Far back in the mists of history, before geekdom was cool, there lived a couple of geeks named Derrek and Tina. And they were not cool, except maybe to fellow geeks.
And as Derrek and Tina wandered across Wichita, they discovered that the things that geeks desired for themselves were spread out amongst various purveyors, making them harder to acquire than a magical, golden ring.
And they had a vision of a place where all things geeky co-existed together.
And that, more or less, is how The Burrow came to be. The store specializes in games, attire, collectibles and more – all inspired by the Star Wars, Star Trek and Hobbit movies, TV shows, anime and other cultural phenomena.
“We're both geeks,” said Derrek Burrows, who owns the store on Rock Road with his wife, Tina. “We decided that geeks and nerds should have a place to go.”
Derrek says this with a smile, an indication that “geek” if not nerd long ago stopped being a term of derision. Certainly his own credentials as one are impeccable. Burrows was a research scientist for 21 years. Tina is a former teacher who has home-schooled the couple’s three children. The two youngest, Westley and Kayley, help out at the store.
The couple started thinking about opening their own business in 1998, finally doing so three years ago in former office space that Burrows and a relative gutted.
Derrek said the store’s name isn't just a play on their own. As any good nerd would know, hobbits live in burrows and there is a house in the Harry Potter series known as The Burrow.
“The family all brainstormed,” Derrek said. “It had sort of a fun, sci-fi feel to it.”
After initially opening in about 1,000 square feet, the Burrows leased about the same amount next door. It’s now used three or four nights a week as a meeting place for groups such as board game enthusiasts and the “Whovians,” fans of the “Doctor Who” television show. The local “Whovians,” Burrows notes, were primarily responsible for getting the show aired on KPTS Channel 8. Burrows quickly clarifies that he’s talking about the original Doctor Who, not the remake.
“They’re classic,” he said.
In addition to “Doctor Who” (both the original and remake), anime and the aforementioned movies, The Burrow has merchandise inspired by superheroes, fantasy figures and the Steampunk movement.
“That covers a lot of the territory of geekdom,” Burrows said as he passed a Princess Bridge bobblehead and turned left at a stash of wands like those used by characters in the Harry Potter series.
Burrows said the store’s customers get along, even though “the definition of being a nerd is you're really in-depth on one topic. You’ll hear lively discussions about Star Trek versus Star Wars, or the new Doctor Who versus the old Doctor Who. That's the fun part of it.”
That and the chance to work with his family, he said.
Non-geeks are welcome, by the way. The Burrows say they will be happy to point them in the direction of a gift for that special geek in their life.
Now you know
Address: 180 S. Rock Road
Owner: Derrek and Tina Burrows