A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

12 February 2014

[D&D 40th Anniversary Bloghop] Day Twelve

Day Twelve: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

Hammond's Toys & Hobbies

It's still around, in various forms. By that I mean it's no longer in the same location and their selection and quality has decreased somewhat in the face of box stores. But they're still around and still family-owned. I even worked for them for a while several years back. The place was quiet enough at night that I could actually get some painting done at the front counter.

This was the place that I picked up some of the first metal minis and polyhedral dice I ever owned. My friend (the DM for our skirmish games) and I would pool our cash to pick up minis, Testor paints, and dice. The Armory dice from a few posts ago? Those came from Hammond's. They were a great source of back issues of Dragon and White Dwarf magazines back in the early 2000s. I was able to pick up a boxed set of Rod of Seven Parts at a terrific discount long after it was out of print.

Looking back, though, it's a little frustrating to realize that one of their business models with the lead miniatures was to open and break up boxed sets and sell the individual miniatures at a higher price than they were valued as part of the whole box. Granted, I owned a few miniatures that I likely never would have owned otherwise, but it's still upsetting to think that they were doing this at all.

The greatest memory I have of the store is of the owner. At that time, I thought he had to be over 100 years old. He was ancient. He was also always grouchy. I remember that he seemed to hate kids; ironic, of course, considering he made his living by catering to us snot-nosed brats. But the strongest memory I have is of this man shadowing the kids around the store, making sure no one shoplifted anything. It was comical to watch and admittedly creepy if you were one of the watched-over kids. I suppose it probably helped quell their losses; I know that the store I worked in had a very low merchandise loss ratio. (In one of their now-defunct stores, they replaced Gramps with fake video cameras. Black plastic cameras with a 9-volt battery to run the red "recording" light and a short cable that was stuck up into the drop ceiling.) He wasn't the manager; the manager was invariably one of his family members and was always behind the counter.

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