Board-gamers and coffee lovers alike have a new haven at the recently opened Lodestone Coffee and Games in Minnetonka. Whether you’re an experienced pro or a newbie to tabletop games, Lodestone offers space—and coffee—for every interest level.
During the day, Lodestone operates primarily as a regular coffee shop, offering a variety of drinks and baked goods, along with about 130 different game titles for folks to play at their leisure.
In the evenings, the space hosts regularly scheduled tournaments with the chance to win prizes. These events highlight some of the more popular tabletop games, including Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, and Pathfinder, among others, says co-owner and retail manager Mike Hawthorne.
Each week, the shop also hosts Social Gaming Sundays, encouraging people to learn different games in a community setting. “[People] can come as a group or by themselves, so we teach them how to play games and get started out,” Hawthorne says.
Lodestone sprouted from the gaming community itself. Hawthorne and two other co-owners, Ryan Overturf and Forrest Ryan, met through playing Magic competitively. The three began planning events in collaboration with smaller game stores throughout the Midwest, eventually gaining enough momentum to start
a venue of their own.
“We started by doing a lot of organizing for board game events over the years and got really good at it. So we thought it was time to go brick-and-mortar. It just made sense,” says Hawthorne.
While many game shops focus business on evening and weekend hours, the co-owners wanted a space that could stay open during the day, too. Adding the café element, they created a venue comfortable for teenagers and adults alike. Featuring art from local creators and tables constructed by carpenter friend Andrew Martin, Lodestone is a comfortable space to hang out and play games, Hawthorne says.
Along with Overturf and Ryan, Hawthorne recruited two more friends for the project, Jordan Monte and Zack Schneider. The five opened the Lodestone Coffee and Games storefront in late 2016.
“None of us had opened a business before, so it was kind of trial and error, hits and misses. But it’s been really good,” Schneider says.
While having five cooks in the kitchen has its challenges, sharing the various duties has allowed the co-owners to keep their regular jobs, and let the business take more risks, says Hawthorne.
“Sometimes it’s tough coming to the realization that things won’t work,” says Schneider. “And then sometimes you have really great things come from it.”
Hawthorne’s friend since high school, Schneider was originally unfamiliar with gaming, but dove in to learn as much as possible. Having worked as a barista, he took over the coffee side of operations, reaching out to other friends in the coffee industry for advice.
Lodestone serves a full coffee bar, featuring house-made chai, a popular cold brew, and other favorites provided by Corner Coffee. Through this partnership, Schneider and Corner Coffee roast beans and create flavor profiles exclusively for Lodestone’s customers.
The full menu includes baked goods from Breadsmith, along with smoothies, lemonade and sparkling water. On top of food and drink, Lodestone also features hundreds of game titles available for purchase in-store.
“I didn’t realize the game community was so loyal. Some will only buy from us,” Schneider says. “It’s great to see how supportive they are of us.”