Above Deck Hobbies and Games owner Jeremy O'Kell opens his new store in the top of town on Friday.
Above Deck Hobbies and Games owner Jeremy O'Kell opens his new store in the top of town on Friday.

Games shop brings new safe space to play

The owner of a new hobbies and games store said he hoped it would become a safe space and a community hub for Ipswich residents.

Owner Jeremy O’Kell and his wife and co-owner Angela Evans officially opened Above Deck Hobbies and Games last week.

“Myself and my partner have been involved in this type of environment for a number of years,” he said.

“It was something that we’ve had a really big interest in and something we’ve been really focused on giving back to the community.”

Mr O’Kell said a portion of every transaction is donated to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

The store had already been operating online for a month and the couple had managed to raise a few hundred dollars already.

It is just one of the ways he hopes the store can give back.

“We want to do things that would relate back to school programs, local community events, charity events and all that sort of stuff, as well as offering a space that was for gaming and for hobbies as well,” Mr O’Kell.

Mr O’Kell said it was the kind of space that kept him out of trouble when he was younger.

He is now 32 years old but became a game enthusiast at the age of nine.

“I grew up in Western Sydney, a relatively bad area and it was a store like this that kind of introduced me socially to a community that was really inclusive and really positive. It kept me away from certain aspects,” he said.

“Having that ability to really reach out to people and help and be a community hub first and then a store second.”

The store stocks a varying range of board games and is in the process of ordering puzzles.

“We do things like magic gatherings, we do Yu-Gi-Oh. We also do things like tabletop miniature games. There are things like Star Wars related games and Marvel related ones as well,” he said.

“We’ve got some dice bags that’s been custom made for us by a local, which has been really cool.”

Above Deck is located at 211A Brisbane Street, Ipswich. It’s open 7 days a week from 12pm to 10pm.