ELKINS - Some have termed it Nerdvana. Others, well they just don't understand. At Counter Culture Concepts in Elkins, geeks from Central West Virginia have a rally point, a place to talk Fanboy, play Magic: The Gathering, peruse the newest comic books, or just bang around on some old pinball machines.
Established in November 2010, owners Ben and Jackie Simmons opened the store to cater to the needs of a generation of young adults enthralled by comics, games, sports and anime. The shop also features a pool table and full arcade, along with areas for playing Dungeons and Dragons or other fantasy games.
"I wanted to create an atmosphere where everyone feels they belong," Simmons said. "It doesn't matter if you're an athlete or a mathlete. If you are fat, skinny, happy or depressed. We can all come together and share our love for escaping reality through a hobby, game or just chatting."
The shop brims with popular American culture. Star Wars to Batman, G.I. Joe to SpongeBob SquarePants, icons of today burst off the walls - literally. The walls of the store have been covered with murals painted by local artists Dominic Ortiz and Charlee Allen. The aura of the store charms even the most skeptical customer.
"It's a community," Simmons said. "It really amazes me how well we have been received. Our customers are more than that, they are friends. A weird sort of family of misanthropes, looking to each other for support, guidance and whatever it is that gets us through the day. Comics are an awesome way to escape reality. Who doesn't want to believe there is more out there than meets the eye or a superhero ready to swoop down and save us in a time of need?"
Counter Culture Concepts is located at 114 Third Street in Elkins. The shop is open Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. For more information call (304) 614-4701 or visit Counter Culture Concepts on Facebook.