In the last few years, we’ve seen them rise in worldwide popularity, leading to the creation of the very first board game café right in our hometown… and beyond! This has been an amazing few years, but we want to be clear that we don’t see social gaming as a trend or a gimmick. As far as we’re concerned, this is the whole world finally admitting something every single one of us already knew… games are fun. Games have always been fun. Games are always going to be fun.
So, what are we going to do about it?
We’re going to build a cozy and welcoming board game (and video game!) café of our own. We’re going to stock great games, hire passionate staff, host unique events and serve fantastic food and drinks. We’re hoping you can make this happen.
There are a lot of great people supporting our team, and we wish we had time to introduce them all. But to keep it short and sweet, Paragon Games is primarily the dream of Daniel & Andy, husband-and-wife game-lover tag-team extraordinaire.
Daniel is all about business. He’s the one with the know-how to make this all happen. He’s got a diploma in business from Humber College, and has worked for several years as a manager at one of Toronto’s biggest multiplex theatres – before he got to dreaming about running his own board game café, that is. Since then, he’s worked in a game café and video game store, racking up plenty of small-business experience… and lots of good ideas.
Andy is the creative half of this operation (assuming that creative halves are the ones that supply salad greens). She’s a corporate training developer with a background in marketing, graphic design and illustration. She’s also an organic farmer, and is passionate about stocking the café with food that will make every guest feel like a winner (regardless of their recent gaming fortunes).
Our goal is to open in Spring of 2016! We’re working hard over the winter to make this goal a reality.
We get this question a lot, and we would love to have an answer. But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, and we definitely don’t want to be making any false promises. Location is important to us, but real estate in Toronto can be tricky – so we’ve decided to hold off making any final decisions until we’re ready to hit the ground running. We’re going to choose the absolute best location that’s available to us when we’re ready for it; we’ll pick an awesome neighbourhood, and we’ll make sure that it’s accessible to people from all over the city.
Right now, we need to gather seed capital to help us make a solid start. We want to make sure that Paragon Games succeeds in the long run, so that we can continue to serve the community for years to come. To do this, we need to make sure we start things right.
With these initial funds, we're going to be able to work with a reputable business advisor to help us solidify our business plan, budget our expenses and secure a loan to start operations.
And of course, we also want to get the word out about our new business. This Kickstarter is a way to connect with people who care about our success, and to recognize them with some awesome rewards.
We’ve designed our reward tiers so as to provide in-store perks for local Torontonian game-lovers, and fun swag perks for our supporters from out of town (or for people who just like swag).
Here's a quick chart to help you sort through our LOCAL rewards. All of these rewards will be distributed at the store, so there is no associated shipping cost!
... and here's a chart for our SWAG rewards! These rewards will be shipped to your home, wherever you are.
To produce some of these rewards, we're working with two local artists -- these guys are fantastic, and they're going to hook up our contributors with some really cool, totally unique stuff.
Anna Kwan will be working on our postcards, stickers, T-shirts and magnets. She's an amazing illustrator. She's been working with screen printing, laser cutting and other small-batch production methods to create everything from zines to magnets, and she is (actually) super cool. You can see more of her work (and life) on her instagram.
Phil Baljeu of Ruin Electronics will be working on our custom Pong console. Phil is a musician and video artist who builds custom synths and other equipment from salvaged materials. To be honest, nobody is really sure what Phil does, because he is (actually) very mysterious. However, you can also stalk him on his instagram.
UPDATE: We met our target! THANK YOU to all our backers so far. But we are still collecting funds! Why? Two reasons! Firstly, to gather even more capital, which we can use as leverage when applying for loans. We'll also be able to cover any start-up costs prior to getting loans, and that will put us on the right track to success. But more importantly -- WE WANT YOU TO GET REWARDS! If you're local, here is your chance to get passes at an awesome discount. If you want swag, you can get some seriously cool stuff. And you know what? We're going to give you even more stuff.
If we hit our $6000 stretch goal, all backers who contribute at least $25 will get a set of 4 Paragon Games pinback buttons (designs in the image above) -- at no additional shipping cost! This goes for both LOCAL and SWAG backers. (If you've backed already, YES, you count too. If you backed at under $25, you can totally up your level to get this perk).
UPDATE: Stretch goal achieved! All backers who donate $25 or more will get a pinback button set. :)
Well, that's it! Please read through the reward descriptions for more details. If you have any questions, please contact us! We'd love to chat.
And don't forget to follow us on social media!
Risks and challenges
To launch Paragon Games, we need to overcome three key challanges:
1. An active local market
Toronto is no stranger to board game cafes. We know we’re not going to be the most exciting thing to hit town this spring, and we’re not banking on this kind of hype. Our intention is not to become the latest trendy spot. What we want to do is to become a meaningful part of the local gaming community. We're going to win customers through fantastic service, a comfortable environment, good food and interactive events.
2. First-time business owners
Both of us are new to running a business, and we understand that this will be a challenge. That is exactly why we are raising these funds to hire on an experienced advisor who is familiar with this type of business. Our advisor will work with us to build out a solid business plan -- including a full run-down of our projected finances. This will allow us to make smart decisions, and ensure our success in the long run.
3. Heavy workload
Once the store is launched, we will do everything it takes to make it succeed. Our friends know that when something needs doing, we'll do it; even if it takes long hours and seven-day work weeks. We're not worried about this -- we're excited. Honestly, we can't wait to get started!
- (30 days)