I arrived early(ish) one Sunday morning. The shop had just opened and things were quiet. My first impression was that the space looked like a very well used recreation room. It’s full of mismatched tables and chairs; a calendar of events is packed with activities; games and other amusements are piled high; and the “decor” is, perhaps, a lower priority. It looks like many hundreds, or thousands, of customers have happily spent time there. But none had arrived on this day as of yet.
Little did I know that my timing was fortuitous because I was able to spend a lot of time chatting with owner, Chris Specker. Indeed, I would soon learn that the shop was not always this tranquil.
We talked about all manner of things. It becomes immediately clear that she’s a community activist. She’s concerned about Oakland, and she thinks about the big picture. No doubt, she cares about Temescal, Oakland, and the planet.
It’s Your Move Games & Hobbies is a Second Home
But her main world is It’s Your Move. And it’s her labor of love. The deets. They have an expansive game inventory, a solid collection of games designed and made locally, and an up-to-date game library. They host game nights, youth camps, and test events of new games by local designers. And, they organize other random events like comedy nights. Something is almost always going on.
Then, the kids, parents, and other customers started to wander into the shop. The energy picked up. As Chris and I continued to meet, it started to sink in that my first impression was right on. She has built a beautiful community. And I begin to imagine that her store is more like a gameroom extension of her home. It’s a gathering place. Everyone is welcome. Everybody knows Chris and Chris knows everybody.
I watched it all go down. It was exceedingly fascinating. She knew exactly what they all needed and how to solve their problems. She helped one young regular get a soda. Another needed help with a game in the library. Then, she set up a few friends up at a table. It was clear that she was taking care of her gaming family.
Now, it was rolling into early Sunday afternoon. By the time I left, the place was packed with enthusiastic gamers of all ages.
I cannot help but think that It’s Your Move is also a second home to its customers.
More About It’s Your Move
What It’s Your Move Carries: Board games, video games, unique local games, memberships, game nights, comedy nights, kids camps, a safe home