Katherine Jantz and Kyle June pose in their new business space, Doodles and Dragons.
written by Dave Warner
In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a door on the east side of the Little Falls Antique Center and it’s a pretty cool place that now houses Doodles and Dragons. Kyle June and Katherine Jantz opened the store during the Garlic Festival.
Born in Wisconsin, June moved to Indiana at a young age and grew up there until she was 18 years old. She met Jantz online and moved with him to Maryland when she was 20. They then moved to his mother’s home in the Adirondacks. before heading to Utica for three years and eventually to Little Falls.
June said her father was big on the game scene. “He was playing the original Starcraft and Diablo when all this came out. I have memories of playing with the original Nintendo when I was 2, 3, and 4 years old.”
“I’ve played all my life in one form or another. It’s just part of who I am right now,” he said.
Jantz’s story was similar: he spent more gaming time with his family, playing Doom and Quake, as well as Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft.
The pair met on a Minecraft server and didn’t really care for each other at first. “He was well away in the game and he brought a couple of his animals over to my house to apologize and I was completely ungrateful for what he did,” she said.
He then started working for her in the game and then they started playing other games together. “Eventually one of us asked the other if we were dating and that’s when we decided to date.”
They moved to Little Falls about three years ago. “We were looking for houses in the city because my younger brother and my family were planning to move here because of the hospital and so much that is here,” Jantz said.
“We found a house in our price range that was amazing, so we bought it,” June said.
The couple had always had retail jobs of some kind, so starting their own business seemed natural. “We knew Meeples was going broke, so we knew this was the perfect time to open our store.”
June said that they researched the idea of the toy store for 2-3 years. “Her cousin is bipolar and also autistic, so she works through a program called RCIL (Resource Center for Independent Living) to help take care of him. He always liked the idea of having a toy store here, so it was just a combination of things that worked really well.”
“I love being in retail and talking to people, and she loves making art. I really want to create an area where people can come and play board games and just have fun for a few hours. I want this. I don’t have an age limit on who can come in here,” June said.
For those who are more die-hard gamers, they have dice and miniatures, as well as tutorials for making character sheets for various games.
They have two fridges with typical drinks and snacks if you get hungry. “We think when winter comes we’ll make some nice tea and stuff. We just want to offer new things,” he said.
Both place great emphasis on the community aspects of what such a space can bring to the city. “We’re not really looking for a for-profit business right now,” Jantz said.
The plans include the presence of a trading card and the organization of card tournaments.
They are closed Monday and Tuesday, open Wednesday and Thursday 2-8, Friday 2-10, Saturday 12-8 and Sunday 12-6.
Follow them on Facebook, email them at doodlesanddrago[email protected] or call 315-508-5001 for more information.