Company that almost left state plans Vista expansion

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 18, 2020

ESCONDIDO — When Greg Spence talks board games, he isn't referring to your Yahtzee's or Scrabbles.

The board games he's passionate about can take hours to play - think Settlers of Catan, Spirit Island, or Sagrada.

“There are so many games out there that get deep into different genres and strategies and tactics that are so much fun,” he said. “You can get lost in the variety of board games.”

The problem Spence discovered with in-depth games, however, is they have dozens of pieces and can even take half-an-hour to set up.

That's why in 2013, he launched the company called The Broken Token - which helps gamers organize pieces. Their products include levels of wooden trays, often marked for different kinds of game pieces.

The Broken Token did so well that Spence quit his day job and opened a manufacturing space in Escondido. He's now selling internationally.

But last year, he almost left California for Missouri or Indiana, states that would offer more distribution flexibility and are closer to conventions. The states are also lower cost than California, which has some of the highest taxes in the nation.

“We didn't want to leave, but we were trying to make the best decision for the company,” Spence said.

But instead, he got in touch with the group Innovate 78, a collection of city economic officials that pointed him in the direction of a California Competes tax credit. The $150,000 credit will allow The Broken Token to move into a new facility in Vista. In exchange, the company will invest $350,000 locally and hire 14 additional people through 2023.

“There are places out there like us that need good staff and good talent,” Spence said,

He added the pandemic hit them in terms of manufacturing and supply. But, they're catching up - with social distancing in place.