The Game Shop, a store for gaming, trading cards and collectables will host its grand opening this Saturday June 25, while Oak + Bean, a combination coffee shop and wine bar, will open later this summer.
The Game Shop
The Game Shop held its soft opening on June 11 and has since been open from 2 to 10 p.m. daily.
The Game Shop’s storefront in the ground level of the Reserve at Hudson Crossing’s south side is the store’s second location after opening a location in Tinley Park in 2017.
The Game Shop sells and trades board games, trading cards and collectables of all varieties, and hosts local tournaments for several different games.
The store has walls of individual rare cards available for purchase and nearly 800 Funko Pops, but what the owners said really sets the store apart is the customer service and the experience.
The Game Shop is owned by Frank Behm along with his son Frank Behm Jr. and his friend Nick Vidmar. Behm Sr. said Behm Jr. and Vidmar are really the face of the company as they are the experts on all things gaming and collectable.
The shop is oriented more towards trading cards and board games rather than video games, and is one of the only stores in the area that sells individual cards.
“We’re more table-top focused,” Vidmar said. “Going away from screens and going back to your kitchen table-type games, like board games and trading cards.”
Vidmar and Behm Jr. met through playing card games like Yu-Gi-Oh competitively and soon started traveling together to big events and playing in the same tournaments.
Vidmar said he has always wanted to open a game store.
“As a kid, that was the end goal, that was like the coolest thing,” Vidmar said. “How awesome would it be to do that as a job instead of a typical nine to five job?”
Behm Jr. shared Vidmar’s dream, and the two went to Behm Sr. with a proposal. Behm Sr. was a truck driver when they approached him with the proposition.
“They brought me the whole spiel with what they wanted to do, like they were presenting it to a bank,” Behm Sr. said. “So I said ‘Sure, let’s do this.’”
The group purchased a failing game store in Tinley Park, changed the name to The Game Shop, and moved it to another location in Tinley Park and where it has been well received by the community.
The Game Shop in Tinley Park hosts tournaments six days a week, and sponsors young locals who are getting into the tournament scene. The new location has a mezzanine above the store where they plan to host tournaments.
Vidmar has lived in Oswego since 2006 and graduated from Oswego High school. He and Behm Jr. have been commuting to The Game Shop location in Tinley Park since 2017 and said they have been wanting to open a closer location for a long time.
Vidmar said growing up he worked at almost every game store in the area and used the information he got from seeing what each of them was doing wrong or doing right to build a better game store.
The Game Shop owners said they want their customers to leave feeling like they got a good deal after trade-ins.
“We want to make sure our customers get the best service and the best value,” said Behm Sr.
Vidmar said that as players, he and Behm Jr. hold the community experience of gaming dear to their hearts and love to see people build friendships through their tournaments the same way they did.
“I’ve made so many friends that I probably would have never met if it weren’t for card games,” Vidmar said. “From the typical nerdy kids to the jocks to everyone in between, when they’re here, they all come together and that stigma is gone.”
Behm Sr. said one of the things he loves about the store is that they really don’t have any specific demographic.
“Our demographic is people who want to have a good time,” Behm Sr. said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 years old, if you’re 30 years old, if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, whatever race, whatever religion, you’re all on the same playing field, and you all can enjoy each other.”
Vidmar said on the day of the soft open, they had a few people waiting outside the store before the doors opened at 2 p.m. and at one point had nearly 30 people inside, with lines at the register as long as 20 people.
Vidmar said the majority of customers at the soft open were families and they sold a lot of Funko Pops and board games on their first day.
“We have such a wide variety of stuff,” Vidmar said. “Even the person who isn’t dedicated to table top gaming could find something they’d want.”
Oak + Bean
Oak + Bean owner Kacie Wadycki said her establishment is still waiting on permits to begin construction, but she hopes to be open by August.
Wadycki owns Krema Coffee House and Wine and Cheese Co. in Plainfield, and said she wanted to combine the business models of both restaurants into one space.
Because Wadycki already runs a coffee shop and a wine and cheese bar, she has the coffee sourced, and plenty of wine and cheese vendors ready to stock Oak + Bean’s inventory.
Oak + Bean has begun staffing, and is currently taking applications. Wadycki said once construction is complete, it won’t be long before the restaurant is open.
Wadycki has been in the wine industry for 10 years, and the coffee industry for 8 years. She worked in coffee shops for years before opening Krema Coffee House in 2017.
Oak + Bean will offer made from scratch pastries and will be the first coffee shop in Oswego that, like Krema, roasts all their own beans.
Wadycki said that roasting their own beans means they can directly source high quality coffee beans from all over the world through fair trade, and roast them to the desired profiles.
Wadycki said compared to macro-roasters like Starbucks, they have the ability to be more hands-on throughout the supply chain process, which gives them the ability to offer very high-end, sustainably sourced coffee.
“Our coffee should speak for itself, it’s going to be different than any other place,” Wadycki said. “You can’t get it anywhere else except Plainfield.”
They will be offering unique coffee drinks like fig vanilla black pepper lattes and lumberjack lattes, which are made with local buttery maple syrup and cinnamon.
In addition to coffee and pastries, Oak + Bean will offer a variety of breakfast and lunch menu items as well as charcuterie boards and small plates for dinner, with the entire menu available all day.
Oak + Bean will offer unique curated wines featuring smaller, boutique wines, from across the world and from vineyards across the US.
“We like to carry smaller boutique wines to introduce people to a higher quality of wine,” Wadycki said. “We try to source from all over, to support local wineries that are doing amazing things.”
Wadycki said they will have international wines from Italy, France, Spain and South Africa, and regional U.S. wines.
Wadycki said sourcing locally is very important to her businesses. Their flavored syrups are from a local, woman owned company, and they get their dairy from a farmer about an hour south.
“We like to get involved with the community,” Wadycki said. “A coffee shop, like any business, should be rooted deep into your community, wherever you are.”
Wadycki said she chose Oswego because its economy is booming.
“Its a beautiful town, it has a lot of cool businesses,” Wadycki said. “We’re just excited to be a part of that location and be a part of the growth that’s happening.”