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For Troutdale couple, it's all fun and games

Goin' Gaming brings board- and card-game culture to Troutdale

OUTLOOK PHOTO: SHANNON O. WELLS - Alan and Becky Schmid are all smiles after opening Goin Gaming, a Troutdale store that sells board and card games as well as providing a gathering place for gamers to play and compete in their favorite parlor pursuits. While growing up near Tualatin, Alan Schmid often spent time after school at a board gaming shop owned by a family friend.

Now in his early 40s, Schmid and his wife, Becky, hope to share that same experience with youths and older gaming aficionados who live near their Troutdale neighborhood. The couple opened Goin’ Gaming, 27084 S.E. Stark St., in the Troutdale Marketplace plaza in early December.

The store offers a wall-to-wall array of board games both classic and contemporary, complex and common for sale as well as a welcoming spot to for individuals and groups to gather for gaming sessions.

Alan Schmid hopes gamers will feel the same about Goin’ Gaming as he did about the shop of his youth.

“It was a safe place for us to go,” he recalls. “I was looking to recreate that for kids in this area.”

The Schmids saw a niche to fill after noticing a dearth of gaming centers in East Multnomah County compared with other parts of the Portland area.

“Anyplace else in (the Portland area) you can’t throw a rock without hitting a store like this,” Alan Schmid said. “Looking at what’s out here, this was a desert for (gaming). It’s far enough away from everybody else, but still close enough in.”OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Pokemon playing cards are among the merchandise Becky and Alan Schmid offer at their newly opened Goin Gaming store at Troutdale Marketplace.

The couple, who’ve called Troutdale home for years, liked the idea of locating in the Troutdale Marketplace. The shopping center received a new lease on life when the Multisensory Learning Academy charter school set up shop in the former Lamb’s Thriftway space along Troutdale Road.

“When we heard this was the new location for a middle school, we thought, ‘What a great spot,’” said Becky Schmid. “It seemed like the perfect area and perfect timing for us.”

In addition to strategy- and cooperation-based board games such as Catan, Risk, Yahtzee and Dungeons & Dragons, Goin’ Gaming specializes in miniature combat-oriented games in which players apply strategies and critical thinking to tactical combat scenarios. The shop also offers games based on collectible cards, role-playing games in which players create customized characters in fictional settings, and advanced coloring books, which a growing number of adults use as a stress-relieving foray into drawing and artistry.

“We sell just about all kinds of games, except video games,” said Becky Schmid, noting an exception in the store’s movie screen-based Mario Cart Mondays event. “We have events and tournaments for customers to come in and play different games.”

While the digital age has lessened the mass popularity of old-school board and card games, the Schmids feel there’s cultural value in providing an alternative to interacting with electronics all day and night.OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Goin' Gaming co-owner Becky Schmid takes a moment to pose in front of her new store's blackboard, which lets customers know when game-playing events and tournaments are coming up. She and her husband, Alan, want the store to be a gathering place for fans of board and card games.

“We’re really trying to get kids away from video games,” Becky Schmid said. “There are more kids nowadays playing games and watching TV and (doing) less thinking. The games here are exercising their critical-thinking skills. And the socializing piece — that’s what we’re big into.”

Alan Schmid, a self-described stay-at-home dad, said Becky, who works in information technology for Providence Portland Medical Center, handles the administrative aspects of running the store. He serves as gaming ambassador to the shop’s growing roster of regular customers and players.

“I do the technical stuff for the business,” Becky Schmid said, “and he gets to play the games most of the time.”