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"Bet on Yourself"

Like many other college students, Joe Hurt had a part-time job. Starting at Gorilla Games in Minot, Joe began to learn the business side of one of his long-time passions, MAGIC: The Gathering. Joe was given the freedom to explore and develop his knowledge of business management including event logistics, customer relations, and the fundamentals of supply and demand. Joe eventually made the decision to branch out on his own to focus on the online sales and trading of MAGIC Cards.

With the help of an up-and-coming App and a loyal clientele, Joe found his calling in the online niche market of trading cards. Chaos Games was born.  A successful cycle of buy, resell, and reinvest, led to Joe leasing the original store-front. Armed with a few metal folding chairs, and a handful of plastic card tables, a brick-and-mortar, barebones business found resiliency. It was in this barebones space, that Joe survived a global pandemic, staffing and in-person events limitations, and the day-to-day purchasing needs of a start-up business.


"At the time, it seemed like such an astronomical number. We paid like four grand to invest in board games, and more accessories and some shelves to put them on. And I was just like, oh my god, this is crazy. Why are we doing this? And you know, now we get bills that are $20-30,000 and we just pay them off and go about our business.”

Making the choice to not take a paycheck and reinvest in the business was often a financially and personally crippling decision. Joe will be the first one to tell you that if it was not for the unwavering support of his wife, Deidra and her successful business, Imagination DayCare, that Chaos Games would not have survived its first two years in business. When the time came to transition from a rented space to purchasing his own location, Joe had two years of active business and banking local with Town and Country Credit Union under his belt. This is not often the case for many start-ups looking to expand into their own space.  He firmly believes if it was not for his relationship with his local lenders and their knowledge of Souris Basin’s Business Financing Programs, the Small Business Development Center, and local grants that the beautiful, new Main Street location would not be possible. Again, another pivotal choice, that led to the long-term success and sustainability of Chaos Games.

"Anyone and everyone involved in this process made it as easy as possible. I was just told, hey, you need to write a check for this. And if I asked, Oh, what is that for? Someone explained it."

Located in the heart of downtown Minot, Joe and Deidra rehabbed an old building in need of a dramatic facelift, added modern amenities, and kept true to the original architecture including a coffered ceiling and breathtaking archway. Working with another local business, Signs Today, Joe and his family created a beautifully branded, accessible space for people of all ages to come together, connect, play games, and find a little magic. The space includes ample shelving for MAGIC and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, Legos and board games, and other novelty products, fridges filled with ice cream, sodas, and snacks, an event space with wall-to-wall tables for live games galore, with a private space located in the building’s basement for birthday parties and more. Joe’s best advice for other entrepreneurs and start-ups is to focus on your relationships, bank local, bet on yourself, and know that there will be both pitfalls and butterfly moments along the way!

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