(Laura Schneider with the banner that’ll hold a place outside until signage is installed)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The space vacated when Anytime Fitness moved from Charlestown Center to the ex-Admiral Blockbuster already has a new tenant.
In fact, Laura Schneider signed the lease last fall and has been eagerly waiting to get in and get going.
This spring, Schneider plans to open Meeples Games in the northern second-floor space of the California/Charlestown building, next to West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor).
No, “games” does not mean an electronic arcade. Schneider declares that Meeples will be “all analog, all the time.” Not that she is opposed to electronics – she is a former software executive – but she researched the region while deciding where to open the business she has long dreamed of running, and this is a niche unserved in West Seattle, a place to buy and play board, card, and role-playing games, both informally and during organized events. She envisions seminars, too. And more:
Meeples will be a café as well as a gaming space and retail store, with espresso, beer, wine, and simple food offerings. Schneider is building a kitchen in the center of the expansive space, but not one with a fryer or oven; she says it will be designed to prepare healthy local food that goes with game-playing and socializing, like vegetable/fruit plates, cheeses and crackers, smoked salmon, and sandwiches. She’ll include vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Back to the games:
If you are not part of the game scene, you might be interested to know that this generally is something more than Monopoly. It’s the “high-quality European-style games” that will be the focus, both in the retail space and in the game library at Meeples. She cites titles including The Settlers of Catan and Cards Against Humanity as well as classics such as Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh.
Schneider’s gaming history traces to everything from Dungeons and Dragons in her college days to realizing while raising her now-grown son that there had to be better-quality games, both in substance and in materials, than what they were encountering.
She believes West Seattle will be perfect for a place like Meeples Games because of its strong sense of community, and is delighted with the welcome she’s already received while talking to West Seattleites about her business.
Right now, she’s waiting for permits so that about six weeks of construction work can commence, for the aforementioned kitchen as well as to separate the space into retail (west side), the café (south side), and the tournament/event space (north side). The space is well lit, with plenty of windows on both sides; the former gym’s mirror wall to the north will be going away. Furnishings and decor will include dining-room-type tables and track lighting.
Wondering about the hours? Likely 9 am-9 pm Sundays-Thursdays, open later (11 pm-ish) on Fridays and Saturdays. There won’t be a cover charge to come in and play, but of course, as with coffee-shop etiquette, purchases will be appreciated, whether beverages/food and/or retail items.
Meeples already has a website – which will include an online store soon that will interface with the retail merchandise – a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, so you can keep track of its progress toward opening.
(P.S. The “meeple” in the name is the game piece you see in the logo on the banner. But you probably already knew that.)
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