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Photo by Sara Hacking Michael Rajdl waits on Daniel Damlo, a regular customer at The Game Shop. Rajdl's sister, Aprielle, helps out at the shop.

Mom-and-pop Game Shop opens in Wadena

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Local gamers have a new place to buy and trade for their favorite video games right in downtown Wadena. The Game Shop opened May 1 and occupies a small store south of the Cozy Theatre on Jefferson Street.

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Michael Rajdl owns the shop with his wife, Carol. The couple also has a "little gamer" named Ginger, 9, he said.

Rajdl has played video games for two decades and just loves them, he said.

Teenage boys are the majority of the store's clientele, but little kids and moms and dads are into video games now, too, Rajdl said.

"These days, it's everybody," he said.

Daniel Damlo and Nicholas Polman are regular customers and stopped in the afternoon before they graduated from Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

"I love the variety of games they have," Polman said. "It's a lot of fun to be here."

Rajdl sells new and used games. Some are classic games going all the way back to regular Nintendo with "Super Mario Brothers" and "Duck Hunt."

The "Call of Duty" games are the most popular at the store, Rajdl said.

In addition to video games, the store sells accessories, controllers, cords, cables, game systems and hosts video game contests. Rajdl also owns Small Mart Bargain Store in Park Rapids, where his merchandise includes video games.

Rajdl recently moved to Sebeka and heard good things about the Wadena Flea Market. People told him that would be a good place to get a booth, he said, but then he saw the little store downtown. He loves the charm of downtown Wadena so he decided to set up shop and see how it goes.

Rajdl's sister, Aprielle Rajdl, is helping him get started at the store.

"I think it's a great location because the movie theater is right there," she said. "It's perfect clientele."

Both Rajdl and his sister live in Sebeka, although she also lives in Florida. Rajdl spent about 10 years in Florida before returning to his home state of Minnesota.

He had a little shop in Florida and a flea market booth, he said. He bases his business style on the wheeling and dealing of Florida flea markets.

"It's definitely mom and pop," he said. "It's designed to give the customer a good bargain every time. It's all about personal service, working directly with the owner instead of employees."

Swapping and trading are a big part of it, he said.

Aprielle can't help bragging about her brother, she said. He's really fair when it comes to trade value and gives people more than what they would get from a larger competitor.

"The effort he puts in to make his customers happy is really great," she said.

Rajdl said he wants the store to be gamer friendly.

"We want people of all ages to feel welcome," he said.

The Game Shop can be reached at (218) 632-5660.

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