 9 (2021) - Time to get the restaurant plan back on track. I signed the lease for next door back in May of 2021 and stared the build-out process. Renovations have been really extensive because the space wasn't set up to be a restaurant in the past. Another big accomplishment for the year was achieving WPN Premium status in July. All while juggling the ups and downs of the pandemic.
And that brings us to now. I'm super excited to see the bistro project coming together. I was really hoping we'd be celebrating this anniversary with it fully open, but I just couldn't make it happen. I'm still projecting an April opening barring all catastrophes.
I'd love to hear some of your store-related stories from the past 9 years. It has been a joy watching all of you grow and change. I now have employees who have been playing at the store since they were little kids. I'm always excited when a new "store baby" is born or when I get a wedding invite.