Tim O’Donnell has played Magic the Gathering for over eight years, competitively and casually. With 17 years of retail work experience behind him as well, he found it only natural to take over the position of executive director of S.P.U.N. Gaming in August 2017.

Tim O’Donnell has played Magic the Gathering for over eight years, competitively and casually. With 17 years of retail work experience behind him as well, he found it only natural to take over the position of executive director of S.P.U.N. Gaming in August 2017.

S.P.U.N. Gaming is part of the S.P.U.N. business center in Lake Ozark, which is a non-profit hybrid collection of shops and businesses aimed at helping to guide youth through skill building and community gatherings. S.P.U.N. Gaming is a for-profit business that was founded with the intent of bringing people together through the connection of tabletop and trading card games. Because many elements of such games involve some sort of character building, S.P.U.N. felt that they would fit well with their core goals. The store now offers a wide variety of Magic the Gathering card sets, card sleeves, board games, dice, and more. As an officially sponsored store by Wizards of the Coast, the publishers of Magic the Gathering, the store is able to hold launch events for new Magic the Gathering set releases throughout the year.

“This store, for me, is as much a business project as it is of passion,” O’Donnell. “On both sides of things, this was a good fit.”

O’Donnell hopes to continue to expand what the store has to offer so that I might attract many different types of game players. Though Magic the Gathering is at the core of the stores inventory, they also hold Dungeons and Dragons meetings throughout the month and are open to tabletop game nights. O’Donnell even envisions the possibility of setting up multiple gaming PCs to allow for cooperative video gaming in-store.

S.P.U.N. Gaming has seen a core audience form over it’s year of business, with what O’Donnell says is around 15 weekly members attending Magic the Gathering competitions. Though there are offerings in Eldon and Lebanon, S.P.U.N. Gaming holds an independent share in this sort of business within the lake area. With business looking to boom within the warmer months, O’Donnell sees this uniqueness as a benefit rather than a hindrance.

“As far as the immediate area, we should see a lot of people during peak populated months at the lake,” O’Donnell said. “We have no local competition, so as far as a market breakdown, it was ready for something like this.”

O’Donnell sees the store as a good outlet for community members who enjoy gaming culture, but don’t have a communal area to share. Since taking over the store, he says he seen many friendships build through the games played and sees this as completion of the goals S.P.U.N. has set out as a whole. He sees the player interactions he personally has as extremely important to helping the store run, because he feels that whatever the people coming into the store want to play is what he wants to have on the shelves.

Moving into the rest of 2018, O’Donnell’s main focus is to continue promoting the events and meet-ups the store offers and to expand upon the regular player base. With new Magic the Gathering sets coming out within the month and new tabletop and card games coming out all the time, he sees no reason to stop running the way that has worked for the past year. O’Donnell says that an adage he has learned is that gaming stores need to make it over a three year cycle. If he can make it that far, he’s certain S.P.U.N. Gaming will be cemented into the lake area for many years to come.

“We really just want to see more people come check out the store,” O’Donnell said. “That’s the main hurdle any gaming store has. We want to make it to a point where we feel this store is self-sustaining.”