So, the big news for The Game Table Café is that we will be closing after 6 years of operations. This has been one of the toughest decisions I have had to make in recent memory. Our customers and employees (both past & present) have become like family to us and closing the café was a very tough decision. The official last day of the café is 24 December 2021. Between now and then I have two goals. First, make sure we take care of our customers. Second, make sure our employees have a great transition. If you wish to know more then please read through the FAQ below.
- Why are you closing? No single reason. A multitude of facts drove me to this decision. These are in no particular order, but all contributed to the decision.
– In my long-term plan, 2021 was to be a year to take the Café to the next level. The plan had been to find a location with better visibility, space for a permanent escape room and private rooms, and room for a larger kitchen and retail area. We have a successful business model, we have the money, but the current business climate is extremely chaotic. My business confidants are advising me that this is not the year to launch what I had planned to launch.
– Our current lease ends on 4 January 2022. The Hampden Center property management has been awesome and made several offers to try and get us to stay. However, all of those offers required us to sign a five-year lease. What we want to do with the café can’t be done at the current location and I don’t want to lock us in for another five years.
– Costs and supply shortages have drastically altered how difficult it is to run our kitchen and to provide reasonably priced, high quality food service.
– My wife Laura (also the café’s chef) is experiencing significant knee pain. Working in the kitchen with constant deep knee bends required is exacerbating her pain. She is scheduled for knee replacement surgery in January. We had been training an assistant chef to take over while Laura recovered, but the assistant chef has left us for another job.
– New location build out. I have been looking for a new location and talking to contractors since May of 2021. I had hoped to find a new location before our current lease runs out. However, the fact that it is easy and cheap to borrow money right now means that there are a lot of people building things. Contractors are booked up and the ones I talked to basically told me the soonest they could get to my project would be Fall of 2022. I was hoping to find a location with minimal build out, but it just has not happened.
- Will there be another Game Table Café in the future? Maybe. Operating over the last six years has proven to me that the business model works. I know what works and what doesn’t. I have ideas on how we could make it work even better. However, there are many other factors involved in starting up another Game Table Café. First, it must work for our family. Laura’s recovery. John’s availability/desire to continue, my energy & ambition to try out my ideas. Second, the business climate needs to stabilize. Costs, shortages, employee availability, etc.,. Third, we need to find the right location. Now that we have decided to close, I am focused on transitioning out of the current location, making sure we honor all our commitments to customers, and helping our employees transition to a new job. So I am not focused on a future Game Table Café at the moment.
- How can I help? Right now, I would encourage you to continue to enjoy the café. My goal is to continue to provide the highest quality service and entertainment experience possible. That will be a huge help to all of us. This has been an emotional decision for us and has been emotional for our employees. They all love the café. We all want to keep seeing you. You are our friends and family, and we want to be able to say goodbye.
- Will you have a big farewell party? Maybe. Several people have asked us to do this. We are looking at dates in December to try and make this happen. It will probably be a catered event. We would want to be able to not worry about operating the café but just sit down with everyone and play games and enjoy your company.
- What about my annual pass? Everyone with an annual pass that expires after December 2021 will receive store credit in the amount equal to the percentage of time remaining on your pass. For example, if you have an annual pass that expires in June 2022 you will receive $60 in store credit. (6 months = ½ an annual pass. ½ of $120 = $60). We will have everyone’s store credit calculated by the time we open on Tuesday, and you are welcome to use it anytime between now and when we close on 24 December.
- What about my 5 or 10 pass? If you do not intend to use your pass over the next month we will provide you store credit based on the value remaining on your 5 or 10 pass. For example, if you have a 10 pass with 5 uses remaining, we will give you store credit for ½ of a 10 pass or $20.
- What if I have a Gift Certificate? We will honor all gift certificates until we close on 24 December. If you want a refund on a gift certificate you will need to return the gift certificate to us with the receipt for its purchase. We will refund the value back onto the card used to purchase the gift certificate. We can’t provide cash refunds for gift certificates, nor can we refund certificates without a receipt.
- What if I don’t like any of this? If you are unhappy with any of the policies above regarding passes or gift certificates, please contact Tom. Our goal is to make good on all customer obligations. If the above policies don’t fit your need, then discuss it with Tom for possible alternative solutions.
- Where am I supposed to game after you close? I would encourage you to come into the café during the month of December and sort that out with the people you have become friends with at the café. It is always better to make a collective decision than to scatter all over the place and lose contact with your friends. There are many great options available. Try the other board game cafes in the area. Both the Gamehaven Cafe and Bakery in York and UrTurn Café in Harrisburg have similar events and atmosphere. There are also several game groups that meet in churches and community centers around the area. These can be found on www.meetup.com. I know I will be dropping in on some of the game groups I frequented before we opened the café. I do hope to see you around.