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Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

 OrlandotheTechnicoloured wrote:
Don't make promises unless you're going to keep them

so if Bob asks you to order something for him and you agree make sure Bob gets it, no selling it to Dave who comes in after the same thing before Bob gets a chance to pick it up, no putting it out on the shelves because it's easier than having it cluttering the stock room

(feel free to ban Bob and sell the item if he decides he doesn't want it after all)

and if you've actually taken the money for it in advance (really don't do it) then you really need to get the item in, even if your supplier lets you down and you need to go to the secondary market and loose money on the deal


Most retail stores I know of won't order things in unless you pay up front.
Some might if they know that the item can be resold with ease (ergo its regular stock you're just placing an order which is closer to reserving one from the next shipment); or if you're a very regular customer that they know - ergo consumer trust.

This is especially true of any high value items or niche items. The store can 100% refund the customer if they fail to order it or to get it in, but its far worse if the store takes orders and then customers never uphold their end of the deal. They might not pop in for months after placing an order, yet still expect it to be there when they come. Making them pay, even if its just an order deposit, gives them a vested interest in coming in and collecting.





Also don't overlook the use of media. There's a London store that recently opened up (I forget the name) who are doing games and food and such and they've started doing a lot of online promotion even doing things like customer spotlights of their armies etc.. Basically creating online buzz. Because in todays market many people will find you through online so if you've got a buzzing website with regular articles, regular news feeds, regular this and that then you look busy, active and engaging. If you've a website with a blog that hasn't been updated in 5 years you look dead - like something is wrong; like if you come to the store its going to have cobwebs in the corner and only 2 gruff neckbeards in the corner who only game one game between themselves.

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Made in gb
Council of 13 Runner Up






Is that the Bad Moon Café?

Keep meaning to drop in there one evening after work.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
They also do quite a few one day, small scale tournaments. They seem fairly popular for that alone.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Oh, and never, ever forget you're there to make money. You are not your customer's mate.

Once you know what your overheads are (Rent, Taxes etc), work out how much you need to bring in, and what sort of average transaction value might see you get that money in.

When I worked for GW (many years ago now, though it doesn't seem it), we had an ATV target. If met, we'd cruise to our monthly target. And when you look at it, it's fairly easy to achieve.

Say we had an average of 100 customers per month, and our monthly target was £5,000.00. That means, if we can get each transaction up to £50.00, we hit target.

Some are of course lower. Some are much higher. But it's the average you're after - not the median.

Upselling is a good way to achieve this. Stuff like glue, paints, brushes, dice, cards etc. All relatively inexpensive, all things a hobbyist will need at some point.

Let's consider the same 100 customers over the month. A pot of GW paint is now, erm (checks) £2.75. If I can get each of those customers to buy one paint pot each? That's an extra £275.00 in the kitty - and that's not a hard sell at all. Most people's armies will have a predominant colour. One which there is no such thing as a 'spare' pot of that colour.

If you sell them an extra pot of paint (£2.75) and a pot of plakky glue (£4.30, GW prices natch) that ups your store's income by £705.00. Again, those are very, very easy upsells.

Pot, Glue and a Medium Brush? £1,180.00 extra. And you're still not upselling in the eyes of your customer - because those are useful, if not outright necessary things in order to complete the wider hobby experience.

So keep the useful stuff by your till area. The brushes, glues and paints etc. And try to keep them in stock!

And give each customer an invite back to an event - even if it's just gaming. For one it's always nice to feel welcome. For two, it gives them a reason to revisit your store.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 12:36:55


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Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

Yep that's them - see I'm no where near London and yet I'm directly aware of them. In contrast most of the local hobby groups hardly have anything active online and I'm almost totally unaware of what they are up too.


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Made in gb
Council of 13 Runner Up






Oddly, I see the same thing with my local GW.

As part of my Loot Master General duties, I keep an eye on local (and not so local) GW FB pages. The store in my town is a bit lax compared to others!

