Holiday Play: Shop in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia offers fun and games
“The Queen and the Tower is of course chess,” Garcia said. “And we’re at Queen Village in Philadelphia, so that felt right.”
The couple opened Queen & Rook Keep on South 2nd Street in Queen Village just five months ago. And, already, they’re building a solid fan base because they have something that no other place in Philadelphia has.
“We’re happy to have the largest selection of board games in Philly. More than Target, more than Walmart,” said Garcia who estimates the store has around 1,000 games for different ages and interests.
“Almost any type of board game or card game, we have it here,” Wong said.
Believe it or not, the store is the result of a pandemic hub. The original Queen and Rook is actually a cafe that opened in 2019.
“We have a full restaurant, a full bar and over 13 hundred games that people can play,” Garcia said.
But when the pandemic hit, the restaurant had to take a break. After relying on delivery for a few weeks, Garcia and Wong began to see that there was increased demand for the board games they were selling in their cafe. It was then that they had the idea to open a stand-alone retail store.
“We found a two-door space (from the cafe) that had been empty for over a year,” Garcia said.
The two quickly expanded their retail and horizons as a small business owned by two people of color.
This leads to diverse thinking, even about the smallest items they carry.
“This is the second year in a row that we’ve been lucky enough to get Dreidel dice,” Wong said of the popular item.
The owners say they have a wide range of games that customers say they can’t find anywhere else. Other buyers may look for standard games that can be found in many places, but they prefer to do their business locally.
“We have a lot of people saying I know I can find this at Target or on Amazon, but I’d rather get it from someone around the corner,” Garcia said, adding that his store is usually around 10. % of large retailers. price and, in many cases, is often cheaper than large retailers.
Often times buyers can try out games if Wong and Garcia have an open version of them at the cafe (where they need gloves to play board games and sanitize each game after use).
Wong and Garcia share the love by wearing games created by women and local minorities. They hope their store full of games will help more families enjoy the holidays.
“When you think of board games, you think of friends, family and the good times,” Garcia said.
Queen’s Dungeon and the Tower
613 S. 2ND St.
Monday-Thursday: 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: noon to midnight
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
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