Local retailer Moonshot Games, which is in growth mode despite the pandemic, is set to open a store—its second—at 881 Massachusetts Ave. on July 1, the company’s owners announced Wednesday.
The company’s first store opened in Noblesville in 2018.
“Our Noblesville store is doing awesome, and we’re looking to grow into a new market,” said Jayson Manship of Noblesville, who co-owns Moonshot Games with business partner Kenton Jacobsen, a New York City resident.
Moonshot sells board games, card games, puzzles and other items, and it also offers space for casual game play and tournaments.
When the pandemic hit and Moonshot’s Noblesville store was forced to shut down, “we expected to really struggle, but instead we really thrived,” Manship said.
Manship said he moved all of the games out of the store and to his home, pivoted to a delivery model, and has seen record sales each of the past three months. The store has since reopened.
In March, Moonshot became Indiana’s first premium retailer for Hasbro Inc. subsidiary Wizards of the Coast LLC, whose games include both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. To be named premium retailers, stores must meet certain standards on metrics including product sales, customer experience and store aesthetics. Manship said he’ll work to attain premium status for the Mass Ave location as well.
Manship said the Mass Ave location will have a permit to sell beer and wine, and will offer “more of an adult” version of the Noblesville store, which has a focus on families and children.
The stores have been outfitted with health and sanitation features that include air-purification systems, touchless bathroom fixtures and plexiglass shields that create a separation between players at gaming tables.
Manship and Jacbosen brought experience in entrepreneurship, marketing and technology to Moonshot. Manship is the part-owner and cofounder of Indianapolis-based Nameless Catering LLC, and he also does internet and digital marketing. Jacobsen formerly worked for magazine publisher Conde Nast, where he was director of engineering for the company’s Vogue, GQ and Glamour digital operations.
Moonshot will be the second game-oriented tenant in a row at the Mass Ave location, a 2,600-square-foot space that had been occupied by the board-game parlor Kingmakers since 2017.
Columbus, Ohio-based Kingmakers, which had game parlors in both Columbus and Indianapolis, closed both locations in mid-March because of the pandemic. On Monday, Kingmakers founder Malika Jacob announced on Facebook that the locations will not reopen.
“Our parlors are currently not feasible,” Jacob told IBJ on Wednesday. Instead, the company is reimagining its operations in light of both the pandemic and the emerging conversations around racial inequalities.
Kingmakers recently launched online gatherings in which a “game guide” from the company leads groups through a virtual gaming experience. At some point in the future, Jacob said, it might organize pop-up gatherings at partner sites around town—such as team-building exercises at a local workplace or events at public spaces like brewpubs.
“We don’t anticipate leaving Indianapolis, and we feel really connected to that city,” Jacobs said.