GAUTIER One could say that MaCnarB Gaming is a place to let out your inner child or nerd in the presence of like-minded company. And, the atmosphere is apparently working. Business is good, said owner Greg Spanier, and the store is seeing numbers that other shops dont necessarily see.
Spanier opened the shop in Singing River Mall in June 2012 after his go-to bookstore for Dungeons and Dragons material closed. He said it just went from there.
He left the mall in October 2013 and moved into a former pharmacy at 2307 U.S. 90. Since then, he said traffic has tripled. Its the best place to come and play and get your game on, Spanier said.
MaCnarB sells hobby games including magic games and products; boards games; card and deck-building games like My Little Pony; miniature games like Star Wars, Star Trek and WarMachine; role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons; and educational games.
Spanier said he sells everything below retail, and in his shop, board games are the third best selling product.
The shop also invites people to play games in the store or bring in their own. Spanier encourages players to become more social and include others in their games. Hes even trying to work with schools to offer the more educational games to students.
Most of these boards games take strategy and social skills, he said.
MaCnarB also schedules magic games and tournaments throughout the week; many are free. Every day has something going on, Spanier said.
On Mondays, the shop hosts a card game called Ascension; Tuesdays, there is a miniatures game called Warhammer; Wednesdays switches to a role playing day such as D&D; and Thursday is a card-building game called Net Runner.
On the weekends, there are Magic the Gathering card tournaments that vary in price. Monthly, Spanier hosts other special events and big tournaments such as Star Wars X-wing miniatures and regional tournaments for such games as Warhammer and Magic the Gathering. Theres also a big-screen, hi-definition television so people can bring their gaming consoles and play with others. He shows football and other sporting events in the shop. He also has a selection of snacks that he offers on the honor system.
Spanier considers his business a success and said that on any given day there are 40 to 50 people of all ages, ethnicities and genders in the shop. Spanier said the average age of his customer is 20 to 24, but there are people from 8 to 60 playing games.
Spanier described the shop as a nerd shop because hes a nerd himself. He put his own personal spin on it, making it a bright, inviting space. He hopes to be a role model to the younger nerds who come in the shop. His shop gives them a place to do the things they enjoy in a safe environment.
He calls the regular visitors to his shop Narbers.
I was a nerd. It doesnt matter; nerds are cool. Im hoping that I rub off on them, he said. Almost everyones a nerd somewhat. Its almost cool to be a nerd or geek.
Spanier also works with Coast charities. Some tournaments have canned-food drives that benefit organizations like Our Daily Bread in Pascagoula. MaCnarB is donating bandanas to a cancer charity for children that Coast Con is supporting and helps supplies their prizes.
Thats what this is all about; I give back to the kids, Spanier said.
Spanier said he doesnt know why his shop has been successful. There are a few scattered around in Mobile and Biloxi, but he thinks its the clean, bright atmosphere and overall feel of the place that makes the difference. He said that leagues at some shops for such games as WarMachine will have five or six people playing, but his league, which has been active only since December, has more than 30 people in it and theyve only been doing it since December.
Added Spanier: I just make it fun for everyone.