Geeks and gaming are the new reason to come into Bedford this summer.
With the forthcoming opening of the Geek Retreat franchise in the Harpur Centre and retro games at Rewind in The Arcade off the High Street, the town centre has much more to offer teens and twenties.
“Experiences have to be part of the new offer from the town centre,” said Harpur Centre Manager Samantha Laycock, who is also Chair of the Bedford Improvement District (BedfordBID) which promotes the town under the Love Bedford brand, “We hope people will still come to shop in our showrooms and stores, but we know there needs to be more on offer, particularly for younger people.
“We have worked hard to support our cafe society, our ‘summer nights’ eating and drinking environments and are always backing our 100s of independent businesses, but we need fun events and activities too.”
Teen to Twenties/Thirty-somethings favourites:
Geek Retreat – coming soon the Harpur Centre
Rewind retro games – opening soon in The Arcade
Close Encounters – a popular destination for latest board games, books and comics
Warhammer – worldwide brand in Bedford for 25 years
Geek Retreat – fun events
The hottest new entertainment retailer, Geek Retreat, is set to open a new store at the Harpur Centre (date to be confirmed).
Founded in Glasgow in 2017, this ‘geek culture’ retailer sells everything from figures, board games, tabletop games and trading cards from some of the biggest brands in geekdom – there is a collection of free to play board games which can be enjoyed over a geek-themed milkshake or a tasty burger.
Geek Retreat is also an events hub, catering for kids and beginners with Learn to Play Sessions for casual players to tournaments for more experienced players in Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, Dungeons and Dragons and Yu-Gi-Oh!
So whether it’s comic book signings, games tournaments, quizzes, shoppers will be able to find something for themselves to enjoy in a safe environment.
The Bedford store will be run by local gaming enthusiasts, and best friends, Jordan Stevenson and Dan Sexton. “We have been gaming together ever since we first met at school. Running a gaming store is our dream job and we cannot wait to start welcoming customers,” commented Jordan.
Together with store owners Rob Harden and Sharon Lockhart, Jordan and Dan are aiming to create a community hub where shoppers can mingle and share their interests, even if they don’t consider themselves geeks.
“There are lots of people out there with strong interests in gaming and we want to provide an inclusive environment for them to pursue their passions. We will have regular events for lots of the most popular games with special offers and prizes, but we also want to have special nights for those with Autism and run things like mums and tots groups too,” added Jordan.
Twitter @GR-BEDFORD Instagram @geekretreatbedford
Rewind to retro games in The Arcade
Rewind Retro Arcade is opening in The Arcade off the High Street soon (date to be confirmed). Said owner Jedd: “For many years now I’ve dreamed of opening my own Retro Games Arcade and had been planning it long before I opened my Rewind Merchandise shop. “Previously I had been in my full-time job but I couldn’t stop thinking of what I wanted to do.
“So one day I took the leap to start with the shop first, with the intention to have the arcade to follow as soon as it was possible.“The shop has been a big hit and I have built up a great customer following.“Obviously Covid-19 had slowed everything down, but now I’m even more determined to make my arcade the best it can be.
”So go back to the future and visit Rewind at The Arcade.
“It will be a place to come and have fun with friends, meet new people, play on much loved classic Arcade games like Pacman, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Defender, Mortal Kombat and more.”
Close Encounters – of every kind
Close Encounters has been Bedford’s premier supplier of genre fiction and pop culture merchandise for 17 years, supplying Manga, comics, novels, trading cards and action figures. A one-stop shop for fans of everything from Peaky Blinders to The Umbrella Academy.
Fans can pick up original comics, graphic novels, figures, posters, and key rings all in one place.
The shop has been busy since re-opening post lockdown, due to a pent up demand for entertainment merchandise. They offer a subscription service for comics, as well as being happy to order in anything they might not have on their shelves.
“We have something here to entertain everyone, from the child of the family to the parents who want to reminisce about video games, movies or comics from the last century,” said Bub Chahal,
“We also stock non-fiction books about politics, as well as thrillers, and even romance.
“Close Encounters has recently expanded its books section into a whole floor, which contains a mixture of fiction and non-fiction for all ages and a mix of genres. Whether you’re a die hard fantasy fan, or more into political non-fiction there’s something for everyone. They also offer a trade-in service for novels, Manga, graphic novels and comics where you can get store credit for items you no longer want.
“Close Encounters has also sponsored the NICE Comic Convention in Bedford, which we hope will return in 2022 – but in the meantime people can visit our store or buy online,” said Bub Chahal.
Subscriptions available at www.closeencounters.co.uk or call 01234 270777
Warhammer – bringing the world to Bedford
Warhammer Store (formally Games Workshop) has been in Bedford at the same location for 25 years, situated on Greyfriars between Midland Road and the Bus Station.
Warhammer Store Staff provided advice and hands-on help with collecting, building, painting, playing and reading about Warhammer miniatures and are the best place to learn about the Worlds of Warhammer.
The long-serving Manager Wayne Burton has been involved with the Warhammer hobby for many years and especially enjoys helping customers on their Warhammer journey.