By Amirah Razman
Jason Webster enjoyed playing games in his twenties, so he decided to work at a game store in 1995. Two months later, he accepted an offer from the owner to manage the store.
And four months after that, Webster became owner of the business known as Dreamers Vault Games, which today has multiple locations across the Twin Cities, including one that recently opened near the House of Wong on Larpenteur Avenue.
Webster said public acceptance of the new store was positive as the gaming community quickly discovered the store’s opening. As many as 40 people come to play board games every weekend, he said.
“The vision was to put together a place where people could come and enjoy being around other people who they might not ever get to know in real life,” Webster said. “The idea is just a place away from your normal, everyday life to have fun.”
Dreamers Vault Games opened in 1992 as a sports cards store but shifted to a game store after Magic: The Gathering, a collectible card game, was released and outsold other sports cards, according to Webster.
“I’ve had my new business partner since 2013, and that’s when we really started the push to grow as a business,” Webster said.
Jonathan Seymour, a gamer who shops at Dreamers Vault Games, said he started shopping at the store after a friend got him into Dungeons and Dragons, a role-playing game that sold game material at the store.
“Having access to a store that actually has the items that you need to play the games is amazing, and having a community that’s out there that can help you get interested and tell you things is amazing,” Seymour said.
In addition to selling games, the store hosts tournaments and gatherings for customers to play games with one another, Webster said. Some people enjoy the competition of the tournaments, while others simply enjoy playing games with other people.
Seymour would visit Dreamers Vault twice a month, but when his friends started a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, he visited the store every weekend.
“I have made lots of friends all because of Dreamers,” Seymour said. “The fact that I was able to get into a community that I didn’t use to be into, and Dreamers also got me involved with Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards.”
Webster said he is gratified seeing people play games in the store.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a career,” Webster said. “It puts a smile on my face when I see 30 board gamers (playing in the store) because that’s 30 people who are doing what they love to do.”
Amirah Razman is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota interning for the Park Bugle.