Editor’s Note: This is one in an ongoing series of stories about how USD 428 teachers spend their summer break.
As parents Darcy and Daniel Leech understand the importance of family fun and as educators they are always happy to see learning take place. Their latest venture perfectly melds both activities.
Darcy, technology coach at Great Bend Middle School, and Daniel, social studies teacher at Great Bend High School, recently opened Mind Sculpt Games, a family game store with board games, card games, tabletop games, miniatures and more. The store is located at 1401 Main.
“Mind Sculpt Games is a good place to buy games because we can teach people how to play them, connect them in meaningful relationships to other players and make recommendations based on getting to know our customers and our product and what makes a good fit,” Darcy Leech said.
“Families that play games together are not only building relationships with face-to-face interaction, but practicing math, reading and interpersonal skills while having fun,” Leech said. “I want moms to come buy a game for the family so they can learn and laugh together.
“Interactive face-to-face gaming is a great way to build relationships,” she said. “It allows a parent to have fun with their child while the game stealthily has the child practicing reading and math to reach the objective.
“Face-to-face games allow the players to build social skills and cooperative friendships,” Leech explained. “Two people can fill a lot of our basic human needs by sitting around a board game and playing together. We are built for interactions and so are face-to-face games.
“We want to pair with our community for family board game nights at local churches, math enrichment game nights with educational groups, card tournaments where people can make friends and enjoy fun competition and have open play where anyone can find something safe and fun to do on a Friday night.
“We’ve been selling online for years, but we opened our first brick-and-mortar retail store on June 2,” Darcy said. “We run the shop, sell board games, run card game tournaments, order from distributors, stream game footage online and do all the other things small business owners do.
“A family business is a great way to make our summers meaningful and help us all chase a dream we’ve had for a while,” she said. “I like building skills and helping the community. Running Mind Sculpt Games will help me do both.
“I’m hoping we can hire a manager to work full time after we get the business off the ground, but there is a part of my entrepreneurial heart that would like to run a business successfully enough that I could devote all my work time to it.
“I enjoy working as a technology instructional coach helping the district offer better educational experiences to our students and preparing them for the jobs of the future,” she said. “Our stock sells online even while I’m sleeping. I enjoy working my day job and serving the public good in education.
Summer hours for the new business are 2-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.