By Ben Furgang | May 11, 2021
Flights of Fantasy – now under new ownership and renamed Flights 2: Games and Hobbies – has undergone a complete overhaul ahead of the grand reopening of its retail shop where customers can now play tabletop games that range from the traditional board and card games to role-playing.
Dave Sheedy, the new owner and a former employee of the store on Sand Creek, said the store has also introduced 3D printers for projects and a new layout to accommodate more comfortable seating for customers to spend time in the store spending time with friends while playing games. An option for food will also soon be introduced.
The store is open ahead of its grand reopening on June 5.
Sheedy said he decided to take over the business with a friend, Lance DeRatafia, upon hearing the original owner was retiring.
“When it came down to it, I thought, instead of just closing and getting rid of everything, how about we keep Flights alive? I have a buddy of mine, Lance, who always thought it’d be kind of fun to have a game store. So I told him, if you’re interested, now’s the time to jump,” Sheedy said. “So we did. We pooled our resources together. We were going to buy the store out, then the pandemic hit, and everything got put on hold.”
Over a year later, Sheedy and DeRatafia’s plans got back on track. Sheedy said the pandemic did not hurt business, accrediting it to a recent explosion in popularity for tabletop gaming.
“We sold a ton of paints and a ton of miniatures, stuff that normally would just sit for months and months,” he said. “During the pandemic, we went through hundreds of miniatures in weeks.”
Miniatures are detailed game pieces used in many of the role-playing games the store carries. The store also carries paint for customizing these miniatures, which can be a detailed and time-intensive process that many people get heavily invested in. The store’s new 3D printers can be used for printing custom miniatures.
The 70-year-old, one-floor building has been updated and the interior given a more modern look. The once large selection of sci-fi and fantasy books that Flights previously carried has been reduced to a fraction of what it originally was to accommodate customers who may want to spend time in the store.
“I grew up with all the D&D and DragonLance books, I absorbed them like a sponge. But nobody reads anymore! It’s a thing of the past. So we got rid of the books,” Sheedy said. “We did retain some of them, there is some value to it, obviously, and the ones we kept are more in line with the game theme.”
Sheedy also said he’s working on acquiring a classic coin-operated arcade machine of the 1985 video game Gauntlet, in addition to plans for a food truck to be stationed in the store’s parking lot all the time.
“We’re gonna feed the nerds. We’re doing a very unique thing, it’s called DDD&D, Dungeons Dinners Dragons & Drinks,” Sheedy said. “You get food, you get a drink, whatever you want from the food truck, you come inside, you can eat, and then you play a game of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ for 90 minutes.”
As organized play, referring to official events managed by the companies behind many role-playing and card games, is still on hold due to the pandemic, DDD&D is just one example of the smaller, unofficial events that will be run at the store in the meantime.
“You must come in with your [vaccination] card if you want to play in person here,” he said, adding that he does not plan to require masks because only customers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed.
Another change coming to the store is Genius Prep, a tutoring center for children that will occupy one of the store’s rooms during the day when no gaming is going on. The many tables typically used for gaming will double as spaces where kids can get work done.
Starting up in the fall, and run by DeRatafia, Genius Prep will operate on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
While the changes to the store are not fully complete yet, the store already feels vastly different due to the new carpeting, changed layout, and new air conditioning. A new era has begun for Flights.
“Rebuilding tournaments, getting a fanbase, and making a store that’s nice, neat, clean, and organized. An environment that people can come to and feel comfortable in. That’s my angle and my goal,” Sheedy said.
Flights 2 is located on 381 Sand Creek Road. The store’s hours and more information can be found on their Facebook page.