Freaks And Geeks levels up, expands to new location

Freaks And Geeks levels up, expands to new location

Freaks And Geeks levels up, expands to new location
October 07
14:34 2018

Walking into Freaks And Geeks LLC on Oct. 5, the day before their soft reopening, one would be met with piles of boxes full of assorted goods, dusty video games and the surprise appearance of arcades.

Freak and Geeks co-owner and operator Alec Featherstone could be seen rushing around, trying to get everything in the right place and ready for the soft reopening, a day that has been a long time coming.

The front of the store’s main room during the soft reopening of Freaks And Geeks LLC. Emily Olkkola

Before the move

Freaks and Geeks has been locally owned and operated for four years with a team never amounting to over nine people. The video game, comic, toy and trading card store has won the Best Video Game Store by Best of Denton County Magazine every year they have been open. This year, they even won Best Arcade in Denton County. 

Featherstone said Freaks and Geeks differs from other stores like GameStop because they can be more flexible with their inventory.

“[We have] differing products all the time,” Featherstone said. “We’re not afraid to take chances on things we’ve never sold before. We get to do fun stuff, like have tournaments or have a free-play area where you can come and just hang out and play a console or play card games or a board game.”

Preparation for the soft reopening of Freaks and Geeks LLC. Emily Olkkola

Exploring new grounds

Previously located at 1629 N. Elm St. in a house, Freaks and Geeks moved to a new space on 1807 N. Elm St. near Texas Women’s University. Featherstone decided it was time to expand after they outgrew their old location space-wise and idea-wise.

“We want to continue to evolve with the community,” Featherstone said. “We want to continue to bring something new and bring something fun, and in order to do that we needed more space.”

At first Freaks and Geeks considered getting another location similar in size, so that both locations theoretically would offer similar experiences much like how More Fun Comics & Games operates, but then the current location fell into their laps. 

“It’s more than two times the square footage, but it still allows for that compartmentalized feel that you got from the house we were in,” Featherstone said. “It has that Freaks and Geeks vibe still, which is exactly what we wanted and exactly what we were afraid we were going to have to compromise moving into a bigger space.”

Freaks and Geeks eBay Specialist Cassidy Susa is glad the business is expanding because previously, the store lacked space to display all the products they had for customers.

“I’m just pretty excited that we can actually sell things besides what we had,” Susa said. “We could sell things before, but there was just so much more that wasn’t getting sold, that wasn’t getting seen. I’m just really excited for that to happen.”

Susa, along with the rest of the Freaks And Geeks team, ripped up carpet, buffed floors, put up folding shelves, moved everything from the old location and built new fixtures in the main room. Due to the methodical process, Freaks And Geeks was closed since Sept. 24 for remodeling.

“The most difficult part [of remodeling] was figuring out where to put things while we were doing other things,” Susa said. “It’s very much a game of, ‘Oh, we need to work in this room. There’s 50 billion boxes in this room. How are we going to work with all of these boxes? Push them into another room. Every room is full. How do we move things so that we can move to do what we need to?'”

The new Freaks and Geeks location includes a streaming room, a “loose toys” room where anything opened or played with will be for sale, a video game and anime-related toys room, a laser disc room and finally, the main room with games, trading cards and arcade machines. 

Within the new community room, customers and guests are encouraged to sit back and relax with anything from painting miniatures to running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

“Our biggest thing is community,” Featherstone said. “We like to have a place that is completely comfortable and completely familiar to anybody.” 

Freaks And Geeks will not charge people to just come in and play casually. 

“By and large, this room is our community room, and it’s open to everyone whenever they want even if we are hosting a tournament,” Featherstone said. “If you don’t want to compete in a tournament, you’re always welcome to come watch. It’s not a members-only club. It’s not super specific that way.”

Visitors of Freaks And Geeks LLC playing the free play arcade game “Gauntlet” during the soft reopening of the store. Emily Olkkola

Arcades and beyond

It will be hard to miss the arcade machines in the main room and the two in the poster/vinyl/VHS/LaserDisc room. They come from Featherstone’s personal collection.

All of the arcade machines will be set on free play, meaning that no money is required to play them. 

“We just think it is going to add an extra ‘oomf,’ like an extra bit of motion to the room, and I’m pretty excited to see people light up because it’s just that idea of seeing [the games],” Featherstone said. “Short of the actual ‘barcades’ like [Free Play Arcade], it’s pretty rare to see those nowadays.”

Freaks and Geeks is also planning on developing a program where each arcade machine will be dedicated to a certain charity around North Texas. The machines will always be set on free play, but if a player wants to sponsor a charity, they can drop a quarter into the machine with the corresponding charity.

“[This] is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Featherstone said. “I think it’s a cool spin on the idea of a charity arcade, and it allows people to really feel like they can give when they want to, and still not lose the experience.” 

The big day

On Oct. 6, Freaks And Geeks’ new location was bustling with customers flocking to the arcade machines, oohing and aahing at the many Gundams in their case or the many comics available for sale.

“We’ve been in here for a couple of weeks, a month-ish, just getting this ready,” Susa said. “It’s just going to be really cool to have that moment of, ‘Hey we’re not finished yet, but we can take your constructive criticism.’ We can see how this is going to feel, how we need to manage all of this so that everybody is comfortable and what exactly we need to do for our grand opening moving forward.”

The old Freaks And Geeks location only had one entrance and exit that was the same, narrow road. The new location has a large parking lot, making it much easier for visitors.

“I love [the new Freaks And Geeks] location,” visitor Dominic Arellano said. “It’s bigger. It’s more convenient for people to drive in.” 

The official grand reopening is estimated to occur before the end of October.

Featured Image: Thumbing through comics during the soft reopening of Freaks And Geeks LLC on Oct. 6. Emily Olkkola

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Emily Olkkola

Emily Olkkola

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