The Dragon’s Den: Sanctuary for gamers

In a small town like Homer, it’s important to have niche businesses, which both fill a need in the community and contribute to its economy. One of these niche businesses, which opened this month, is The Dragon’s Den, the go-to store in Homer for any and all involved in gaming.

Abe Alborn, owner of The Dragon’s Den and also of the local construction business Excalibur, says Homer has been without a gaming store for 14 years, and that it is something the community has needed.

Alborn’s new business, which is a sanctioned Wizard’s of the Coast retailer, offers a variety of merchandise to meet a gamer’s needs.

“As far as what we have right now, we’ve got lots of different card games like Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Force of Will, Dragon Ball Z,” Alborn said. “We’ve got lots of different miniatures. We’ve got X-wing, we’ve got Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, we’ve got Blood Bowl, we’ve got … lots of older comic books.”

The Dragon’s Den also offers a number of expensive board games, usually out of reach for the shallow pockets of youth, which can be rented for a small fee and played within the ample gaming space.

This ample space is another one of the major services the business provides. People are always free to come in during business hours and use the space for the game of their choice, but are also invited to take part in the business’s many scheduled events (see information box, this page), which bring in people from around the community to participate in varying tournaments.

For those new to gaming, Alborn also says there’s a lot of beginner gaming on Saturdays and Sundays. The Dragon’s Den even offers free “Magic: The Gathering” welcome decks.

Eventually, Alborn hopes for his business to reach the advanced level in the WPN (Wizard’s Play Network), which would allow The Dragon’s Den to host “Magic” grand-prix qualifiers and pro-tour qualifiers, meaning that his business would be able to send someone from Homer to the finals, which are often held in interesting locations like Prague and Madrid.

Alborn is excited for this possibility, and is overflowing with other ideas for the future, including a program which might reward students with store credit for good grades, and an expansion of available computers and consoles for gaming.

Given that Homer has been without a gaming store for so long, the community’s reception to the new business has been as Alborn expected: overwhelmingly positive. He said that the grand opening on July 15 was well attended, with around 50 people in at the peak, and a couple hundred in and out throughout the day.

For many, this business is long awaited, and provides an important outlet and alternate for community members of all ages.

“Everybody is just … stoked this place is here,” Alborn said.

Mattea Peters is a college student working as an intern at the Homer News.

A small portion of the merchandise sold at The Dragon's Den, located on Pioneer Avenue in the Hillas building.

A small portion of the merchandise sold at The Dragon’s Den, located on Pioneer Avenue in the Hillas building.