Geek Retreat caps off successful first year in Sunderland with community toy appeal

A new games cafe is celebrating a successful first year in business with a toy appeal to give back to the community.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 4:18 pm
Geek Retreat Christmas toy appeal. From left Gemma Wilkinson, Gillian Pickes from Love Amelia charity and Laura Green.

The Geek Retreat gaming cafe and shop opened for retail in a formerly empty unit in John Street in April and, despite having to navigate a pandemic, has proved to be a city centre success story.

Part of a popular national franchise, it’s already one of the top half performing Geek Retreats in the country and is the only shop in the North East given WPN Premium status which recognises the top 5% of gaming stores across the world.

Partners Stewart Brass and Laura Green opened the store after noticing a gap in the market for all things ‘geeky’, from gaming events and superhero movie merchandise to anime and sci-fi.

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Geek Retreat Christmas toy appeal. From left Gemma Wilkinson, Gillian Pickes from Love Amelia charity and Laura Green.

Now, they are holding a toy appeal in aid of Love, Amelia, a charitable organisation based in Sunderland which provides new and pre-loved items to families living in Sunderland and South Tyneside who are experiencing hardship.

Stewart said: “We can’t complain about our first year, it’s gone really, really well, and we’ve built up a great following of families who regularly come in.

"We’ve done previous events for charities, including a boardgame event for Mental Health UK, which went really well, so we decided to do something to give something back at Christmas and Love, Amelia is a great cause."

If visitors to the store donate a toy worth more than £5 they’ll receive a free milkshake and if they donate a gift worth more than £10 they’ll receive a free meal.

If you purchase an item in store for the donation they will give you a 10% discount on the item and if it’s worth more than £5 you’ll receive a free milkshake or hot / cold drink.

Stewart said: “We wanted to give people plenty of incentives to donate and help make sure the less fortunate families in the area get the Christmas they deserve.”

The new business created five jobs in the city and there are plans in the pipeline for apprentice roles.

The cafe has capacity for 64 seated and people can take part in tabletop role play games and card games as well as taking part in official tournaments with brands such as Pokemon and Dungeons and Dragons.

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