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Fixture of Dakka




UK

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:

As part of my Loot Master General duties,


See that title now makes me think of you like the Wagon Master General out of Sharp (tv series). Also why the heck isn't it your undertitle in your profile! Forget the council of 13!




But yeah I agree on the upsale of accessories and such. I'd also say its good to know your market and customers as best you can, if you know Dave collects and paints pink Ultramarines you know to try and push more pink paint his way as that's the most likely colour to run out. The other trick is learning when not to upsell and when to back off. As a customer nothing is more annoying than a store owner getting pushy or trying to upsell really expensive things or stuff just way outside of your interest. Again if you know Dave likes ultramarines there's no point trying to spin upselling a Tyranid battalion pack to him.

One big bonus of hobby stores is that you can build up a solid customer base and hold a rapport with them. Get to know them, get to understand them and thus know how to fleece every penny out of their pockets without them realising.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 12:54:27


A Blog in Miniature - now featuring reviews of many new Black Library books (latest Novellas) 
   
Made in gb
Council of 13 Runner Up






Yup.

The paints/glues is a nice, straight forward question, especially for a new customer. 'You ok for paint and glue?'. Non-invasive, and can be quite conversational.

If they just grab a pot, leave it there. If they get a bit more engaged (as I do) and start speeching their brains 'oh, actually, yeah. Could do with X, Y and Z' etc? That can mark them out as possibly being more receptive to large upselling - on their next visit.

Another perfectly innocent question which can lead to upselling? Did you find everything you were after. Could be they want a second box of XYZ, but you only had one of the shelf. If they respond in the positive, leave it there. If they respond 'was hoping to get ABC as well' - check your knowledge of your stock, and say 'I think I've got one out the back if you want it'. If not 'I can order it in for you?' Put it as questions, not statements. Because they may be buying XYZ instead of ABC. By asking, you're putting the decision on them, and coming across as helpful and friendly, rather than pushy.

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Wicked Warp Spider





Going to have to agree with the Don't

Its not gloomly naysaying as even with a sizeable community you really can't fight the internet and a delusion of loyal customers is akin to burning money, sure they might buy the odd thing out of politeness but when the intertubes offers them an army at a few hundred moneys less guess what.


"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED." 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





I think I'll put my comments into this as I've run a successful shop for a few years in the past. I note I haven't OWNED a shop, just run several at both an area and local level with varying staff levels (up to 20 staff). It's mainly a luxury environment I've worked in, and not gaming - so I'll try and keep it more general.

This is a shop and business. Remember everything you do will have consequences. Giving away things for good customers is helpful sometimes or when something goes wrong but then they may come to expect it later on. Take "missing" money seriously especially if you have staff or volunteers. Remember your staff are there to do a job. You can be friends with them, but if they're not working, they're spending your money! There are soft things that need doing like customer service, chatting, getting information etc, but people can take advantage of this sometimes and just waste time. Consider banning mobiles from staff on the shop floor or not at break times. Give them books to read on the games you play, and if someone is really bored they can always make the shop spotless (I've even got on the floor and scraped chewing gum off the tiles with a knife because everything else was done and I was going insane with boredom in quiet periods).
Don't allow "friends" to become staff members just because they've inserted themselves into the shop, or volunteer and help out. Be clear about what both of you get out of it. If they want a job, interview them and make sure they're as good as the other candidates - if they're a good friend they'll understand. If you want to pay them for a help on an evening, that's cool, but don't make it free or a habit.

Record your breakages, thefts, losses.
Run quarterly stock checks to begin with and when you are happy with stock levels in your inventory and you're good with stock checking reduce it to semi-annual and then annual (after a year or two). If inventories are always skewed keep doing the stock checks until you figure out what's going wrong.
Always check your deliveries and count everything. You should expect perfection from your own suppliers!

Keep your shop clean. Vacuum and wipe most used surfaces every day (floor, counter tops, tables). Do a full clean every week (including the shelves with stock on them giving them a wipe/dust). If you serve food you will need proper hygiene systems (I never did food).

