116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS – A few years ago, Jordan Leyh figured out how to turn a lifelong gaming hobby into a full-time business.
He called the result “an eye-opener.”
“It gives me a new outlook on life,” he said.
“I used to assume you get a job, you work for the rest of your life, that's it. But this demonstrates that you can make money doing things that you really love, if you just put in the effort.”
Leyh’s efforts have led to the creation of Dark Vassal Gaming, which opened this year in Cedar Falls.
Leyh said Dark Vassal is meant to provide a place for residents to gather in a safe space to play and learn various tabletop games.
Leyh grew up watching Pokemon on TV, which led him into the world of trading cards. From there, he began competing in more adult-focused games such as “Magic: The Gathering.”
“It's the competitiveness that I really found engaging,” he said.
In 2018 he started buying and selling games as a way to fund his hobby.
That enterprise grew into Dark Vassal Gaming. And while Dark Vassal focuses mainly on tabletop games, he hopes to expand into videogames.
“I get a lot of people calling to ask if we have XBox controllers or things like that,” he said.
“They kind of go hand-in-hand with other forms of gaming.”
For now, though, Leyh is focused on bringing additional staff to his team to extend operating hours and increase sales.
He also wants to expand the store’s inventory and offerings, as well as add food and drinks.
For that reason, Leyh joined with Kiva Iowa to seek a loan of $7,500 from the public.
“Kiva is a really big community-building tool,” he said. “It's a great way to get people to find their passion, or build it into something.”
Leyh said community-building is a driving force behind Dark Vassal Gaming, especially in terms of rebuilding after the pandemic.
“We forgot a lot about how people are in real life,” he said.
“People spend a lot of time on social media, and they think that's what reality is. People who are coming in here are getting that human interaction that they need. We want to be there for the community, and build up something great around gaming.”
To learn more about Dark Vassal Gaming, go to https://dvgtcg.com.
Details on Kiva Iowa, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit can be found at https://newbo.co/kiva.