WOODBURY, NJ—On Wednesday, October 26, 2016 the City of Woodbury will join the owners of Tiki Tiki Board Games, and seven other businesses as they officially open the doors to their new location at 164 S. Broad Street, formerly the home of Polsky’s Army Navy Store. The first floor retail section of the Polsky’s building has sat vacant for nearly ten years but with a vision and a huge outpour of community support, Ryan Morrison, Ryan Harbinson and Tyler Ager, the owners of Tiki Tiki Board games, were able to rehabilitate the building into an economic engine of new businesses.
The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 4:30 pm and will be followed by light refreshments. There will be a DJ for entertainment and at 6:30 pm there will be a costume contest for children 12 years and under with store giveaways as prizes.
In combination with the upcoming Geek Fest event on Saturday, October 29, an annual event created by Morrison, Harbinson and Ager, and Halloween on October 31, the ribbon cutting will have a “Geek” theme. Guests are welcome to attend the October 26th celebration in costume.
The building, now be referred to as Polsky’s Corner, will be the home to Tiki Tiki Board Games, Luke & Cade’s Toy Chest, Mystic Metal Body Jewelry, Soft Air NJ, Novel Ideas, Anthony Parisi’s Illustration Studio, Button Shy Games and Island Officials. Completely remodeled, the space includes an 1100 square foot game playing stage with 8 kitchen tables to accommodate family style board gaming. In addition, there is a yo-yo corner and lounging section for the Novel Idea reading customers to sit and enjoy a good book. And, a full size wall mural, painted by Jacqualynn Knight, a local Woodbury resident artist graces the space to remember one of the founding partners of the yo-yo center.
According to Morrison, “This is a combination of a “MakerSpace” and “Business Incubator” concept. We have several businesses that will be developing products, much like what we do at Island Officials and others that are small start-ups looking to grow into the retail world and hopefully grow big enough to move into other storefront space in Woodbury.”
Morrison, Harbinson and Ager are very familiar with starting small and growing in and out of space. In 2011, they moved their homebased software gaming company, Island Officials, into 234 S. Broad Street. It is one of the four storefronts in the retails section of the Woodbury Courts complex.
At the time, Woodbury’s ordinance restricted service based businesses from operating out of a Broad Street storefront. In an effort to abide by the City’s ordinance, the guys decided they would create a retail space selling used board games in the first 83 sf of the retail space and operate the software company from the back of the building.
Much to their surprise, in just two years, the board game side of the business started to grow and they needed to expand to 250 sf just for the retail portion. The Island Officials software development side was also still going strong but the board game business was booming.
In 2014, the board game side of the business was busting at the seams so Morrison, Harbinson and Ager decided to move to a larger space in the Woodbury Courts Apartment complex (232 S. Broad) and dedicated 1000 sf just to the board game business.
Morrison explains, “We don’t just sell games. We really sell an experience. Most people who purchase a game from us have the opportunity to play the game in the store. In addition, we have game nights where we introduce a game to the public and have people play one another. We also have yo-yo club and events. So, every time we walked passed Polsky’s we shared this vision of people playing in the side yard and inside the building. We just had to make this work because we once again needed more space and with the help of Woodbury’s Old City Restoration Committee (WORC), customers, friends and family it all came together.”
In 2015, Morrison, Harbinson and Ager launched a Kickstarter campaign asking friends, family, neighbors and customers to help add to the $30,000 they saved to make this move and renovate the interior of the Polsky’s building. The guys were amazed at the support they received. The Kickstarter campaign generated an additional $13,000. Those who donated, selected a number of different rewards for their generosity, some have their name prominently displayed on ceiling tiles, or on metal plaques attached to the tables and chairs throughout the space.
Harbinson states, “The amount of financial and in-kind help we received was, and still is, over-whelming. Each person who made a donation, financial or volunteer is now a physical part of this amazing venture which is why we felt so strongly about publicly recognizing each donor in the manner that we did.”
Ager adds, “So, when they say it takes a village, it really does and this is what a village can do when they work together.”
Another major partner in this venture is Woodbury’s Old City Restoration Committee (WORC). They created a pilot program to provide façade/exterior improvement grants to businesses operating out of historic storefronts in Woodbury. The Polsky’s Corner venture was the first business to receive the funding. WORC provided capital to help purchase the bulk of the materials to fix exterior and provided the labor, specifically to paint the outside of the building, replace the plexiglass with glass, restore the original entrance and clean up and upgrade the side lot was performed by over 250 volunteers.
Each business in Polsky’s Corner is privately owned. At Tiki Tiki Board Games, they buy, sell and trades current and traditional board and electronic based games. They rent board games for $5 a week and host events daily.
At Luke & Cade’s Toy Chest, owner and Woodbury resident Anthony Allman buys, sells and trades action figures of yesterday and today. Allman will work side by side with David Basile who owns Mystic Metal Body Jewelry. Mystic Metal is an established online retailer of body jewelry and Polsky’s Corner will be their first retail location.
Also joining Luke and Cade’s and Mystic Metal is Adam Pierce and Dan Hazelhurst, owners of Soft Air NJ. Their space features airsoft products, replicas and equipment. They will also host training classes and sign-ups for their bi-weekly games.
Alana Talarico, another Woodbury resident is the owner of Novel Ideas, a second hand book store also located at Polsky’s Corner. It is the only place in town where you can purchase three books and get one free. Talarico’s book collection does not consist of romance novels or text books but includes children’s books so there is something for everyone. She will be hosting a book club on Tuesday nights and there is a “Chill Zone” area for customers to sit and read.
Woodbury resident, Anthony Parisi of Parisi’s Studio has also found a home at Polsky’s Corner. He sells art prints, t-shirts, caricatures, tarot and metal tarot art cards.
Jason Tagmire, owner of Button Shy Games is another neighbor in the Polsky’s Corner space. Tagmire has a maker space for analogue board and card games. Then there is The Monthly Throw which has no physical space on the floor but offers a monthly mystery box for yoyo aficionados and fans.
Last but not least, Island Officials, which is now located in the rear offices of the Polsky’s Corner complex, continues to develop software games and employ over 20 local designers. Over the past five years, the creative team at Island Officials has developed and launched 12 new software games. In 2017, their newest game, Queen of Space – Coronation will be released through eshop for the WII U. This is their 3rd Nintendo game being released to the public. In addition, Island Officials will be showcased at the Franklin Institutes Robots in Gaming event on November 5th.
Since October 1, 2016 Polsky’s Corner has been open seven days a week. Their hours are 11 am – 6 pm on Sunday and Monday, 11 am – 9 pm Tuesday thru Friday and Saturdays they are open 10 am – 7 pm. They have events six nights a week and the space is also available for rent for parties during and after business hours. Detailed information about Tiki Tiki/Island Officials and the Polsky’s Corner’s neighbors can be found on the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Polskys-Corner-264540237261303/.
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