Board game cafe in Hudson closes for good due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Malted Meeple also offered mega milkshakes, craft beer

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
The owners of The Malted Meeple at 53 Milford Drive in Hudson recently announced the business has closed for good.

HUDSON — A board game cafe which offered milkshakes and craft beer closed up shop earlier this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The co-owner of The Malted Meeple, 53 Milford Drive, announced Jan. 11 that the business was shutting down after the challenges brought on by COVID-19 proved too difficult to overcome.

"Although it pains me to say it, I am announcing …that The Malted Meeple will not be reopening," wrote co-owner and operator Jim Reed in a blog post on the company's website. "We are currently pursuing a variety of options for the future of the Meeple, from simple liquidation to the sale of the business to someone with the time, energy and passion to re-energize it once life resumes some semblance of normalcy."

Reed and his wife, Pam, owned and operated The Malted Meeple for nearly six years.

The Malted Meeple temporarily ceased operations in mid-November 2020 after the state of Ohio issued additional coronavirus-related gathering restrictions and announced a 10 p.m. curfew.

Reed said the business in early 2020 was in a solid position before the pandemic forced shutdowns. Renovations at its new building on Milford Road were finished, the newest business line was up and running, and operations were running ahead of financial projections.

"The Meeple was right where we wanted it to be," stated Reed in his post. "…Then came the coronavirus."

He noted the business' fifth anniversary last year coincided with the start of a two-month temporary shutdown because of COVID-19. Although The Malted Meeple reopened in May, operations "never came close to pre-pandemic levels," said Reed. The business operated at less than 25% capacity in the spring and summer.

Reed emphasized he did not blame the government's rules and restrictions for the low level of customer traffic.

"During this period we rarely filled even our reduced socially distanced capacity," said Reed. "The simple truth is that many people were – and still are – uncomfortable venturing out during a pandemic."

Noting the Meeple was set up as a destination to encourage social interaction, Reed acknowledged the pandemic "may have hit us harder than many."

Reed said he and Pam appreciate every guest, business partner and team member who contributed to the cafe's success during the past several years.

"We wish you all the best, and hope to see you again soon," said Reed.

The Malted Meeple first opened at 5100 Darrow Road in Hudson in 2015, but moved to the larger and more centrally located site on Milford Drive a few years later.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.