Brandon Toyzan, Midland’s Modern Explorers Guild

Brandon Toyzan, 39, is one of the owners of Modern Explorers Guild, located next door to LaLonde’s Market at the corner of Jefferson and Sugnet in Midland. His co-owners are Chad McConnell, Dru Sepulveda, and Travis Vajcner.

They provide weekly comic book services and a large catalogue of board games and play space to play tabletop games. They focus on analog games and have online sales through various platforms. Two employees work with the four owners.  

Toyzan is also a technical architect at Dow. He’s worked there for almost 15 years. He leads the mobility team. Toyzan said, “We put phones in the hands of everyone across the globe.”

Toyzan and his wife, Alisha, have been married for 15 years. They have a 6-year-old daughter, Freyja. They live in Midland.

Toyzan is a graduate of Hemlock High School. He earned two bachelor’s degrees at Saginaw Valley State University in Computer Science and Business Management.   

How long have you owned your business?

“Just about a year and a half.” 

What inspired you to own this business?

“It’s a passion project.  We think this is a business Midland needs and something that Midland can support. We’re passionate about analog games and just bringing the community together.” 

What makes Midland a great place to own a business?  

“One of the great things is the community is truly supportive of small businesses. There are a number of people willing to spend $5 more (locally) than buying it online. They’ll hop in the car to interact with someone.”  

What are some ways your business is active in the local community?

“What we try to focus our energy on is non-profits that are focused on kids. We truly believe in organizations that are kid-focused. If I can teach a kid a board game and get them to learn outside the box…We’ve supported the CAN Council and Shelterhouse.” 

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

“Very much into dabbling with computers and technology. That’s added to our online presence. I’m an active runner. Enjoy doing outdoor activities. Hanging out with the family, sitting around the table with a board game.” 

What are some local businesses you work with that help make your business a success?

“Steve LaLonde is our landlord. They’ve been awesome to us. I appreciate their support getting us going.”

Final thoughts to share with the community?

“Definitely appreciate the community support we’ve gotten so far. People who came out and checked out the store and have given us feedback. We want people to come to the store. We want people to think about how they can include board games in their weekly routine. I’m looking forward to getting board games out in the community to organizations and businesses. Having game nights in restaurants, as those types of things become possible.”

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