Greenwood Café Story
Although it would have been nice to meet one another while we were both dressed nicely and smelling fresh, this was not the case. Instead, we were sweaty, smelly and beating each other up…in the dojo that is. Domenic had returned for a visit to his former judo club, Formokan Judo, where I was practicing judo. He asked me if I wanted to partner up for newaza. After that night, he continued to ‘visit’ his former judo classes until one day he asked me out for coffee. The rest is history.
Domenic grew up playing fantasy games with his mother who was a big influence in this area. She even plays Warhammer! How cool is that.
I played classic board games such as Monopoly, which is a family tradition to play after holiday dinners. Although I was familiar with Warhammer and Yu-Gi-Oh because of my son, Domenic introduced me to a whole new world of games and, in the processes, re-sparked his own enthusiasm of tabletop games.
During our dates we often played games like Magic the Gathering and went on road trips to various gaming stores and board game cafes. One year, Domenic took me to GenCon and I was hooked! Road trip to Indy became a yearly tradition, not only for GenCon but also to watch the Colts play. Indy quickly became one of our favourite cities to visit and it is where Domenic proposed!
We always joked of opening a place where we could eat, play, and buy product all in one store. A place where everyone was welcome. The joke soon turned into serious consideration.
Domenic worked as a Personal Trainer and I worked in the field of environmental emergencies. We were both very successful but had our challenges when it came to our careers that weighed heavily on us.
Maybe, just maybe, we could make our dream happen. A huge decision and an even bigger commitment.
After many brainstorming seasons, information gathering, one-on-ones with store owners, we wrote our business plan. We spoke to the bank. We found a location. Of course, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. There were many bumps in the road but all these ‘bumps’ led us to better ideas and better decisions. Maybe the gaming gods were looking down on us.
Critical Hit Gaming Lounge was born August 11, 2018. We had the second floor of a two story building, well more like a very large house. The upstairs was previously used as a hall for wedding receptions. High ceilings, large beams and a brick fireplace lent the perfect lodge feel for our gaming space.
The best gaming community was built. Seriously, the best people EVER.
In December 2019, just before Christmas, our landlord advised us that someone is interested in the main floor. We had hemmed and hawed before about taking over the main space after the restaurant owners left but at the time we thought it was too early. But now is a different story. Domenic and I went over a pros and cons list that must have been rewritten a million times. The risk was huge. A decision had to be made in the next few days. After some verbal negotiations with our landlord, we made the scary decision to expand. Looking back, we are so glad we made that decision, yes even with the COVID-19 pandemic.
To expand we had to have another revenue stream. Something that would work in synergy with our business. This is when Greenwood Café and Roaster was born. Named after Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Reals. I completed courses in roasting coffee and took a great interest in the science of it all. I arranged a leave of absence from work and worked with Domenic to expand the business.
The grand opening for the main floor was in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Ontario was locked down. Not ideal. We worked hard to continued building our coffee business. When summer hit we opened our patio, which we took over with the main floor, and it became a huge asset to us during COVID.
Over the months during the pandemic, we continue to pivot and evolve.
With the best staff you could have and with a community that has been so unbelievably supportive of us, how can we not succeed.