When a series of unexpected events led Josh Taylor to start selling his childhood games and toys at the Milton Flea Market eight years ago, he wasn't sure what to expect. He'd battled medical issues that had interfered with his schooling, and he needed a little extra income.
When his items started selling, Taylor decided to buy other sellers' games and systems and sell them. He quickly paid off his educational expenses and started making a serious profit.
"It took off from there," Taylor said. "There were weekends where I'd make $600 to $700, and it was more than I made delivering pizzas for Papa Johns at the time."
For four years, the odds were favorable, so Taylor took another gamble. He opened his own brick-and-mortar store for 2nd Chance Games in Milton. A year later, he settled into his second storefront in Milton Plaza, where he's been for the last three years.
"We started as a video game store, and over the years we've branched out from that to accommodate other types of gaming, like Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer and other tabletop games like Magic: the Gathering," Taylor said. "Video games are still a huge part for us, but only about a fourth of our sales are games now."
With the expanded variety came a need for more space. Last June, Taylor doubled his store's size from 2,000 square feet to 4,000.
Now, there are weekly gatherings for different types of games that accommodate all customers from Pokemon trading cards to various formats of Magic: The Gathering.
On Mondays at 6 p.m., there are Pokemon trading cards. Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. are for Magic: The Gathering standard format, which Taylor recommends for beginners. Wednesdays at 7 p.m. is for Magic: The Gathering Commander. Thursday is open board game night that's free to the public. Friday is for Friday Night Magic: The Gathering that combines older and newer cards. Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. are for Dungeons & Dragons.
It's an environment that the region needed, Taylor said, and he's made the activities as inclusive as possible.
"Magic: The Gathering is all inclusive, and you get all types of customers," Taylor said. "For some handicapped customers, sometimes it's the only activity they can do. [With Magic: The Gathering], you're sitting at the table, using your imagination."
For Taylor, it's vital that 2nd Chance Games is open for all, especially mentally and physically impaired individuals.
"We've been able to provide a place and community where they can come and feel like part of the group," Taylor said. "[It's] people like that, who say, 'This place makes a difference; it's my place,' and they're there three to four days a week. They make it easier to keep doing it."
By maintaining customers he's had over the last eight years, he's inevitably formed friendships with buyers.
"[The community] has been the best and most rewarding part of this," Taylor said. "We get a variety of customers from Barboursville to Teays Valley and Milton, and I've seen kids I knew from the [Milton Flea Market] go from ages 13 and 14 to 21 and 22."
Prior to opening his store, the closest game-oriented stores were in Huntington and Charleston, which were each 20 to 40 minutes away. It was his goal to create a space that would foster longtime friendships and bonds.
And thankfully, he did.
In the process, Taylor met his future wife, Megan, through a weekly gaming event.
"She would come in and play Pokmon," Taylor said. "Then we became friends and started dating."
In addition to the scheduled weekly gatherings, 2nd Chance Games also hosts special pre-releases at midnight for certain game debuts.
If a customer needs to touch up a miniature figurine or model, the store provides paint and supplies at no cost so they can socialize and get out of their house.
"Some customers just stop in after work just to talk for 15 to 20 minutes," Taylor said. "It's no pressure to buy something. It's become a local hangout for the community."
2nd Chance Games is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.