N’Oasis opens with arcade, comics, games

Photo by Michael Kelly Joe and Amanda Carpenter stand in the midst of a group of vintage arcade games set up in their new business, The N’Oasis, at 211 Scammel St. The couple and Amanda’s brother, Ron Miller, decided to start the business after a year of experience running a booth at Rinky Dink Flea Market buying and selling vintage toys and comic books.

MARIETTA — When Joe Carpenter concluded his service with the Marine Corps, he returned to Marietta, started college and began looking around for ways to make some cash.

What he found was buying and selling vintage toys and comics. He and his wife, Amanda, and his brother-in-law, Ron Miller, set up a flea market booth at Rinky Dink Flea Market and ran it for about a year before deciding to go full retail.

On Saturday, the group held the grand opening for The N’ Oasis – short for Nerd Oasis – at 211 Scammel St.

The shop is a retro haven for arcade gamers, with about a dozen big old games, and an exchange for collectors of vintage toys, comics and table-top games.

“I’ve been going to comic-cons and shows,” Carpenter said. “I think gaming isn’t so much of a niche anymore; it’s become more integrated into the culture.”

He said he’s counting on a location near the college and interest from younger children around the city.

“They’ll bring in their parents, and they’ll come and play the arcades,” he said.

The interest in what the shop offers, he said, is multi-generational, with arcade games from decades ago, along with the toy, comic and game exchange.

“In my generation, there are a lot of collectors,” said Carpenter, who is 33.

The group’s business adviser was John Voorhies from the Small Business Development Center of Ohio University. It’s a free resource for people who are starting or thinking of starting a business, Voorhies said.

“I’d also recommend the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce and Marietta Main Street,” Voorhies told Carpenter while visiting. “And you’ve got a good location here.”

The store has been open for several days.

The arcade games, he said, are a central draw for the store, but they’re challenging to maintain.

“They’re old and difficult,” Carpenter said. “One of them, we lost the power unit just by the act of moving it. These things are really finicky.” Parts have to be ordered from specialty vendors, he said. To acquire them, he scoured conventions, garage sales and thrift stores.

He plans other events, including more appearances by costume characters and tournaments.

“We’re really specializing in anything related to pop culture,” Carpenter said. “People are always looking for something to remind them of their childhood.”

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N’Oasis

* Where: 211 Scammel St., Marietta

* Regular hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

* For information: 740-434-767 or 740-885-2040.

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