September 23, 2020

By BEN STODDARD

Just By Chance Games is more than just a store that sells stuff, it is also a great hangout spot.
Justin Loomes opened the store just over a year ago with his sister, Alicia Loomes, and his fiance, Larissa Loomes (who is now his wife.) The business is located at 465 Philip St. in Waterloo.
The store is cleanly organized and spacious. There is a section for trading card games such as Magic: The Gathering, a section for board games, a section for RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons, a small rack with assorted comics and a section full of tables and opened board games for customers to play.
“Everything in this store is a hobby of mine,” Justin said.
The store runs seven tournaments a week. On Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, they have Magic: The Gathering tournaments. On Tuesdays they have organized Warhammer games, on Wednesdays they play Dungeons and Dragons, and on Saturdays they host special events. On Sunday, they have both Yu Gi Oh tournaments and a board games night. Monday evenings are particularly busy – it’s not unusual for 30 or 40 people to be in the store at once.
“Mostly what we do here is sit around and try out new games,” Justin said as two Asian customers were teaching him how to play Mahjong (Mahjong solitaire is what you play on the computer). Some of these guys are here even more than I am.” He said most of their core are local university students.
Larissa is just as into the hobbys available in the store.
“Justin’s more into Magic, I’m more into RPGs,” Larissa said.
The Loomes siblings have lived all around Canada.
“I grew up in a combination of Newfoundland and B.C.,” Justin said.
Before starting the store, Justin travelled around the country, visiting as many similar stores as possible.
“It’s a great way to gather the best ideas and decide what kind of store I wanted to run,” he said. “I was thinking of a video game store or a comic store at first, but there’s already a lot of competition in that area.”
Justin studied for a dual major in chemistry and physics at Memorial University in Newfoundland, and Larissa holds an English degree from the same university.
“I took lots of different courses; I like learning about science and math,” Justin said. He eventually decided that he’d rather run a game store. After he dropped out, Justin moved to Yellowknife where he worked over 100 hours a week as a security guard at an airport, saving up money to start a business.
Justin said that video games have a high turnover; they drop in price faster than anything else, while board games and RPGs are more stable.
“I eventually decided to open this store in Waterloo because there isn’t much competition and there are lots of university students. Also, I like this city.”
The store is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. To learn more or find their detailed tournament schedule, call 519-804-0468 or visit www.justbychancegames.ca.