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    Spotlight on Business | Winning the Game of Games — Zander’s Game House in Camarillo

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    By Raven West

    After spending more than 25 years as the Corporate Operations Trainer with Pleasant Holidays in Westlake Village, Jeanne Sikoff, owner of Zander’s Game House on Ventura Boulevard. in Old Town Camarillo, founded she needed more in her life than just driving to work, working, then driving home.

    Jeanne Sikoff

    “I grew up in Camarillo, but was never really part of the community,” Jeanne explained. “I wasn’t involved with politics or local social organizations. I didn’t know any of the businesses in Old Town. Camarillo was my home, but I never really “lived” here. After more than two decades in the corporate world, I felt it was time for a change and time to come home.”

    With many of her friends starting their own businesses, Jeanne felt a strong desire to join the growing number of women entrepreneurs. She also felt a stronger desire to return to her hometown with a business idea that would not only fill an empty niche, and an empty storefront, but also solve a growing problem with today’s families.

    Lack of interaction.

    “My friends were constantly complaining that their kids’ attention was always directed to an iPad, cell phone or a computer screen. When I’d hear them say things like ‘I’ve only seen the top of my kid’s head in over a month,’ and ‘I can’t get my son to interact with me’, or ‘I can’t get my daughter away from the computer screen’, I knew there was a niche that needed to be filled.”

    It might have been a coincidence, or the Universe responding to her message, but a few days later Jeanne happened to be watching a local program profiling a restaurant called Game Häus Café. “They are a little café with food and board games the customers can play. I said that’s it! That’s exactly what we need in Camarillo. A place for families to play together and get the kids off the screens.”

    Photo Couresy of Tim McCoy

    The Sikoffs also took away their son Alexander’s iPad in exchange for naming their new store after him – and “Zander’s Game House” was born.

    For the first year or so, Zander’s main source of revenue came from birthday parties and a few corporate events including hosting a working retreat for the Human Resource Department from Cal State Channel Islands and Amgen.

    “We found that game playing interaction is a great way to get people out of their separate department cliques. A member of the sales department will be on a team with someone from customer service who have never met before, and now they’re on a role playing team. It really forms a comradery that doesn’t exist in an isolated work environment – so they’re building new relationships and stronger bonds to build a more cohesive team that will hopefully continue when they return to the office.”

    These events by themselves were drawing a good crowd, but at $5 for an all-day game playing ticket, Jeanne needed to attract a larger stream of revenue. Recalling the popularity of the 70’s Dungeons & Dragons, she planned a D&D game night. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

    According to D&D Beyond, “2018 was the biggest year yet for the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons. 2018 also saw the unprecedented release of four D&D game books, up from three books in all previous years, except for its launch in 2014. The game is more popular now that it ever has been.”

    That one game night with only 15 players has exploded into a major tournament location with 25 games each week and about 90 players rotating through the games.

    Bringing a new concept of game play to Old Town was only the start of what was to become the cornerstone to Jeanne’s ultimate personal plan – to be involved with her community on a much deeper level. She joined the Camarillo Old Town Association (COTA) with the intent of promoting Camarillo and making contacts. With her planning organizational skills it wasn’t long before she was elected President.

    “COTA is a fantastic opportunity to really become involved with the community. We host business mixers, public events like the Wine Walk and the recently sold-out Beer March. With the help of my really great COTA team, these events are growing bigger and more popular every year!”

    Jeanne left the corporate world to pursue a dream. She opened a store built on fantasy and created a reality that will impact families and her Camarillo business community for many years to come.

    “If we are so isolated and all we watch is on a screen, we lose skills we never knew we had. That’s why human contact is so critical, especially in problem solving situations where you need to interact with other human beings, plan your strategy, listen to their opinions, and win the game of life!”

    Jeanne is certainly winning the game of games!

     

    Join Zander’s Game House VIP (Very Important Player) Club!
    Text ZANDERSVIP to 51660

    Zander’s Game House
    2270 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA  93010
    (805) 383-9983

    Hours:

    Tues – Thurs:  2:00pm – 11:00pm

    Fri – Sat:  12:00pm – 12:00am

    Sun: 12:00pm – 9:00pm

    For more information, visit: Zander’s Game House


    Raven West

    Raven West is a free-lance writer and published author who has lived in Ventura County for more than twenty years. She has an extensive knowledge of local wineries from Thousand Oaks to Ojai and will be covering special events which take place at the tasting rooms throughout the year. Named in the TOP 50  Authors by Authorsdb.com


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    Bruce Boyer
    Bruce Boyer
    3 years ago

    Im going!

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