Sheffield’s unique shop offering free play and paint tables
A new games shop which opened in January offers Sheffield residents free games tables and a free paint zone at Chapel Walk, right in the heart of the city centre.
Element Games, initially based in Stockport in Manchester, has expanded and opened a store in Nottingham and another in Sheffield city centre. And they offer unique games and products that have so far only been experienced online.
Element games started out as an online wargaming store selling wargaming merchandise and accessories that blew up during lockdown but is now establishing a physical footprint in Yorkshire.
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Simon, the store manager at the Chapel Walk-based Sheffield branch, told Yorkshire Live that the businesses’ online presence has helped them survive Covid-19 and inspired their expansion ambitions.
Simon said: “Wargaming is a popular hobby. The hobby has benefited from lockdown during lockdown, and as a provider we have benefited.”
And Element Games is now on a mission to return those benefits to the community, offering them gaming tables in their store. The shop sells the largest range of model paints in England, as well as models for buildings and games.
Set in a large open space, players can take part in war games previously only played online, on huge tables using sophisticated toys. While those who don’t like to play games can indulge in painting activities.
Quinn, a keen painter from Sheffield, told Yorkshire Live he likes to express himself and the local shop offered him a wide selection of imported paints. Carefully stroking her brushes, while blending her colors to achieve precise shades, Quinn said, “I’ve been painting for two years. I love it.”
And it’s this attention to detail, skill development, and “off-the-internet” activity that propels Element Games to new fortunes. Simon, whose exact title is store and community manager, told Yorkshire Live he believes the store’s offerings make people smarter.
Simon said, “Our shop isn’t about profit. It’s tailor-made to provide a service to the community. That’s why the play spaces are free and so are the painting tables.”
At least on the surface, it seems to be happening. Of the 20 odd people in the store, Yorkshire Live did not observe a single person glued to their phone, but instead saw several adults engaged in intense problem-solving activities that included life skills like planning, negotiating and compromise.
And that makes Simon happy: “Our ambition is to see the store just as busy, but also to see people learning new skills and sharpening their minds.”