She had long wanted to own and run her own store, but she hadn’t hit on the right concept. One day, she says, she was sitting in traffic on the 14th Street bridge after a run to a suburban Toys R Us to buy a gift for one of her son’s friends. Frustrated by the errand and with cars at a standstill, the proverbial light bulb lit up.
A game store. On Capitol Hill. Where she could re-create a bit of the wonder that she felt when stepping into her favorite childhood store, a hobby shop in Pensacola, Fla.
She did lots of homework to turn the idea into reality: researching the gaming market, polling potential customers to find out what kinds of products they would buy, drawing up a business plan, securing financing and locating space.
The fruits of her labor are evident. She has gotten supportive e-mails and advice from other independent game store owners around the country, and local gaming enthusiasts have cheered the shop’s arrival. Before she had even opened the doors, she says, customers were calling, excited to have a local source for the games that they love — and usually just ordered over the Internet.
That’s kind of the point, Donahue says. She hopes Labyrinth will help foster not just a return to old-fashioned entertainment, but a revival of face-to-face connections, whether over checkers or a cash register.
“I want to help bring community back,” she says. “People want real connections instead of these cyber-world connections. I think that’s missing.”