York will soon have a new venue where you can shop, play games and hang out.
Geek Retreat is preparing to open on Low Ousegate, in what was the former STA Travel shop.
The first shop in the chain was opened by founder Stephen Walsh in 2013. “It was only supposed to be a fun place to play ‘geeky’ games and grab a milkshake, but it quickly turned into something far more meaningful than we ever imagined,” the company says.
“Our customers became communities that thrived in the freedom to be themselves, revelled in the enjoyment of playing games and built long-lasting friendships.”
At the moment, the nearest branches are in Harrogate and Bradford.
Geek Retreat sells trading card series including Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering, plus the Yu-Gi-Oh! and Dungeons and Dragons ranges. There are also comics, T-shirts, bags and other accessories on sale.
The stores also stages many gaming events and socials, and is a place for gamers and like-minded people to hang out.
Follows Random closure
The business is currently applying for planning permission for its distinctive purple and yellow facade and sign.
Number 3 Low Ousegate is a Grade II Listed building dating back to about 1810.
“The advertisement is associated with ‘Geek Retreat’ which offers retail, gaming cafe, and events. This is consistent with a town centre use,” planning documents state.
“Principally the proposal offers a replacement to the existing advertisement and would be appropriate to the character and appearance of the conservation area and listed building.”
There are more than 30 Geek Retreat shops around the UK, from Edinburgh to Truro.
The opening comes 17 months after York’s first gaming café, Random Encounter Pop Culture Café, closed.
It was run on Gillygate by Wes Hall and his partner after a 2017 crowdfunding campaign raised £10,000 for the project.
Wes was planning to sell the business as a going concern before the pandemic intervened and closed it completely.