I’m Efrem R. Jasso, and I am Geek Foundry. I started Geek Foundry during a period of heavy reflection on what I wanted to do with the remaining years of my life. Having just been laid off from a non-profit I decided that I would finally pursue my dream of starting up a company where I could be in charge and run the day-to-day operations, I would be my own boss, and I could chase the American Dream and make it come to life.
Having been a gamer for the past 36 years I’ve watched the industry explode into a really excellent market place for unique ideas and game-related creations. Table top gaming has evolved into a gamer’s fantasy come true with the production of detailed buildings, terrain pieces, and ever-evolving miniatures. With the advent of 3D printing, the realm of possibilities is virtually limitless. Game Masters can turn their fantasy worlds into table top realities with the products on the market today.
Several years ago I organized and ran an after school game club that was sponsored by the Madison Public Library along with the support of one of Wisconsin’s major utility providers. Kids were pleading with the librarians to give them something to do on Monday afternoons until their parents came home or could pick them up. They were getting recruited and/or harassed by gangs on their walks home after school. My name made its way to the head of the youth services program at a local branch and I answered the call. I reached out to a Wisconsin game manufacturer who helped by donating a boatload of games for the club and I watched kids become leaders, teachers, generals, and explorers. I watched math and reading skills explode. I watched aggression turn to cooperation and collaboration. The changes that happened to the kids who participated during those two years was magical.
As a continuation of that experience, part of my goal now is to contribute to the world and gaming community, specifically, by helping bring games to life through the creation and offering of unique scenery bits, terrain bits, and various other gaming accessories. Some may be offered only as long as they’re in stock, others may be re-stocked depending on their popularity. It all depends on what strikes my fancy and where I see gaps in table top gaming. Either way, quality is a characteristic that plays a large role in the products that I pursue, and when and where possible, I try to source my materials from my own hometown and state, Madison, Wisconsin.
You may ask, “What about the other stuff you sell? That can be had just about anywhere. And a lot of that certainly isn’t made in Wisconsin.” That’s true. Geek Foundry does have a limited selection of retail gaming merchandise in store. The items stocked here are things that I think look interesting, are “must have” items, or things that really deserve a closer look. One important thing that I wanted to make sure of with respect to those retail items was making available the core elements of the game that got me hooked 36 years ago: Dungeons & Dragons. I promised myself that if I ever setup a store online or off, some way or another I would carry that game.
I like to think of this little store as a doorway to adventure for the right people who step through it and pick up a copy of the Player’s Handbook or the Dungeon Master’s Guide (or any of the other gaming materials!)–and each time one flies on its way to make some individual happy, it will put a little smile on my face that I’ve helped to pass the torch to another player or a new generation of players who (hopefully) will have a lifetime of adventure ahead of them.
Efrem R. Jasso, Owner Geek Foundry, LLC
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the following people for jumping in and helping make Geek Foundry happen. Whether it was encouragement, moral support, or money, I cannot express in words how truly appreciative I am for their help. Thank you all:
- My loving wife, Jennifer Smith, whom I flew across the world and climbed a mountain for. Thank you for putting up with my ever changing moods.
- My dear friend Mathieux Schneider, his husband, Jesse Schneider, and the memory of Mathieux’s father, Thomas, who was also a dear friend and old gaming buddy
- Lisa MC Lovie Loniello and David Bohl, may you two always rock on!
- My sage father-in-law, whose advice I try to adhere to…most of the time. 🙂 Robert Smith
- Fellow gamer geek and aspiring entrepreneur, Shawn McNulty. Go after that dream, Shawn!
- My grandfather, George Butler Pratt, for fostering my love of gadgets and technology.
- My mother and father, for taking me by train in the dead of winter to that little campus book store in Ann Arbor to get the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set box. It’s still displayed proudly on my game shelf.
- To my old classmate Mark, whose last name has been lost to time, for introducing me to D&D. I died swiftly and in textbook fashion, but it was the coolest thing that ever happened to me in a “game,” and thanks to you I got hooked.
There are also people who gave support but wished to remain anonymous. Thank you all so very much for being a part of this adventure! -Efrem
Minority Business Owner ● LBGTQ Friendly Business