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Citrus Heights Messenger

New Galaxy Game Café Opens

Apr 16, 2024 11:11AM ● By Thomas J. Sullivan
It’s easy to get swept up to a “galaxy far, far away.”  Photo courtesy of Galaxy Game Café


CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - “Unplug. Connect with others.” That’s the philosophy of the new Galaxy Game Café, a unique family-owned board game play space that celebrated its grand opening last weekend in Citrus Heights.

Husband-and-wife owners Robert and Melisa Roden, Roseville residents, opened the welcoming 4,800-square-foot space with a starting library of more than 700 board and card games, providing something for enthusiasts of all ages and interests.

Robert and Melisa Roden Galaxy Game Cafe Sunrise Citrus Heights

 Robert and Melisa Roden opened the Galaxy Game Café at 7700 Sunrise Blvd., Suite 1900 in Citrus Heights. The board game play space that celebrated its grand opening last weekend. Photo by Thomas J. Sullivan


You’ll discover the Galaxy Game Café not in a “galaxy far, far away” but at 7700 Sunrise Blvd., Suite 1900, in the shopping plaza near neighbors In-Shape Family Fitness and Aspire Hair Design across the parking lot from Leatherby’s Ice Cream.

“Robert and I noticed you can’t go anywhere today that doesn’t have screens on the walls and tables full of people staring at their phones,” Melisa Roden said. “We wanted a space where people look at each other, laugh with each other and engage in conversations right in front of them.”

Inside, opening weekend gamers settled into an array of individual comfortable booths distributing game pieces and setting up their games for a fresh round of play.

Melisa Roden is an entreprenuer and graphic designer, and her husband, Robert, is an English professor at Sierra College in Rocklin. He’s also an admitted Star Wars enthusiast, having built an extensive collection of figures and memorabilia since the movie’s premiere in 1977.

His curated collection, which features figures, creatures, ships and playsets, are displayed in a diorama fashion in multiple museum-style glass display cases throughout the café reflecting various scenes from the multiple movies and shows.

“It’s great to be able to share that collection with everyone,” Robert Roden said.

You’ll find references to the “galaxy far, far away” all over the Galaxy Game Café, from the Galaxy Grub themed snack shop with its food and drinks to the “Bounty Box” retail store with games, apparel, toys and various pop-culture merchandise.

The couple considered multiple locations, including Roseville, before signing a lease for the Citrus Heights space. They obtained a federal Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to help with financing and recently completed three months of interior tenant improvements, they said.

“We’ve raised six kids and brought them all up playing board games from the time they were toddlers,” Melisa Roden said.

Family game play fostered interaction, in addition to developing reading, math, strategy and coping skills, according to Melisa Roden.

“Our house was always full of activities to keep their hands and minds busy for hours at a time,” she said. “Now that our kids are grown, we want to recreate that type of environment and opportunity for the greater community.”

The café employs a staff of 12, including family members.

A designated “Kids’ Play Space” offers a separate area for families with young children to select from age-appropriate games, books and bins of various activities to build, create and use their imagination.

Drop-in daily play is $10 per person for unlimited play at one sitting. Individual table reservations for up to six players, a $20 one-time fee plus $10 per person are required to be paid in advance. Individual memberships priced at $30 include unlimited access to the game space and a 10-percent discount off the Galaxy Grub and all Game Academy activities. The cost of a family membership is $100 for a family of four.

Players are not allowed to bring in their own games to play.

“Many of these games are high-end and expensive, and we’re doing our best to maintain inventory control,” she said.

Patrons who have a favorite game they frequently like to play, which are not yet in the café’s inventory, can suggest they can be added. Game donations are also welcome.

The couple also hopes to launch a game academy with a variety of pre-scheduled activities, such as after-school camps for kids, game classes, leagues, tournaments and special events.

The Galaxy Game Café at 7700 Sunrise Boulevard, Suite 1900 in Citrus Heights is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

For more information, call 279-529-2534 or email [email protected].

weekend gamers

 Weekend gamers settle in for some fun and refreshments. Photo by Thomas J. Sullivan


 

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