EDISON PARK – Dean Angelo Jr. and Tim McManus loved cards and role-playing games so much as kids that they dreamed of opening a game store together when they were older.
More than 20 years later, the idea has come full circle. Angelo opened the Gamers-Corps at 6719 N. Northwest Highway on Sunday, bringing over 50 card games, board games, role-playing games, toys and characters from various fantastical worlds to the Far Northwest Side.
Angelo’s store is the Chicago arm of Gamers-Corps, which McManus opened in 2020 with its first store in Ellicott City, Maryland. McManus and his team also opened a store in Jacksonville, Florida in September.
Gamers Corps owners have created a network of gaming enthusiasts across the country, Angelo said. But there’s something special about opening a business on her home turf, said Angelo, a Chicago police officer from Edison Park who now lives in Norwood Park.
More games are on the way as the store fills the large storefront, Angelo said.
“We’re both St. Pat’s guys – local – so it’s cool to take it home and do this,” Angelo said.
Several restaurants and bars are located along the corridor, so Angelo wanted to bring a new type of entertainment to Edison Park that families and adults can enjoy, he said. The timing felt perfect due to increased interest in gaming during the pandemic – and just in time for holiday shopping, he said.
“There are bars, restaurants here, but no cool game store or activities for families and kids in the neighborhood, so we saw an opportunity,” Angelo said.
The shop stocks a wide range of games including Marvel Universe games, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings games, Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game, Catan, My Little Pony, Wingspan and Pandemic board games.
The large storefront, which housed a taekwondo dojo for 30 years, also has 12 tables in the back where people can play and socialize, Angelo said.
“We’re a store and also a community center for people who like games,” Angelo said. “We’ll have some [tables] for miniature games and board games and others for card games, like Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, all that cool stuff.”
Before becoming a police officer, Angelo worked for Games Workshop, a British wargame company behind popular games such as Warhammer and Warhammer Age of Sigmar, both sold by Gamers-Corps.
Angelo said he’s excited to finally be able to spend more time with his gaming hobby through the new business, which has been a family effort.
He runs the shop together with his wife Nicole Mertens. The family has spent the last two months painting, adding new floors and putting up shelving to get the store ready for customers. Her three children will also help run the store, Angelo said.
The family plans to host gaming events and seminars in the future and work with nearby businesses to make the space more of a community center. Angelo encourages the community to “tell us what you like,” he said.
The shop is open Tuesday to Thursday from 12pm to 8pm, Friday from 12pm to 9pm, Saturday from 11am to 9pm and Sunday from 11am to 7pm. A grand opening is planned for December and owners plan to extend hours as the store grows, Angelo said.
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