HOULTON, Maine — It is not every day that you see a full suit of armor standing in a storefront window in downtown Houlton.
But then again, the area’s newest venture, Shiretown Gaming LLC, is not your everyday shop.
Shiretown Gaming LLC is a collaborative effort between Roxanne Bruce, Patrick Bruce Jr. and Greg Koester. The company started out as a school project, which then grew into something much bigger. Shiretown Gaming LLC is one of just two Games Workshop: Warhammer World officially licensed stores in the state.
“My kids are homeschooled and they love gaming,” Roxanne Bruce said. “Every year, we assign them a project and they wanted to learn how to run their own business. The kids are learning to do all the inventory and stocking and ordering.”
The business is a destination for those who love card-based games such as “Pokemon” and “Magic the Gathering,” as well as those who prefer old-school “Dungeons and Dragons.” There are also a few classic video game systems, including a virtual reality unit, that are available for use.
“This is the job I have always wanted, and I am so glad that I can work doing something I love,” said Patrick Bruce III, one of Roxanne’s children who helps run the business.
Clockwise from left: A suit of armor waits to be worn, a medieval lair awaits those who enjoy gaming and “Star Wars” merchandise are on display at the newly-opened Shiretown Gaming LLC in Houlton. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times
To participate in gaming events, customers will either need to pay a daily fee of $5 or sign up for monthly memberships. Those who want to try out certain types of games may borrow cards, dice and figures while at the store.
Shiretown Gaming LLC has a line of comic books and other merchandise available for sale, as well as snacks and energy-drink beverages and sodas to keep the gaming juices flowing. The business also has items to be used in “larping” — live-action role playing — such as elf ears, suits of armor and custom clothing.
“If people come in wearing LARP gear, they get a free beverage,” Roxanne Bruce said. “Whenever we are not doing a specific gaming activity, we have an open play policy. There are five of us here who can teach you how to play.”
Special gaming events will take place on a regular basis and can be found on the company’s website.
“We designed our shop with the idea that kids should be able to participate,” Roxanne Bruce said. “We want to be sure that families feel welcome here.”
Shiretown Gaming LLC, located at 81 Main St., is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.