Game Store Seattle: Zulus Games
In the Greater Seattle area, there are 10 local game stores, according to Wizards of the Coasts’ Store & Event Locator. One of those stores is Zulus Games which is explicitly located in Bothell, Washington. Zulus Games is founded and owned by Matt Zaremba who bootstrapped the business with a limited budget. The store offers gameplay for various tradeable card games in addition to board game nights.
With future desires of a remodel and theming out the store, the initial build would require manual labor. 14-hour days every day would ensue as Matt learned how to do tasks like tiling. He hired a contractor who taught a class on how to do just that. Matt also leveraged YouTube to save money and learn trades necessary to build the foundation of Zulus Games.
The theme of the store Matt says was an obvious choice once he found the location. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, customers are immersed in fantasy-themed gaming space. In addition to gaming, Zulus Games has a full-fledged restaurant. With a focus on burgers and chicken fingers, Matt leveled up and hired Director of Food and Beverage, Tony Jutt. Tony is originally from the Midwest in Indiana where he received his culinary degree. He later moved to Washington where he received his Master’s Degree in culinary.
A Game Store With A Fully-Fledged Restaurant
Tony was originally a customer of the store before Matt brought him on board. Having started off with six sauces, they now sport 23 sauces of varying flavors. Tony shares there’s a pretty even split between those who come to the shop for gaming versus the restaurant. From working with local breweries to vineyards, Zulus Games also has its own hot sauce called Worldfire. Tony shared the most rewarding thing he’s experienced at the restaurant:
“Great times with friends should be accompanied by great food and drinks. I feel like we accomplish that with every “whoa!” I hear from when guests walk in, while they sit, and on their way out the door.”Director of Food and Beverage, Tony Jutt
When it comes to player turnout for events at the store, Zulus Games receives quite the turnout. According to the Zulus Games Instagram account, the One Piece Paramount War midnight release had 110 people in attendance. In addition to the game store for hosting events, there’s also the Events Center for holding even larger tournaments. At the time of this writing, Matt notes that he currently owns one and rents two buildings for hosting gameplay.
Here’s what one of Matt’s customers has to say about his store:
“Best place to get a great meal and play a game for 100 miles!!! Has great outdoor dining space and amazing service!”Scott Klauber
Review left on Zulus Games’ Facebook page
A Store That Goes Above & Beyond For Its Community
As per the Zulus Games website, they also host Summer Camp which is a 4-week program for 10-16-year-olds. Tony describes the concept to me as “ushering a new generation of gamers”. Attendees have the opportunity to learn how to play tradeable card games and play through campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons. Lunch is included as well.
Zulus Games is a large and growing multi-facet game store in the Seattle area. There’s a plethora of options for customers to do at the store. So, what is most rewarding for Matt in continuing to build out his business?
“Our passion comes from serving our communities by providing all of us a great place to gather, have fun and make memories.”Owner, Matt Zaremba
Matt’s ambition and ability to execute his vision have resulted in a highly successful store. One of his bigger wishes for the future is a Hawaii location. Matt’s expressed his desire to help other local game stores throughout the country do what Zulus Games is doing. If you’re in the Seattle area, check out the store when the urge to play some games hits you!