131 W. High St. Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823
This is the second article in a series spotlighting some of the local businesses in Bellefonte. Pop into one of these participating businesses- Alleycat Quiltworks, Bella Vino Wine Bar, Jake’s Cards & Games, Iron Star Trading Company, M&M Copy Service, Brother's Pizzeria, Pizza Mia, Elite Edge Athletics, Wireless Made Simple, Blonde Bistro, Bellefonte Art Museum or Bonfatto's- starting on Small Business Saturday, November 24th (and for a limited time after), to pick up your FREE BFT decal. It's our way of saying thanks for supporting all the independent shops and eateries that help keep Bellefonte so remarkably unique.
Here in this town, when you talk about small businesses, there seems to be an underlying thread of imagination...of creativity, if you will. People often come here to shop for things they don't even always know are there. They come here for the element of surprise, to stumble upon something magic, something that lights a fire in their minds, something that excites them because they have a vision for what they can make happen with some long lost article they've stumbled upon.
And in some cases, they come here to feed their creative sides even more directly, just by walking through the doors of Jake's Cards and Games, a veritable feast for the imagination. Disguised as a mere shop down at 131 W High St., Jake's is so much more than meets the eye. It's a repository of intriguing entertainment, chock full of what must amount to a million alternatives to the common video or computer games.
Jake's, it turns out, is a kingdom built by...and for... modern nerds.
"If you are shopping for the nerd in your family but aren't sure what they would like, our helpful staff will help you find the right gift," co-owner Dr. Bryce Taylor tells me.
Opened in 2011, Jake's is a definitive Bellefonte small business in a lot of ways. It practically oozes creativity and imagination.
"Our business model from the beginning was that a game store could be an asset to any town, serving as a social center for kids of all ages and from all walks of life to meet and share their passion for a variety of hobbies," says Taylor. Ironically, what we have seen and learned over the years is that Local Game Stores are ideally suited to smaller, more rural towns - while similar larger scale versions of struggled in larger urban/metro areas."
Which probably explains why Jake's Cards & Games has been able to flourish here in small town central Pennsylvania. They have practically everything and anything.
Like what, you ask?
Well, for starters they specialize in comic books, graphic novels, games, toys and other comics memorabilia. You won't find a better comic shop in Gotham. I mean, Bellefonte.
Need some gifts for the bookworm in your life? The shop also feature a wide selection of used books - with a focus on Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Children, and even college textbooks.
Someone on your shopping lists like games? Jake's selection and knowledge of what's out there and how to play it is unsurpassed. Board Games, new and vintage; collectible card games including Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-OH!, and others; miniature tabletop games like Warhammer 40K; role-playing games; and even a cool selection of books, dice, and some unique vintage items from the good old days of Dungeons & Dragons!
Shopping for an artist...or a budding one? They have lots of art supplies. "We have a focus on modeling, but we're expanding into supplies for drawing, painting, and other hobby shop staples," says Taylor.
And my favorite part now. Remember collecting baseball cards? Oh man. Me too. Between the ages of 8 and 14, I was absolutely addicted to card collecting. And guess what? Yep, on top of everything else they deal with at Jake's they also just so happens to be, as Dr. Taylor describes it, "...pretty much the last surviving sports card shop in the region."
Lastly, for those of you out holiday shopping: they also sell greeting cards.
What a store, right?
Saturday, November 24th, is Small Business Saturday across America. That's a day that makes serious sense for those of us who live and work in Centre County.
"A small local retailer like Jake's struggles every day against competition from big-box retail stores and internet sellers," Dr. Taylor reflects. "While we can offer atmosphere, competitive pricing, and a personal touch that they cannot, it's a challenge to persuade potential customers that they should travel to the small business rather than opting for the apparent convenience of overnight delivery or shopping from your phone."
Words to consider before you begin throwing your holiday money at the corporate behemoths one more time, no?
"Small Business Saturday is one of the few times every year when local retailers get the spotlight and conscientious shoppers will choose to explore what we have to offer," Taylor continues. "So not only does it give us a chance to carve out our small share of Christmas shopping sales, but we have an opportunity to show our best in hopes of convincing customers to return when the holidays are over. Some of the happiest words we hear on high-traffic weekends in downtown Bellefonte are "My son or daughter will love this place, do you have a business card?"
They're having a massive Black Friday Sale that'll extend well into the shopping season, by the way. Plus their annual Christmas Bazaar on December 8th coincides with Victorian Christmas and is a perfect opportunity to stop in, see what the shop is all about.
"We have always been a strong supporter of the local arts and crafts community, and have been been happy to provide space for local artists and work-from-home sales specialists who cannot find rooms at the inn," Taylor explains. "This year's bazaar will have more vendors than ever before, including local Avon and Scentsy sales representatives and a room full of makers of handmade goods."
Swing by already. Even if you've been passing this shop by for years, why not stop in this holiday season and see what you might find? Use your imagination, right? To help sweeten the deal: for a limited time you can grab a BFT (that's short for Bellefonte!) absolutely free if you stop in. It's Bellefonte.com's way of saying thanks for supporting Bellefonte's vital small businesses.
Jake's Cards and Games
131 W. High St., Bellefonte, PA 16823
A perfect little companion to the weekend's esteemed Victorian Christmas celebration happening all over town.
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