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The City of Racine’s newest local game shop is open. As of June 11, 2022, The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium officially began serving patrons. The locally-owned storefront provides a place for people to shop, learn and connect to Racine’s gaming community. It’s a complete hub for entertainment!

The local game shop is owned and operated by Janet & Zac Pawlowski. The two have a mutual love for both Racine and the gaming industry. Therefore, opening up shop has been a pleasure to do together. The couple has resided in the area for nearly a decade. Prior to the opening of their store, Zac served as the Tech Director for Siena Catholic Schools.

One door closes, another opens

Throughout the shop, games are unboxed and set up so entertainment seekers can see what they might be getting themselves into! – Credit: Emma Widmar

Not only was he engulfed in the world of tech at work, but his passion for gaming and technology didn’t just stop outside of his prior 9 to 5.

His love for gaming made him a regular customer at Rockhead’s Comics and Games, which operated at 2328 Roosevelt Rd, in Kenosha. It closed after 47 years, per the Kenosha News.

The closure of one store led to the opening of another, but this time in Racine. Zac shares, “what do I do without a game store? I guess I could have a game store.”

Now, he and his wife have done exactly that. The tables have turned and Racine now has the upper hand when it comes to accessing the newest in game shops.

“A lot of thought process, a lot of research went into play on Zac’s part,” says Janet.

Access to gaming

The storefront is located at 4615 Washington Ave. The building that now functions as The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium, once housed Racine Cyclery, for nearly 60 years. The building and its owners are taking a spin in a different direction, providing Racine with an accessible location to a different industry, that provides a different type of entertainment.

The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium is the place to be for gamers, both experienced and those just starting to explore the industry. It’s open to people of all ages and demographics. While some games are sensitive to your gaming experience and skills, the shop owners are dedicated to assisting each customer in finding something that fits the bill for them.

Uniquely, the store serves community members best with its approach to accessibility and pricing. They have a cohesive layout that allows customers to view what is on the shelves, without guessing about prices or type of game is in front of them. In addition, throughout the store, games are open and on display. This gives customers an idea of what games look like out of their box!

The mythical dragon is central to a lot of games, especially RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Shop offerings

Children’s gaming section of The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium offers plenty to discover. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Throughout the 4,000-square-foot retail space and 1,500-square-foot play space, there are areas that offer different types of games, knick-knacks, and space to play, explore and discover the world that awaits each person.

When you step inside The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium you may find games that expand beyond your imagination.

Additionally, you’ll run into a handful of classic games, such as copies of Life and Clue, which will certainly bring people back to their own childhoods.

“They are more similar even to what you might have seen in your grandma’s closet,” shares one of the owners.

The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium is the place to unlock a new hobby or to continue advancing your love for board games, role-playing games (RPGs), and beyond. They offer the following in-store and on their website:

Plenty of gaming accessories await gaming enthusiasts, whether they are just starting out or need to refresh their stock. – Credit: Emma Widmar

Bang for your buck

In addition to what is listed above, the store offers a consignment shop that customers can utilize to sell their games and receive 70% in-store credit when the game sells.

“We offer the opportunity for customers to sell their games that they do not need anymore,” states Janet. Though they’ve only been open for a short time, Zac says that one individual utilizing the program has racked up nearly $250 worth of store credit.

Another way that the store stays customer-focused is by offering a selection of games available for rent. Zac describes the rental program: “You get a game for four nights, for a fraction of the price. And then if you like the game within seven days of renting it, you’ll get the price of the rental off the purchase of the game.”

Lastly, keeping costs in mind, the store’s play area has a $5 admission fee. With that, the store will credit those using this area to play, with a $5 gift card. In the play area, people are allowed to bring their own games, converse with other gamers and potentially meet others looking to game.

“The biggest problem in gaming is finding other gamers,” explains Zac. The niche activity can be time-consuming and require a great deal of knowledge and attention. The couple is striving to connect gamers with each other and draw others to the fun as well.

A collection of different circuits, motherboards, keyboards and so much more, the tech wall is something to gaze upon. – Credit: Emma Widmar

On the horizon

The gameplay space is also used as the meeting area for W.O.W. – Women (Board Gamers) On Wednesdays – which takes place every other Wednesday night. The next event will be hosted on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. at The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium.

“We want people to have the opportunity and facilitate fun,” says Janet, a woman who games.

Likewise, there are other events taking place throughout the month of September at the store. Learn about other activities happening on their website.

Stop on in to The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium

If The Sanctum Tabletop Gaming Emporium seems like a place you’d click with, check it out. The storefront is open the following business hours:

  • Mondays. . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Tuesdays – Fridays. . . . .Noon – 10 p.m.
  • Saturdays. . . . . . . . . . . . .11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Sundays. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Learn more about the shop by visiting their website or Facebook page.

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