Owners of Cloquet's new game store aim to create space for all

Game Play Stay owners Sara and Gabrielle Kenwood want their store to be a place where people of all ages can find new games to enjoy.

Two people play a game
Sara Kenwood, co-owner of Game Play Stay, left, plays Pokemon with a student during an event at the Cloquet Public Library in March.
Contributed / Game Play Stay

CLOQUET — Sara Kenwood said she's always been a nerd.

She was in chess club in high school and loves the strategy of the game.

Chess isn't the only game the Cloquet resident enjoys. She and her wife, Gabrielle Kenwood, have more than 40 games at their home.

Two women sit on a fireplace
From left, Game Play Stay owners Gabrielle and Sara Kenwood pose for a photo by the fireplace at Gordy's Warming House in Cloquet on Friday, March 31, 2023. They are currently selling products online and plan to open a Cloquet storefront soon.
Jen Zettel-Vandenhouten / Cloquet Pine Journal

Sara's love of games led her to create a business that would not only sell games to community members, but also give them a place where they could learn how to play new games or simply meet up with friends to play.

"I wanted to make a business where kids and teens and adults can get together and play games and have something to do," Sara said. "I thought of making a game store and then being able to host the community so people can meet others and have good, positive influences."


That's how Game Play Stay was born. Sara registered the business in November, and the couple launched a website and Facebook page earlier this year with help from their friend, Cory Petersen.

The business will be age-inclusive, something Sara said is not universal among game stores.

"A lot of game stores are focused on young adults, 17- to 30-year-olds, so I really wanted to make a place for all age groups," she said.
The Kenwoods are slowly building their inventory. Customers can find Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, board games and protective cases and storage for trading cards at

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They recently leased a storefront at 305 Broadway St. in Cloquet, but Sara said it's going to be a few months before it will be open to the public. They have some renovation work to do in the 1,200-square-foot space. She plans to eventually host tournaments there.

"We’re hoping to have room for a couple game rooms. If they want, people could rent out a table and play with their friends, something for an hour, or a half an hour," Gabrielle said.

They also plan to carry locally-made games, including yard games like ladder ball, Sara said.

Game Play Stay hosted an event in March for local homeschooled children at the Cloquet Public Library, and they reached out to community members seeking input on offerings they would like to see from the business.

They plan to add Dungeons and Dragon and Magic the Gathering, as well as more board games and trading card games.


Their long-term goal is to run the store full-time. Sara currently works at Sappi Fine Paper. Gabrielle is medically retired from the U.S. Army and will graduate in the spring with a degree in health informatics and information management from the College of St. Scholastica.

Children line up to get game packs during an event
Children line up to get Pokemon Trading Card packs from Game Play Stay co-owner Sara Kenwood during a March event at the Cloquet Public Library.
Contributed / Game Play Stay

The Kenwoods are active in the community; Gabrielle is a member of the Cloquet Combined Honor Guard, volunteering at funerals for veterans in her spare time, while Sara serves as commander of the Carlton County Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary. They're bringing that focus on community to the business, Sara said.

"I wanted to be able to help build our community and help everyone be inclusive," she said. "Most everyone's teenage years suck no matter where you’re from, but (I want to) help people find their passion, what they like — give them something to look forward to."

Stay in the loop

Visit or Game Play Stay on Facebook for updates on the storefront's opening.

Jen Zettel-Vandenhouten is the regional editor for Duluth Media Group, overseeing the Cloquet Pine Journal and the Superior Telegram.
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