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Gather & Game by Westside Stories on Grant Street

Grant Street continues to be a unique hub for entrepreneurship. The lovely stretch of asphalt and concrete offers new spaces to visit, such as The Tabernacle and new vendors at the West Side Bazaar. Thankfully, the business trend is expanding. Board game enthusiasts, it’s time to maneuver your way over here and rejoice at Gather & Games. Formerly the home for Sunday Skate Shop, the building is now a tabletop-gaming play space at 212 Grant Street.

Owners of Westside Stories, Joe and Jeanenne Petri, are the masterminds behind this establishment. I was fortunate enough to hear through the e-grapevine about a sneak-peak preview for Gather & Games this past Saturday, and I was pleased with what I walked into: a haven for tabletop game nerds such as myself. The options were plentiful: Catan, Ticket to Ride, King of Tokyo, Dixit, Fireworks, along with party games like What Do You Meme?, Bad People ,and so much more. Head towards the back of the store and you’ll find a selection of games available for purchase.

A casual gamer who is involved with a local role-playing group, Joe told me he and Jeanenne started out by adding new games to the bookstore’s collection about five years ago – Westside Stories is located across the street. Over time, they started stocking more games and eventually visited tabletop game cafés in Toronto and Cleveland, where they saw gaming spaces that didn’t exist in the city of Buffalo.

“We started out by adding games that were literary themed to complement the bookstore, later becoming more avid gamers ourselves. Two years ago, one of our wholesalers had an open house in the midwest. We went to check out more games, and it all happened from there,” Joe said.

As the collection of games at the bookstore started to clutter, the goal was to open up a game-play space in the future. When Sunday Skate closed, building owner Prish Morgan (Sweetness_7 and The Tabernacle) told Joe and Jeanenne the storefront was available.

“I didn’t think we would be ready for at least another year or two, but as soon as she approached us, we loved the space. The owner of Sunday made it amazing and beautiful,” Joe said.

Gather & Games invites and encourages more nightlife into the neighborhood, where storefronts usually close by 7pm, with the exception of The Gypsy Parlor and The Tabernacle.

“We want to see more people from the city come into the neighborhood. It’s a good thing and it is exciting,” Joe said.

For only $3, you can spend the day at the space and play as many games as your heart desires. Or, you can pay $25 for a single, one-year membership (or $40 for a couple – call for details) and reap the benefits: bring up to three guests; get 10% off retail purchases; and full use of the game library.

Joe and Jeanenne plan on partnering with local cafés to offer baked goods and beverages. Right now, they offer light refreshments like coffee and soda. There are also plans in the foreseeable future to host events and tournaments. Gather & Games is open Wednesday – Sunday.

Gather & Game by Westside Stories on Grant Street | 212 Grant Street | Buffalo, New York 14213 | (716) 248-1883 | Facebook

Written by Sara Ali

Sara Ali

Sara is a freelance writer living on Buffalo's West Side. She works full time in human services, part time in freelance, and is currently working towards her endeavor to create a nonprofit focused on telling the stories of the refugee and immigrant communities.

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