Game Freaks Aberdeen will soon move from Side One building

Game Freaks Aberdeen is moving on up to the center of downtown with a deluxe-sized space about a block-and-a-half away.

You can almost hear Thomas Hedlund, who owns Game Freaks with his brother-in-law, hum the theme from The Jeffersons.

The shop’s current location — 121 W. Wishkah St. — will change about the beginning of March to 108 E. Wishkah St., which will put him in the old City Center Drug building. Given the proximity to other shops, bars and restaurants, that puts Hedlund’s shop in the center of a lot of commercial traffic. It also gives him ample parking space since a large city parking lot is next door.

The move should happen in the next month or two.

Hedlund explained why he’s moving his shop that sells video games and consoles, board games, game items, plush toys, figurines and skateboards. The current shop also has some capacity to host role-playing games.

“The previous owner had moved from the Dollar Tree into this space and by doing so he downsized considerably,” Hedlund said. “The old space I think was around 6,000 square feet if I remember correctly. I wanted to expand, go back to the way it used to be, go larger, carry more of the product that people want and have more space for gaming, like Warhammer and Magic the Gathering. We’ve got these tables in here now. It definitely is not enough to meet our needs.”

Hedlund started looking for a property and ended up buying the building with the Kelp Forest mural near the end of August 2023 for $237,500, according to the Grays Harbor County Assessor.

“We were trying to get some bids and stuff to get work started over there and it took a lot of time to get the bids in,” Hedlund said. “Lee (Bacon), the owner of this building, he wants to turn this into, I believe a coffee shop with like a stage for some live music as well. He told us we needed to be out by March 1 so they could start working in here. So we started getting going on the new location.”

In addition to adding more space and getting his own building, Hedlund will also be able to use colors he wants.

“It happened to be a good time for us to change our logo and kind of re-brand,” Hedlund said. “Our new logo is a green goblin. Our new colors are going to be green, black and silver.”

Hedlund said he likes to own the building in which he works.

“It makes it so I can control the rent,” Hedlund said. “Lee’s been great. We haven’t had anything like … sometimes landlords will see you’re doing well and they want to cut into that, but Lee isn’t like that. I had no worries about that. It was just the space issue. When we bought the business, that side space was open. He didn’t have a tenant for it but the Downtown Aberdeen Association was going to do a welcome center or something there and then they decided against it. And then I said ‘hey can we take that space?’ But he had decided to use it already, so it was kind of an ‘alright, I definitely need more space, how do I get it?’ And he didn’t have the space for us so I started looking.”

Hedlund knows with all the surrounding interior work Bacon’s doing at the Side One building, his space is next on the list.

“We’ve been scrambling to get ready to make the move,” Hedlund said. “So probably what will happen is we’ll close on a Sunday night, maybe an hour or two early, and then on Monday morning we’ll open up a new location.”

Hedlund explained his expected move time frame.

“Chances are as long as everything runs smoothly, which I expect it probably will, we should be over there maybe mid-February (or) end of February,” Hedlund said. “It seems like everything’s lining up just right to make that happen. I had already talked to Lee. He said it’d be fine if we ended up staying here an extra week if we had to, if there’s some sort of hiccup or something. With old buildings, you never know what you’re gonna find.”

Hedlund likes his current space, but he said he needs more than 2,000 square feet. He said for the new space, which is 6,550 square feet, his business will only use about 5,000 square feet. The rest of the building is being used by the building’s prior owner. But the 5,000 square feet he’ll use is still a 250% size increase for Game Freaks. That allows him to do more, such as host tournaments and have a dedicated Dungeons and Dragons game room.

The new building will be an upgrade for Game Freaks since the 108 E. Wishkah St. address has better heaters, which will help with the utility costs.

“The heaters in here are not efficient at all,” Hedlund said. “The electric bill is crazy expensive. And we have single-pane windows in front, so that doesn’t help things either. But with the new space and the more efficient heating over there, I think even with slightly increased (cost) and more square footage, we’ll actually end up having about the same overhead cost as this space, so that’ll be good.”

Hedlund appreciates the improvements the Bacons have done to the Side One building since they bought it.

“I think me, Dani and Lee get along pretty well because we kind of have the same view about our buildings,” Hedlund said. “We like them to look nice and we want to take care of them. They’re doing down here in Aberdeen what I’ve been kind of trying to do in Elma, fixing up the buildings there.”

While the new building sounds great, Hedlund said it needs repairs. He talked about a few of them.

“We took out the center dividing wall, it was just a lath and plaster wall,” Hedlund said. “We’ll re-do the flooring, the sheetrock, took the lath and plaster ceiling out and we’re going to insulate the roof so we can leave the exposed trusses. They’re really cool, 16-inch, tall, rough-cut lumber, so it looks really cool. And then there’s a big, steel I-beam that runs the length of the center of the building. It’ll all be exposed so you can see it.”

The city said he’ll need another bathroom, too.

The business will also upgrade its decor with Dragon Shield, who makes the protective card sleeves Hedlund sells. The incoming improvements to the new building are just the start of a better set up for the customers and players at Game Freaks.

“We’re gonna have more play tables, have tournaments, we’ll have a dedicated, private D&D room for people to utilize,” Hedlund said. “We’ll be expanding our product lines and carrying some other stuff that people have been asking for.”

Lee Bacon weighed in on the move. It sounds like he’ll miss having the shop as a tenant.

“Game Freaks has been an excellent addition to the Side One building,” Lee said. “We have no doubt their larger space will serve the gaming community with some exciting features. While we are sorry to see them leave, this does align with our plans for expanding the depth of more space for visitors and guests to the future Kurt Cobain Tribute Gallery and music Experience Center downtown. The first phase is scheduled to open in spring 2024.”

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at