Aaron Soltys and Anup Hazuria are looking forward to bringing some fun and games to downtown Salmon Arm.
The couple are aiming to have their new business, Sanctuary Games, located on Hudson Avenue beside the Candy Vault, open by or before December. However, they’re already seeing excitement on the street as people young and old stop to peek in the window, the younger ones returning to get a better look at the numerous games already on the shelves and walls.
“Two day ago, kids came flying through the door,” said Soltys. “I had cardboard stacked up and piled everywhere. They were super excited to get Pokemon cards, so I gave them each a pack and the dad was really excited we have family Catan, so he wants to come here and play that one.”
When open, Sanctuary Games will be a gaming cafe, where people can come in, pay a fee, grab a game, maybe order a beverage, find a seat and play away.
“The main concept is to pay to play here – pay a flat fee per hour, pick any game you want and just play it while you’re here, and then of course they’re all for sale here too,” explained Soltys.
Soltys and Hazuria have been living and working in Salmon Arm around 10 months. Over that time, the two found the city wanting for things to do in the evenings. As the two had been interested in starting a business together, the idea came to help fill that void with something they enjoy.
“We play games, so when we lived in Vancouver, we’d just go to Friday night Magic, we’d go to tournaments and stuff, so we thought, oh, there isn’t a place like this here,” said Hazuria. “We’ve met some people who do that and they go outside of town, they go to Kamloops or Kelowna for games and stuff. So we thought, that’s what we’ll do.”
Soltys is thinking of hosting daily tournaments with games that will appeal to a variety of ages and interests – Chess, Scrabble, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, Cribbage, etc. He notes there will be a wide range of games on hand for families and kids to choose and play, including the classics like Mouse Trap, Life and Monopoly Junior.
Soltys is planning to have Sanctuary Games open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.