When we opened our store over six years ago, I said to my husband. “I don’t know if this will work, but if Fort Wayne wants a store like ours it will support us, if it doesn’t. Well we tried.” So I have to be honest. I am definitely taking that same approach as I did back then. Because honestly, I don’t know. I am hopefully, but candidly it is scary for sure.
However, six years and many customers later, the team and I decided it was time to move. We felt like we want so much more. Nobody ever wants to move a business, but we knew it was time. (Insert Dawn’s panic here)
It was a very hard decision, but last summer we started looking as our lease was up for the third time and we really wanted to make some changes. So we started the process of deciding between resigning a lease and/or moving.
We also looked at the building and nothing about that plaza says “The Wander Inn”. The Wander Inn is what we envision for our beer and wine area. The more adult night out concept. So we again started looking more diligently. We weren’t sharing this with anyone, but we really were starting to get excited. I am still proud at how long we kept this to ourselves. We love to talk about exciting things so it was killing us!
We also realized that the building couldn’t accommodate any more growth. As an older building, it didn’t really have any special characteristics that I was attached to or would miss. And although we actually did a great job in making the facility look amazing. There were issues that were just becoming annoying. The way we expanded, the restrooms were in the middle of our building as well as the utility closets. There is plenty of repair that needed done and we seemed all very excited at the opportunity of building something we dreamed of vs. creating more out of what was already there.
We loved what the store had become, but had much larger aspirations. And as we started looking deeper into our customer base next. Making sure our move wouldn’t be to paralyzing to our customers and what we have created. We don’t want to go 2 steps forward and 5 steps back. However, we were shocked when we realized that so many of you were traveling to see us from the northern part of the city. So the idea that we weren’t trapped in the southwest part of Fort Wayne opened up so many opportunities.
Fort Wayne is not that big and is beautifully laid out so that it is easily accessible from all directions. So the goal was central or easily accessible from all sides of town. We didn’t have that luxury near Jefferson Point. So the search was on. We determined quickly that we needed to be near a very busy place like Glenbrook Square Mall or the Interstate. Since so many of my friends and colleagues were all ready near Glenbrook, our first location pick was just proving to be too close to their businesses. But it was a really good building that would have a complete build out to create exactly what we wanted from the ground up. Everything I wanted in the move.
So we lamented and were literally just about to sign the intent to lease on the Glenbrook area lease when the realtor called and said “Dawn, we have that building on Lima road to show you now. It is vacant.” I was shocked. We had already made our mind up. What are you doing to me, Lord? What do you have in store?
So, I gathered Scott, Zach, Katie and myself for a team meeting and asked if we should go look at it? We loaded up that day and rushed out the new location in Zach’s car, because we already made the mistake of driving The Game Annex Mustang to other properties and the jig was up for a few of them. Glad to know the car was working! Just not in this moment.
When we walked in the building I knew this was the building. I just didn’t want to get too excited, I sell board games! So would this or could this work? I mean really that is still to be determined right? But this seemed like the right direction. We could really make this store something Fort Wayne deserves. I mean, Fort Wayne is a mecca of board gaming companies, customers and stores. We were the 10th to open at the time. So Fort Wayne is vastly rooted in the game industry.
Well the rest is history right? But now we can’t wait to get everything up and running. We want the Wits & Wander Adventure Center to be THE PLACE for all of us Fort Wayne proud nerds. And we want to most importantly show so many unfamiliar people the amazing hobby that encourages family quality time, brain health, socialization, and mostly FUN!
So join us at 6230 Lima Road for our amazing transformation and help us to continue to support the growth of gaming. We can’t do it without you the customer. Thank you for all you have already done for us and here is to hoping the growth works!