As if by magic, business partners Matt Koehn and Andrew Bryant found themselves in the right place at the right time.
Koehn and Bryant opened up Planar Portal Games, a store specializing in Collectible Card Games, at 206 W. Sixth St. just over two weeks ago. Having met and bonded through playing a CCG, "Magic: The Gathering," the two hatched the basis for this business 10-plus years ago. Then, the incubation process picked up late this summer.
"We were just driving around and happened to see the for lease sign," Koehn said. "It was cheaper and nicer than the other places we were looking at, so it worked out really well."
Purchasing the building on Sept. 14, the pair then spent some nearly (and, in some cases, fully) sleepless nights setting up the almost empty space with the necessary display cases and a new paint job before opening for business just two days later on Sept. 16.
In the store, packs and single cards are sold for games like Magic and Force of Will, and it also holds tournaments on a regular basis. Having both played locally themselves, the partners very much saw a need for this type of business in the area.
"We know there's a ton of people here in Newton who play Magic. Instead of meeting up at a local store like most people have the advantage of, like in McPherson, Salina and Wichita, here they would just meet up in each other's houses," Bryant said. "The overall mission, I guess, would be to provide a clean, safe place for players to come play their cards, play in tournaments and offer the products that are hard to find anywhere close or they would have to travel out of town to get a hold of."
Shared ideologies brought Koehn and Bryant together in this business venture, but they admitted being polar opposites as players helped them as well. Koehn is more of a casual player, while Bryant prefers competing in tournaments for the chance of winning cash and prizes. That is something Planar Portal Games also offers through its tournaments (often on Fridays), which can vary in payouts and prizes depending on the number of players.
Additionally, Bryant noted the store holds events throughout the week, like casual day on Tuesday. On Tuesday, new players can come and try out a game or try out a new deck in a more laid back environment.
"It's a community we're trying to build here, not just a business," Koehn said.
"We want it to continue and grow as a community, get more people in here, new people who want to learn to play the game," Bryant said. "It's a much more friendly environment to learn when you can come into a place and have someone teach you."
Early on, Bryant said he has been surprised by how busy the store has been, noting it was almost at capacity for the first tournament on its first day of business. Meanwhile, Koehn was struck by the number of new or casual players who have been in the store.
Open to all types of players, Bryant and Koehn noted they would be willing to expand their services in the future. They have talked about adding board games and video games for patrons to play, given that they currently have a spare room not in use, but Bryant said they are also open to feedback to provide what their customers want.
Planar Portal Games is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to midnight Saturday and noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday.