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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2017:10:02 02:43:35

STAFF PHOTO/C.J. MARSHALL Shawn Brown and Shonna Boyd stand next to an arcade game console, one of the featured attractions of their store, S&S Outpost. The store buys and sells video games, comic books, as well as gaming systems and other forms of fantasy entertainment.

Although the store front is small, S&S Outpost in Tunkhannock offers a lot of big dreams and ideas.

Located at 120 Bridge Street across from the post office, S&S Outpost is owned and operated by Shonna Boyd and Shawn Brown, and features a variety of fantasy entertainment - primarily buying and selling video games and comic books.

“We opened at the beginning of September,” explained Boyd.

On the shelves are video games for Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo 4. Marvel and DC comics are displayed in bags on the walls. The store also sells gaming systems, and provides a limited repair service.

But it’s a little misleading to think of S&S Outpost strictly as a business. Patrons are encouraged to socialize and have a good time while using the facilities.

“We did it to give the kids an outlet, a place to go,” explained Brown. “It’s a someplace safe to go where mothers can drop their kids off.”

Brown hails from Raleigh, N.C., but has lived in Tunkhannock for the last 10 years, working as a registered nurse at Tyler Memorial Hospital.

Originally from Columbia River Gorge, Wash., Boyd moved to Tunkhannock when she was 18, and works as a certified nursing assistant at the Gardens. They decided to set up S&S Outpost as a sideline, providing entertainment for all ages, but particularly as a safe haven for children.

“No drugs or alcohol is allowed,” Brown said. “If you talk about it here, it will get you banned.”

For an older gamer, one can’t help but get a feeling of nostalgia when seeing such arcade classics as Ms. Packman, Galaga, Afterburner, Centipede, and Frogger on the premises. The first two games are in a full-sized console that require just the touch of a button to start - the rest require a quarter to play.

“You go to most arcades now and you have to pay $1 to play. But here, we like to keep it a quarter,” Brown said.

People can also play the individual games offered for sale on video systems set up in the store. Cost is a $10 a month membership, and patrons can play alone or compete against each other.

“We were going to go to Wilkes-Barre to set up with a partner. But we decided to stay right here because the kids in Tunkhannock need something like this,” Brown explained.

The establishment provides an outlet for children who are experiencing problems in school such as bullying. Sometimes the kids will work it out among themselves, Brown said, or sometimes he attempts to offer a solution to the problem.

Brown is also a big advocate of promoting reading among children. As an encouragement, he will often loan a comic book to a young patron, with the idea that he or she must return it the next day and discuss the story with him. The store then gives a 10 percent discount on a video game to their parents.

“It’s my push to get kids to read a little bit more,” he said.

The store also recently held its first session of ‘Magic - the Gathering,’ a popular fantasy card game.

“We have enough room for 12 players,” Boyd explained. “It’s for casual play, for people who like to compete against each other.”

One store patron is Patrick Robinson of Tunkhannock. What initially attracted him was the Galaga arcade game, which he plays on a regular basis.

“I had the national record in the 1980s,” he said, estimating his score was about six million.

Robinson recently attained a score of two million at S&S Outpost, and hopes to eventually re-capture the national record.

The store also has a program where people can nominate a family in need. S&S Outpost will pick one of the nominees around Christmas to be the recipient of clothing, a gaming system, as well a couple of video games.

Boyd said that anyone wishing to nominate a family by do so by contacting S&S Outpost at 120 Bridge St., Suite 3, Tunkhannock, PA 18657, or calling 570-996-6188. Store hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Brown and Boyd are please with the reception they’re received from patrons so far, and are also very optimistic about the future of their operation.

“Depending on how well we do, if we expand, we may have to look into bigger quarters,” Brown said.