Dragon’s Den is a new local game store in Princeton that offers tabletop games and other players a haven in Caldwell County.
Christopher Wall and four other business partners banded together to roll the dice on the new Princeton business — located on West Main Street, next to WPKY and Whistle Stop Donuts Tiffanys Delights.
The impetus for the Den reaches into Wall’s childhood, when cartoons and board games were prominent. His partners are friends and they have a history of playing tabletop games together.
Wall explained that tabletop games have migrated to digital mediums with the advent of technology and the internet. Twitch is one streaming website where millions of viewers from all around the world can watch and interact with other tabletop communities. Viewers watch players — some of whom are celebrities in their own right — play tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.
“The upside is Dungeons & Dragons is seeing its most popular time ever,” Wall said.
Wall said Magic: The Gathering is another tabletop game achieving record paper sales during the past couple of years.
His market research demonstrated a need for niche gaming in rural areas.
Wall noted Princeton had one store in the mid-1990s that sold comics, although the business was not considered an gaming store or dedicated to the tabletop community.
He recalled his early gaming excursions as a teenager were in cities like Paducah and Madisonville — many miles out of town.
Although he does consider the Den a passion project with a solid business plan, the goal is to expand and grow the community.
Wall and his partners have never owned a business of their own. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and has a career in retail management.
He said a good location can be hard to come by in Princeton.
“I saw this location was open, and I called immediately to see if I can get it.”
Packaged goods and sealed drinks are the only food items for sale. Wall said outside food is allowed in the shop.
Wall said he and his partners are not looking to make an enormous profit: “I wanted something with a low overhead.”
The den carries books, tabletop games and a variety of collectibles in addition to video game consoles, arcade game machines and gaming PCs. Wall also hopes to host gaming tournaments and other events that will invite new players, help establish a robust clientele and make the Den a great place to meet new people as an alternative gathering space.
The store’s grand opening is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. and ends around 9 p.m.