Gaming guru’s quarantine dream

Dan Surgenor and Don Marshall are following their dreams to open a game and hobby store in Blenheim. Photo: Matt Brown.

A pair of plucky pop culture entrepreneurs are opening a new store to give Marlborough’s gaming gurus a place of their own.

While in a quarantine hotel after returning from Australia, Blenheim man Dan Surgenor decided to take the plunge and fulfil his dream of opening a game and hobbies shop.

And by putting his aspirations on a Facebook group, he found his future business partner in fellow Marlburian Don Marshall.

Trading cards, board games, tabletop role playing games and anything pop culture will be staples at Sanctum Hobbies & Collectables, they say.

“Three months ago, we started exploring what it would take,” Dan says.

“Everything has moved faster than what we thought it would.

“I’ve just moved back from Australia, and during isolation I thought – I should just do it.”

Dan and Don signed the lease at the old Summit building, on Alfred Street in Blenheim last Thursday.

“We worked something out [with building owners] Shirley and her husband,” says Dan.

“They have been really awesome and supportive.”

Dan says he moved back to Blenheim with the intention of starting this business, and Don, a graphic designer and website developer, wanted the same thing.

The gaming community in Marlborough has been supportive, they say, and with people willing to drive to Nelson to purchase trading cards – they’re confident locals will support them.

“We want to build a community with play days and tournaments,” Don says.

“We’re building a social space – with tables and furniture.

“There are some back rooms for people who want a bit more privacy to have games.”

Dan says they plan to lease out rooms by the hour and provide snacks and equipment for games like Dungeons & Dragons.

“We’re starting slowly and growing into the space,” says Don.

“Eventually, we hope to compete with the bigger stores in other cities.

“We don’t have a set day that we will open, but it’s just around the corner.”