A new game store called Gaming Hub will soon be opening in Newton.
It will not be a traditional gaming store, however, as it will have video games to play at the store and will feature tabletop gaming and tournaments.
Owners Erin Hibma and Larry Thompson are taking a new, modernized approach to the traditional 80s arcade scene.
“It’s more modernized,” said Hibma. “It’s not really arcade machines, it’s all Xbox, PC (and) maybe Playstation later on down the road. We’ll have an updated Atari there for old-school (gamers).”
The two owners have known each other for many years and have always had a passion for the video game industry. They are happy to open a store that embodies their passion for the industry.
“It’s always been a passion of mine, you know, the gaming side,” Hibma said. “Larry and I met 16 (or) 17 years ago. Some of the other stuff we do is not only video games, but also collectable card games such as Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon. Our passions beyond that, we always talked about doing something together to form a place where people could meet and play those games to enjoy themselves.”
Collecting and playing tabletop card games has been both Hibma’s and Thompson’s passion. Originally, they wanted a card shop, but they soon found themselves expanding their inventory.
“The arcade came later,” Hibma said. “It was originally the collectable card games. (It was) a place were people could come together and be able to buy and trade.”
Hibma said when it comes to starting up a MTG card shop, he is not worried.
“You can go into the current set, and then the other side of after-market resale, you just take that as it comes,” Hibma said. “People want to sell theirs for money.”
“Money or for trade,” Thompson added.
“Besides, we have been collecting for a long time,” Hibma said.
Both have been collecting MTG cards for many years. Hibma said he has been collecting since 1990, and know the game well.
“I didn’t join (MTG), until I met him,” Thompson said of Hibma.
Since the store is opening before the next Xbox and Playstation system are released, they said the store may have the next generation of video game systems, but for now, the current generation will have to suffice.
“We’re just getting what’s out there now,” Hibma said.
“We will have to upgrade when they come out,” Thompson said.
“I think some of their release dates are November-ish for the Playstation 4, and then some time after that the Xbox 720,” Hibma said. “As that market opens up, we will meet the demands of what people want to play.”
As gamers themselves, both know how important screen sizes can be and they will have dancing games to play to meet the growing demand for games like “Dance Central” for the Xbox.
“Right now, we’re talking a TV of about 40 (inches),” Hibma said.
“Forty-seven (inches),” Thompson quickly said.
When it comes to video game selection, they have a few in mind, but nothing is set.
Hibma and Thompson said games like “Call of Duty” and “Halo” are expected to be available to play from the start. Thompson also said “Madden NFL” will be available to play and the selection of games may change based on demand.
Hibma said one of the main factors as to why they came to Newton was because of the market.
“The main driver on why we chose Newton was that there didn’t seem that much stuff for the kids or the older type of (people) that are in to this kinda stuff, to go out and do some of these things,” Hibma said. “We’re definitely trying to match some of our passion with the need that we saw.”
“It’s centrally located,” Thompson said. “Des Moines is 50 miles from here, (and) if we could pick Jasper County and anyone in the area (it would be great).”
Both believe Newton is the place to start up a business, and have even bought the building located in between Jimmy John’s and Otto Law Office, PLLC on the town square.
Thompson said the store is expected open in late April.