August 15, 2022

By Woodrow Kolomvos

(Photo: Dragon World Card Games & Collectibles)

Located in downtown Brampton, across from City Hall, Dragon World Card Games & Collectibles is the place for fans of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs), nerd and geek culture, card-collecting hobbyists, and just about anyone who wants to check out a welcoming local business where they can meet with fellow enthusiasts. Offering a wide variety of products from Dungeons and Dragons, Pokémon, Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh and more, there is something for everyone at Dragon World.

Sitting down with Colette Miller, Dragon World’s founder, I gained some insight into how Brampton’s own slice of geek culture came to be. The roots of Dragon World begin before its conception with Colette’s custom dice company, Little Dragon Crop, which was founded in 2018. Following the closing of her husband’s business, Hobby Studio, in 2019, Colette brought on Dan Connell, owner of Underworld Shop & Design, to open Dragon World. Sharing the space for their respective businesses, the influence of Dragon World started to expand.

Being based in Brampton, Colette told me how the city shaped Dragon World as a business, “We definitely sort of changed the way we were doing models, we do more deals than I think most stores do… I feel like Brampton is very much a place where people want to haggle, they wanna know that they’re getting the best price.”

Like for many other businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic was a difficult time for Dragon World. “We would bring sealed orders bought online to the end of people’s driveways”, Colette explained how the business adapted when quarantine hit Ontario, “We had a lot of people who were… scared to leave [their homes] and we would just do our best to accommodate them, and [Dragon World] just kept growing”. Hearing about the lengths Colette and her colleagues went to serve their customers during the difficult and uncertain times of quarantine, I got a better sense of how they developed a dedicated community in Brampton.

“We’ve always seen how we can accommodate people, like, how do we make it easier for them to play. We have stand-in [Dungeon Masters] who run free games on Mondays and Wednesdays, and all of our staff, even our volunteer staff, some of them just wanna come hang out with us”, Colette described the atmosphere of Dragon World. The space, larger than the business’ previous location, features tables and booths all around where patrons have places they can sit down together to participate in card games, board games, and sessions of TTRPGs alike. I easily understood how a location such as Dragon World facilitated a close relationship with its customers.

Colette told me about the loyalty of the business’ clientele during the pandemic, “I had a couple of my very dedicated customers that kept us afloat. We did a couple campaigns where we had pictographs of… how much we needed to survive… We were just making enough to pay the bills and keep going for the next month. But now we’ve rebounded”.

With this dedication, Dragon World felt connected to Brampton because of its customers. “The ones that come in and they’re here with us. We are always listening to what they want, so they’re shaping how the store changes. They will tell us what they want… and we start investigating what we can do, what can we bring in?”, Colette shared.

As we talked, the sounds of unwinding tape filled the air in the space as boxes of new stock were being organized by Dragon World’s team. “We’re a very diverse company. We’re retail, but we’re also a manufacturing, wholesale, and fulfillment company” I learned from Colette.

As for the future of Dragon World, she told me, “We’ve got a Kickstarter project coming up soon. My four year old is doing a dice Kickstarter on the theme of holidays… and we’re working on making little dice plushie bags.” She gestured to a section of the store and told me that soon it would all feature her custom dice bags.

When the interview concluded, I was left with a feeling of relief that one of my favourite businesses in Brampton was being taken care of by the wonderful community it had helped raise and nurture. As an avid TTRPG fan, I am happy to be able to share a local business that genuinely cares about the customers that serve to keep Brampton’s downtown thriving in our post-pandemic world.

If you would like to learn more about Dragon World Card Games & Collectibles, you can check out their website here. If you would like to visit Dragon World yourself, they are located at 22 Main Street South 2nd Floor, Brampton, ON.