MOSES LAKE — Kent Kirkwood went into business to have fun.
“That’s pretty much it,” said the 33-year-old veteran and father of five during a reasonably busy afternoon at his shop in downtown Moses Lake.
His shop is Angry Squirrelz, and it’s the kind of place that’s hard to define, with its focus on collectible card games, skateboards, and customized hats, T-shirts and decals. In addition to all his wares, he’s got a couple of couches for kids to crash on, some tables to play games, and a fridge full of snacks and drinks for sale.
Right now, the card game Kirkwood focuses on is “Magic: The Gathering”, which his brother and business partner Sky Merriman describes as more in-depth than J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
“Which is something,” Merriman said. “It’s a complex game that can be as simple as you’d like.”
Merriman said he has played the card game “semi-competitively,” and is currently trying to push himself to get better at the game.
As he speaks, three teenagers sit around a table, flinging cards down and rolling dice.
“I started coming here a week or two after they opened. It’s a nice place to hang out, get out of the house,” said Cirilo Serrano, who added he’s been playing Magic: The Gathering for more than two years.
But it isn’t just games. Kirkwood does customized T-shirt and baseball cap orders too. In fact, he recently did an order for a family-owned business that was looking for work shirts.
“It’s $15 for a custom shirt, $15 for customized hats,” he said.
And he’s looking at holding video game tournaments at some point as well.
In fact, Kirkwood said many of his business ideas come from customers who wonder if he’d be willing to do something or get something they can’t get here in Moses Lake.
“Everybody knows what it’s like to drive 100 miles to get something you can’t get here,” he said.
And that brings the kids in who have no place else to go, Kirkwood said.
“It’s a chill place to hang,” he said. “And anything that interferes with it being a chill place to hang, we try to fix that right away.”