Southend board game store moves to high street

A SUCCESSFUL board game store in Southend is set to move to a prime town center location as part of a major expansion which will see the creation of a new cafe.

Bosses say the Board Game Hut, which is located in Hamlet Court Road, will move to an empty store in Clarence Street which was previously known as the Knitting and Needlecraft store.

Owners Russell Neave-Houghting and partner Kelly Barnard announced the move after reaching an agreement with new partners Duncan and Hazel Popham who invested in the business and helped secure the move.

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The team hopes to open the new store before the end of the summer.

Mr. Neave-Houghting said: “We are delighted to be moving to the new location, to have more space for the store and events.

“We are still fully planning it, but we want to do more events and board game nights, and with the new location we will have the space to do that upstairs.

“We aim to be a fully inclusive safe space where all are welcome and can relax.

“The new location is just off the High Street and visible from it.

“It took months, and we still have a lot of work to do to prepare it, but we expect it to take around six to eight weeks.”

The Board Game Hut started as an online business six years ago, before opening as a shop at its current location in Hamlet Court Road in 2019.

With business booming, Mr. Neave-Houghting and the team are considering an expansion that will see them continue with their plan to open a cage inside the new store.

He said: “Going forward, the focus will be on the board game cafe route, we are planning a full menu and better choices for light snacks and coffees.

“We also hope to be able to obtain a license to sell alcohol as well.

“With more space, we can have a more established café space, without it interfering with the events we host upstairs.

“We aim to become a social hub where tabletop games can come to socialize, while meeting new friends in an inclusive environment.”