The Nerd Shop’s teenage owner saw a need in Craig and is looking to fill it
Brandon Madsen grew up in Craig a self-avowed nerd.
Madsen, 19, said it’s not a bad place to be into nerdy stuff — Magic the Gathering, comic books, vintage video games, Dungeons and Dragons, you name it.
But for many years, Craig hasn’t been a place that’s conducive to finding the products needed to indulge a nerd’s passions.
“I’ve always been a nerd,” Madsen said. “Problem is in this town we haven’t had a card shop, game shop, anything like that, for 15 years at least. Whenever I wanted Pokemon cards, comic books, Magic cards, anything like that, I had to go out of town. And there were so many other people like that. So why not open up a shop to help out the nerds in this community?”
And so he did. The Nerd Shop, located at 80 E. Fourth Street in Craig, in a rented space behind Chaos Ink, has been in business for a couple months.
The unassuming, lightly adorned space — a sandwich board out front of the side-door entrance is all the physical indication the shop exists from the outside — is taking off, Madsen said.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people coming in and they’re excited to see it. It’s hilarious, dads will come in, four or five kids, and he just comes in and goes, ‘comic books,’ and he runs over and looks through the books. The kids are looking at Lego minifigures and the 3D printing.”
Madsen said a more-defined focus for the shop is forthcoming, but it’s working on carving out a niche already in the Magic the Gathering card game space and the 3D printing space.
Madsen will construct custom card decks for customers as a paid service and has loaner decks for those who want to come learn the game at Friday-night Magic games being held at the shop. Madsen also has a 3D printer in house and is offering both resin and filament prints.
“Resin, you get more detail,” Madsen said, picking up a small, plastic figurine of a fantasy villain. “You see the scale mail on this orc, for example. Then the filament can get much bigger.”
Madsen said a handful of 3D printers are operating in town, but most are booked months out. Between custom minifigures and other larger character depictions, he said he feels like he can make something happen in filling this market.
Outside of that, there’s the walls of comics, the collectible and tradable cards, the vintage video games — Madsen said he’s working on getting monthly game nights for Nintendo 64, Sega Genesis and even an old Atari he’s working on getting back to working shape — and room to grow.
“We’re working on getting Dungeons and Dragons in,” Madsen said. “Also working on 40k Warhammer, a couple other roleplaying games. Manga, we’ve had a lot of requests for that.”
For now, Madsen is the owner and sole employee, but he said he’s had a lot of help from his uncle and parents. He said his folks own a security outlet in town, and that business acumen has helped him get started.
“I ran a lawnmowing business for a few years,” the bearded teenager said. “But that wasn’t really paying the bills.”
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For the past three years, the city of Craig awarded tens of thousands of dollars per year as part of its Small Business Grant program.