Hobby store brings unique gaming opportunities to St. John Valley
FORT KENT, Maine — Gaming enthusiasts have a new hub to visit thanks to a recently opened hobby store in Fort Kent.
Andriolf’s Game Supply, which goes by its acronym AGS, specializes in trading card games, with an expansive collection including more than 110,000 “Magic: The Gathering” offerings.
“I’ve got complete sets of the original Pokemon cards, and Magic cards that are signed by the artists themselves,” AGS owner Billy Laplante said.
While trading card games are the store’s primary focus, it also sells tabletop games like Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons, along with video games, and purchases and sells used video game equipment.
But the store isn’t just a retail destination. Gamers are welcome to hang out with one another during store hours and bond over their hobbies, including playing tabletop games, video games or just spending time managing their gaming cards.
Laplante, 28, managed an online hobby store for three years before opening AGS.
He decided to move to a brick-and-mortar business when he ran out of space in his home to store his expanding inventory.
“I wanted to expand to a physical location to both increase the volume of things I can store and sell, as well as bring something new to the area.” Laplante said. “The nearest stores that offer what I have (are located) at a minimum of one hour in any direction.”
Laplante said he funded the store from his own pocket.
“I did not receive any startup funds or grants,” he said. “Most of the federal grants are prioritized to demographics I’m not part of, and I was unable to secure any local grants.”
Laplante plans to expand the business to include board game rentals, top-tier gaming computer rentals by the hour, coin-operated arcade machines, and locker rentals at the store.
He also envisions competitive gaming tournaments. The business is licensed for competitive play by Warhammer, and is in the process of becoming a Wizards Play Network authorized host of Magic: the Gathering tournaments.
Laplante has received his state license to sell snacks and drinks to those who want to play games in the store.
Along with operating AGS, Laplante is head chef at Northern Maine Medical Center and also works as a driver for Ambulance Service Inc. when time allows.
AGS is located at 73 Market Street in Fort Kent next to Rough Roads Alignment and Repair. The business also has a Facebook page.