Robert and Christine Prohl left their previous occupations and opened Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy in December 2016 to build a community surrounding games and fantasy.

“I've always been into this kind of culture—comics, gaming, pop culture and things like that. It was just something I really loved. I've been a lifelong 'Star Wars' nerd and a lifelong game player,” Robert Prohl said.

The backstory

Robert Prohl said growing up he was an avid comic book reader and board game player, and regularly played Dungeons & Dragons. During his time in college, he met some friends who introduced him to German board games.

“I had never seen anything like it in my life, and I was hooked,” he said.

After being gifted several game store gift cards for graduation, Robert Prohl said he began to build his own gamer collection.

After years of working in IT, he decided to open a business surrounding his interest in gaming, comics and fantasy.

Although his wife, Christine Prohl, did not initially join the business, she came on as co-owner in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.

After working as a massage therapist for 30 years, she decided to retire and join her husband at Dragon's Lair. By 2021, the business was doing so well, the couple decided it was time to expand.

Rather than opening a second location, the couple said they decided to move the comic store to a larger space located in the same shopping center.

Staying local

With help from the community, Dragon's Lair held its grand opening at its new location in February 2022.

“We had 30 customers show up to help us move,” Robert Prohl said.

Dragon's Lair customers contributed to the relocation by helping out during the move and construction of the new location.

“Most of the artwork you see around the store, including the giant mural that runs along the back, were all done by customers,” he said.

In case you missed it

Dragon's Lair’s expansion includes a spacious retail space, four game rooms and a tavern, Robert Prohl said.

The tavern offers draft beer, wine, coffee, burgers, pizza and chicken strips, among other menu items.

The retail store specializes in comics, gaming and collectibles. With 1,000-1,500 board games stocked at a time, Robert Prohl said the store offers unique board games not found in larger retail stores.

Along with cooperative, competitive and solo games, some games Robert and Christine Prohl highlighted include Twilight Imperium, Thunder Road and Mad Max.

“So some of these are really complicated. Some of them are really simple. And everything in between,” Robert Prohl said. “We're trying to get people around the table, playing together and having a good time, and that's what's so important about the community aspect.”

To maintain the community aspect of the business, Dragon's Lair holds special events such as trivia and offers Wednesday game nights. Wednesday night games include Dungeons & Dragons and other board games.

Along with its play room section, Dragon's Lair offers four private game rooms created by local community members and customers.

The Wizard, Sauron and Friends, "Star Wars," and Dungeons & Dragons themed rooms are priced at $20 for the first two hours and $5 for each additional hour.

“It's a very welcoming community, and a lot of the people that come here are kind of the misfit toys,” Robert Prohl said. “You know, they're the nerds. They've been ostracized their whole life, they're looking for a place to call home. Some place they can feel safe, they can feel welcomed, they can feel included. And that's the No. 1 most gratifying thing about owning a place like this.”