It's always been my belief that any town big enough to support a game store should have one. So when Bloomington/Normal found itself without a store, I decided that I could run one in the evenings after my workday at State Farm ended.
Almost eight years ago, Gryfalia's Aerie opened at 413 N Main Street. It was much smaller than our current location, had no advertising, and at the start, very few games.
Obviously this town needed a game store, because, from such humble beginnings, you all came and played and bought and played some more. We supported FlatCon and you supported us right back.
Our selection grew until we had one of the largest in Illinois. We ran events for all kinds of games, including organized play for Magic, Heroclix, YuGiOh, Warhammer, Warmachine, and many others.
The store was doing so well that my long-suffering wife, Kristi, was willing to let me leave State Farm and run the store full time with longer hours. We moved to a much larger location a block south. I finally broke down and hired an employee. We went to 6 days a week. We ran more events, larger events, and tons of great things happened here.
Every year has seen an increase in events, sales, and good times…
…and now it's time for me to move on.
It's been a pleasure helping bring great games and fun experiences to BloNo, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't enjoyed it. But I am ready to work on other things in my life, spend more time with Kristi, and simply take a break.
But don't despair! Not even a little! I found the right person to buy the store and take it to the proverbial next level. Jamie Mathy is a well-known downtown businessman who is also a gamer. Many of you have seen him in the Aerie at various times and we decided earlier this year to place ownership of the store into his capable hands.
Very little will be changing, except for a much better Point of Sale system and some paint, plus a taller guy behind the counter. I'll still be around, but only to help out now and then, or actually play games for fun.
There are some items that will be happening in the short term due to the ownership change:
- We will be closed the week of June 29 - July 6. Note that we WILL be running FNM that week, but it will be at 4PM (so you can see the fireworks). Watch for more information.
- Restocks will be limited over the next couple weeks. Every item that we don't have come July 1 is one less thing we need to put into the new system. However, if it's important and comes out in the next two weeks we'll still be bringing it in.
- There will be a lot of boxes around the store as we organize things and prepare to paint some parts of the store.
It has been a great honor to bring fun and games to Bloomington/Normal, and you have done me the return honor of supporting the store and playing more games! It is with my deepest appreciation of you all - my customers and friends - that I made sure I passed the store into the right hands. Things will only get better!
Expect to hear more information soon about Jamie and his plans for the store, as well as my future plans.
Thanks again to all of you,
President of Gryfalia's Aerie, Incorporated
We will be opening at 5pm the following days:
- Wed. May 21
- Thurs. May 22
- Fri. May 23
See the link above for information regarding the StarCityGames.com 2014 Illinois State Championship, the Grand Prix Trial for Grand Prix Chicago and the Legacy Tournament for a Mox! This is all happening May 17-18 at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Uptown Normal.
The Marriott is conveniently located only two blocks from both the train and bus stations
The hotel offers Jesse's Grille (full-service restaurant, open B, L, D) and Caffeina's Café (coffee house). There are also many restaurants and shops within a block or two of the hotel.
We hope to see you there!