Gamers build friendships, sense of community at Atomic Hobby Shop in Cypress

Johnathan Lindsley (left) and Ben Allred, owners of Atomic Hobby Shop, are also dedicated members of the local gaming community.
Johnathan Lindsley (left) and Ben Allred, owners of Atomic Hobby Shop, are also dedicated members of the local gaming community.

Johnathan Lindsley (left) and Ben Allred, owners of Atomic Hobby Shop, are also dedicated members of the local gaming community.

Image description
A Warhammer 40K figure was built and painted by Johnathan Lindsley, who owns Atomic Hobby Shop in Cypress. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
An unpainted figure from the tabletop game Warhammer 40K is on display at Atomic Hobby Shop.
Image description
A group of customers browse trading cards for sale at Atomic Hobby Shop.
Image description
Merchandise at Atomic Hobby Shop includes board games, figurines and gaming accessories.
Image description
Johnathan Lindsley (right) and Ben Allred show off gaming accessories used in the tabletop game Warhammer 40K. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
A Warhammer 40K figure was built and painted by Johnathan Lindsley, who owns Atomic Hobby Shop in Cypress. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Before opening Atomic Hobby Shop, Johnathan Lindsley said he spent a lot of time traveling to different shops around the country, talking to store owners and compiling a list of things he would want to do if he ever got the chance to open his own store.

That opportunity would come in March 2018 when Lindsley, along with his friend and former military buddy Ben Allred, opened Atomic on Skinner Road in Cypress. Looking through his notes, Lindsley said one clear priority emerged: to be welcoming to everyone who walks in, regardless of who they are or what they like to play.

“A lot of times you’ll go into a hobby store, and the owner thinks he’s the king nerd,” Lindsley said. “A gamer is a gamer. We really want to build our community as strong as it can be.”

The merchandise and gaming community at Atomic spans a wide variety of games, but the largest communities center on the tabletop game Warhammer 40K and the card game Magic: The Gathering, Lindsley said. Prior to opening Atomic, Lindsley and Allred were both involved with the local Warhammer community. After purchasing the storefront, the process of renovating the space was accelerated with help from the community, Lindsley said.“We had people show up with boxes of tools and just start helping us take down walls,” he said. “These were people we had never met before who just wanted to support us in trying to provide a good gaming space.”

At the forefront of the Atomic’s existence, Lindsley and Allred said they faced a tight budget and would donate their own gaming merchandise to help stock the shelves. However, they would eventually becoming one of the fastest-growing Warhammer vendors in the U.S., Lindsley said.


Allred and Lindsley said the sense of brotherhood they developed while serving in the military helps inform how they interact with their customers. Allred said running Atomic has also given them the chance to provide mentorship, especially to some of the younger customers.

Neither owner draws a salary from running Atomic, and both have full-time jobs they attend to in addition to managing the hobby shop. The ability to bring people together has made it all worth it, Allred said.

“We’ve had people who met for the first time at our store who are now living with each other,” he said. “We’ve seen really strong friendships form right here. It’s awesome to know that we played a role in bringing those people together.”
By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.


MOST RECENT

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 2,001 cases, 8 deaths confirmed July 13

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county.

Cy-Fair, Spring and Klein ISDs are currently assessing existing gaps in student access to technology in preparation for the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston school districts assess digital divide amid virtual learning preparations for 2020-21 school year

Access to digitial devices and at-home internet will be critical as virtual learning becomes the new norm for many students in the upcoming school year.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact Newspaper' seeks feedback and more Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news here.

Harris County continues to report more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Cy-Fair area. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County reports 211 new COVID-19 cases in Cy-Fair on July 13

Follow the link to see our interactive chart breaking down COVID-19 case data by Cy-Fair ZIP code.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact' now seeking feedback from parents, teachers regarding 2020-21 school year

Help us adequately cover local education by submitting feedback here:

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo spoke about the county's continuing response to COVID-19 and a new small-business coronavirus relief program at a July 13 press conference. (Screenshot via Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)
Harris County now accepting applications for $30M small-business assistance program

Harris County businesses with fewer than 30 employees may apply for funding through July 24.

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: After three weeks of surging cases, death toll starts to rise

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12.

Members of the Cy-Fair Fire Department respond to a call in early July. (Courtesy Cy-Fair Fire Department)
As calls for service steadily rise, Cy-Fair department remains near full force amid pandemic

After a steep dropoff in calls during a recent shutdown, call levels have been slightly above average as of early July. However, department officials said staffing levels are currently not a concern.

Mex Taco House is bringing a second location to Cypress. (Courtesy Mex Taco House)
Second location of Mex Taco House coming soon to Skinner Road at Hwy. 290 in Cypress

The original location of the eatery opened on Telge Road in 2019.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.