Card shop closure leaves gap for kids, teens

Three generations of card players were getting into the game "Magic the Gathering" at 3C's Card Shop before the business closed its doors last week.

Chris Booth and his two sons, 6-year-old Noah and 10-year-old Ben, as well as Chris' father were developing a tradition of playing in tournaments on Saturdays at the shop inside the Centennial Mall.

But, after owner Marc Leier shut down after months of being unable to turn a profit, some Craig youths may be poised again to spout the saying "There's nothing to do in Craig."

"That's a real shame," Chris Booth said of the shop closing. "What are kids going to do now? I think it will have a heavy impact on kids."

3C's Card Shop was across from Beef & Peppers in the mall. Leier became a partner and then bought the business when it was in its former location, where California Nails is now. During his almost two years of ownership, Leier developed the business to include a place for youths to play popular card games, purchase cards and have weekend tournaments.

Although the shop seemed regularly to be filled with youths, sales were weak, Leier said. Sales were so bad, in fact, that Leier had to work another job to try to cover his lease. On top of that, he said, some of his patrons were developing a reputation for causing trouble and loitering around the mall -- an image that was becoming hard to get out from under.

Mall property manager Vicki Hall said the space officially goes up for lease Monday. She said that though the store brought people into the mall, they weren't necessarily shopping at other mall stores.

Reportedly, a similar card shop may open under new ownership on Victory Way, Leier said. Those reports couldn't be confirmed Thursday.

Rob Winn, program director at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, said the group is actively trying to recruit more teenagers to its facility and trying to give youths more options.

A teen advisory group has been created to address the kinds of activities they would be most interested in. Ideas include a teen-only dodge ball league and poker night, Winn said.

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