Scattered Deck Games Jeff Kroft

Jeff Kroft, co-owner of Scattered Deck Games, took the next step in his gaming career, opening a shop for other gamers.

A gaming store opened in Stanwood, and a new winery and distillery business has sprouted up north of town. Meanwhile, local housing sales are heating up, even as more homes come on the market.

Scattered Deck Games

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift, there’s a new place in town to gather and play.

Jeff Kroft and Jessica Gilbert opened Scattered Deck Games in late April, with an assortment of board games, card games, tabletop miniatures and collectible toys. As soon as it’s allowed, they’ll have tournaments and game nights for families.

“What better time to open,” Gilbert said of opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everything is just going to go up. We’re trying to make a safe place for our community to meet and find new people to play with,” she said. “I want families to come in, take a game off the shelf, bring in a pizza and hang out.”

They have popular role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic, Star Wars and — as supplies allow — Pokemon. People can buy games and play them there, plus there’s some demo games to try. There are strategy games and party games. They have Hot Wheels and die-cast cars, Star Wars, Marvel and Game of Thrones miniatures with supplies and paints.

“I’ve been a long-time gamer and decided to take that next step, opening a store,” Kroft said.

Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are available to purchase.

The store owners request people wear masks for now.

“As our COVID restrictions are lifting, we will be publishing an event calendar, but for now our tables are open. Come on in and play.”

Scattered Deck Games, 8919 271st Street NW, Stanwood, is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 10a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Information: 360-572-2239,

Homes not on market for long

More houses are for sale these days, but they’re not lasting long even as prices march to new highs.

In April on Camano Island, there were 73 new listings — the most in about two years — but they were lasting an average of just five days on the market, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

In April in Stanwood, there were 48 new listings but they were lasting an average of 10 days on the market.

“The time between coming on the market and going off the market is the shortest I’ve seen in the last 40 years,” stated Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest and a Northwest MLS board member. “The housing bubble more than a dozen years ago didn’t look like this. There was inventory. There were choices for buyers. Now they comb the internet daily, hoping they’ll get the chance to compete with other battle-weary buyers for the one new listing that appears in their price range near where they really want to live.”

On Camano, 40 homes sold in April compared to 26 a year earlier. The median price shot up to a record $615,000, up from $404,000 a year earlier.

The number of houses sold in the Stanwood ZIP code remained higher than a year ago with 44 sold in April compared to 29 in April 2020. The median price of the Stanwood homes sold was $581,000 in April, up from $467,000 a year earlier.

Nearly every western Washington county had double-digit gains, averaging a 26.5% price increase from a year ago.

“As long as housing supply remains constrained and interest rates remain low, we could see these price trends continuing well into the summer,” said James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington. 

Young said he expects continued price increases along the I-5 corridor and noted peripheral areas are continuing to outperform as people seek value in a low interest rate environment.

Contact reporter Peggy Wendel at or 360-416-2189.

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