People who walk into the new Warrior Game Stop at 2nd and Walnut Sts. might stop and wonder if they’re in the right place when they enter a room of military memorabilia, but they’re not. They just have to walk a little further.
Through the second door, the namesake activities of Frank Davis’s brainchild stretch the length of the building.
There’s a table shuffleboard court sitting across from a counter filled with various trinkets. Along one wall is an activity area for xBox360 and Wii games and a combination air hockey and table tennis table.
Young children will find a play area with toys and books along the back wall.
A pool table and a basketball shooting game are along the south wall, as well as an area for seating, with booths soon to come. A small puppet theatre is available nearby.
Davis moved to town about 10 years ago and worked at Peabody Market before becoming a custodian for Peabody-Burns schools.
It’s the contact with and his love for kids that caused him to invest in creating a space where children of all ages can come to have a good time playing and socializing.
The HUB has a similar goal, but Davis said he saw a need for a place with longer hours that was open to older students and offered some different activities.
“I don’t see this as being in competition to The HUB,” Davis said. “I think they can complement each other.”
Davis will soon offer pizza, ice cream, and pre-packaged sandwiches, but he also wants to do something to inspire children and honor adults, and that’s where the military angle comes in.
The small front entry room Davis has dedicated to the town’s veterans. Pictures and memorabilia adorn the walls, and Davis hope people will bring in pictures of their own to share.
“It’s important that we remember our veterans, and it’s good for the kids to see that and learn about them,” Davis said.
Another quirky facet are all of the Muppet-style stuffed animals featured on wall shelves all around the game hall. One character features prominently.
“I’ve collected a lot of Elmos over the years,” he said.
Davis hasn’t done this entirely on his own, he said. He’s gotten donations of items, and has a group of adults who have volunteered to help staff the facility.
At 22 years old, Adam Sheffler said he plans to be a frequent patron.
“I think it’s nice having this place for anybody who wants to come,” Sheffler said. “This place will be open after 8, and the people who want pizza can come here and play games, and it’s not like The HUB, that’s made for junior high and high school kids.”
Warrior Game Stop will be open Thursdays through Sundays beginning at 4 p.m. It will be open evenings at least until 10 p.m., although Davis plans to be open later on weekend nights, and is willing to be flexible depending on demand.
Davis said he welcomes any suggestions or help to make the center better. He said he wants it to be good for the children.
“It’s just a way I can give back to the community,” he said.
A formal grand opening will be coming soon, Davis said.