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Owner Talks Three Years in Business

Photography Provided

Jason Van Haecke, owner of The Kingdom: Cards & Games in Kokomo, is thrilled to be celebrating the store’s third anniversary.

“Three years is quite an accomplishment and I couldn’t be happier,” he says. “I’m really excited about it.”

The Kingdom: Cards & Games originally opened in 2017 at a different location, eventually relocating to West Walnut Street. The business has gained devoted customers who enthusiastically continue to shop at the store.

“Our mission statement is that The Kingdom: Cards & Games strives to be Kokomo’s preferred destination for competitive and casual gaming, providing a positive and engaging environment,” Van Haecke says.

Van Haecke and his staff work hard to make sure everyone has a great time at the store, and find the products they want.

Van Haecke’s passion for gaming motivated him to open a business that would allow him to pursue something he enjoys doing anyway.

“I have been in gaming since I was a teen, having been to Gen Con for many years, as well as many other gaming conventions,” he says.

Van Haecke enjoys being located amidst several shops that offer toys, comics, vinyl records and more – a shopping area collectively known as Kokomo’s Geek Street – and he says the business owners on the street are very helpful to each other.

“It’s awesome to be part of something that’s bigger than just my own small business,” he says. “The support and knowledge we gain from each other strengthens us all individually, and as a group.”

Van Haecke says the coronavirus pandemic has motivated many individuals and families to spend time playing the kinds of games he offers.

“For most families, work or school was replaced with spending time with family, and that was spent playing games,” he says.

Van Haecke says Kingdom’s steady stream of business throughout the past few months is proof that many people stuck at home and tired of watching television have enjoyed turning to gaming. Van Haecke says he and his business have done well during the pandemic.

“I’ve actually been great,” he says. “Besides some really bad eating and sleeping habits, I’ve actually been in good health.”

Many Kingdom customers have purchased new games to enjoy with their families.

“‘Pandemic’ [the board game] has been really popular,” Van Haecke says. “‘Magic: the Gathering’ is always a best seller.”

Van Haecke has a few favorites of his own.

“Among my favorites are ‘Terraforming Mars’, ‘Scythe’, ‘Clank!’, ‘Magic’, ‘KeyForge’, and ‘Dungeons & Dragons’,” he says.

Van Haecke credits loyal customers and friends for the success of his business.

“There are far too many co-workers, family and friends to mention individually,” he says. “The Kingdom would not exist if it were not for all the support from customers, friends of the store, volunteers at events, and all the other people that have had a hand in the success of the store.”

The Kingdom: Cards & Games is located at 126 West Walnut Street in Kokomo. For more info, visit facebook.com/thekingdomkokomo or call 765-450-5977.

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