TableTop Game and Hobby demonstrates resilience and community support
TableTop Game and Hobby has been a shining star in the metro area, providing a fun and welcoming gaming environment to all who need it.
Phil Kilgore, the owner and founder of TableTop, has run the shop since its beginning and has been closely involved in the shop’s day-to-day activities while interacting with his customers on a personal level. He has always strived to create a unique space, not akin to any other game and hobby shops around the metro area.
One of the things that has set TableTop apart from other game and hobby stores is the absence of trading card games like Pokémon and Magic the Gathering. “The fact that we don’t do collectible cards is what makes my store the way that it is,” Kilgore says.
Kilgore has always wanted to create a friendly atmosphere rather than a local pawnshop vibe where you just come to sell your cards and leave. He first got the passion to open his own game shop when he was a kid after buying one of his favorite games of all time.
“The thing that warped my sensibility and gave me my career in 1977 was Dungeons and Dragons,” says Kilgore. The first shop came around in 1994 an open room for people to bring their games to play and hang out.
This tradition would carry on to its current store and fourth iteration, the Cardboard Corner Cafe—an add-on where people can order food and choose from hundreds of free-to-play board games.
While Cardboard Corner is attached to the TableTop store, it is not directly owned by Kilgore. It is run by Madeline and Chase Davis who are slowly buying their part of the operation.
“It’s really going to be their show. We invested in their idea for what they wanted to do in the same way somebody invested in my idea when I was young and poor and no bank would give me any money,” says Kilgore.
It has not always been an easy ride for TableTop. One night, at their second location, Kilgore received a call from his overnight caretaker at the shop asking him to get to get there as fast as he could.
“When I pulled up, a six-inch city water main had blown in the middle of the night,” Kilgore says. “And it was sending this arcing rocket of water on top of my store. It was about four degrees out, so it was supercooling and flash-freezing everything. My insurance agent came by. They had this expression on their face that didn’t give me any solace. There was this four-hour period where I didn’t know if I was going to have insurance coverage and might lose everything.”
In the end, Kilgore’s shop was indeed covered by insurance. The weird nature of his claim even prompted the addition of two extra pages to all insurance in Kansas required by state law.
It is easily said that the workers at TableTop enjoy their job and have an interesting role. This sentiment for the customers is carried over to the Cardboard Corner as well.
“It’s been really nice building a community and getting to see it grow.” says Davis. Community growth and success has been the primary goal of both TableTop and Cardboard Corner.
TableTop has continued to flourish over the years, and the response from their supporters has been overwhelming, especially during COVID. “I had no idea how much we were loved,” says Kilgore. “We would have people buying $1000 gift certificates.”
TableTop’s thriving nature and tight-knit community have been a bright light in the metro for 28 years, and they are only getting bigger.
TableTop Game and Hobby is located at 9156 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, Kansas 66212. They are open daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.