Get an incident book, so you can record if anyone is aggressive, there are thefts, warning people, suspicious people, stuff which is weird and can come back at you later maybe.
Get an accident book for Health and Safety purposes. Make sure you have first aid (and training if possible), a fire evacuation plan.
If you get cameras and security make sure they are checked for accuracy once a month (date/time/storage/they actually work).
Check your fire alarms, emergency lighting etc regularly depending on your local laws and recommendations (probably monthly). Record this check and status.
Ensure anything unsafe (spillages, sharp edges, broken floor files) are made safe, cleared up or clearly sign posted.
Make sure you have licenses for any music you play (if any).
Consider joining a local shop association or security scheme and get your hands on a radio (between the shops for shoplifters on highstreets) and speak to your local police. Invite them in for a coffee or chat if you see them patrolling the street.

Bundles, sell ups and add-ons...
- When Christmas and big releases are around do bundles. Check our what are common "starter kits" or groups of things someone might need and even if there isn't a discount people will get an idea and you will sell more. Use less profitable core sets of things to attract people in and then bundle in things that make more profit or have a larger margin that are helpful. Pointless bundles annoy people though, so be careful with those.
Try to put impulse buys (have to be cheap) on your till, but don't swamp it.
ATV is very good way of tracking your expected incomes (as said above so won't go into it further). This was vital.
On Stock - Stock sitting on your shelves is taking up space... it needs to be sold... but you need to show someone what you have got... and you can't sell what you don't have. It's a very careful balance! Someone said you need loads of stock... you probably need one of everything at least, but figure out what sells and what doesn't pretty quickly. Rotate your displays often (weekly for windows). Make sure stuff doesn't linger there - especially if it's sunny as nothing puts people off like a sun-faded box!
If you're doing discounts or free things as an actual sale... like buy $50 of Grotsnots get a free Fiznig... tell people if they're near it - don't forget as if they walk out and spot the sign they'll just sigh - if you appear to be helping them out they'll appreciate it.

As part of add-ons... food. I've been to gaming places and had to leave the shop to get food. I've also had to tidy my stuff up and then eventually got fed up and gone home. You want people to stay in your environment and lead them to more purchases. Even if it's just a bag of cheetoes for TFG or some canned drinks. Doesn't have to be fancy burgers and fruity tea. If you don't do food consider a tie in with a local cafe or take away, keep some leaflets and a table or two aside for eating so people don't have to leave.

Make sure you get your pricing right and the labels correct. You'll just have upset customers if you can't make a sale as you labelled something as £9 when it should be £99. Make sure you put 50% OFF and not of (I've seen that happen).

Money and Payments
- Get a safe for money and at least bank it weekly. This may need to be daily at busy periods (Christmas). Consider collections of cash if it's loads (can vary upon area).
- You can get cheaper card payment systems than those offered by the banks. Consider some of those that are just little devices that are app controlled for smaller stores.
- Prepare for till and technical failures. Consider a printed price book with pages you can swap in and out so you can double check. Also consider the old fashioned "zip-zap" machines or know where you local ATM is, but when people leave a shop they often don't come back with the cash unless they really, REALLY want it. I've seen an entire department store lose thousands in a day because the lackies at the till couldn't figure out how to take money without the tills working. I was the only stall there that took all the money that day as I was brave enough to use the old paper receipt system.

Customer Services
- Keep a little stash of freebies you can give away. We used to call this ammo. It was if someone wanted to buy an extra thing but they were umming and ah-ing about it. You'd just say "oh I'll throw in this t-shirt if you get that". You'll get a few cheeky people who'll say "oh you could give it to me anyway" but if they're nice enough it's not a major deal. You'll get free things from suppliers occasionally - some you're allowed to give away and others you're not (they'll normally tell you).
- get a proper email address and domain, even if it just points to gmail in the end. Info@flgs.com is better than info.flgs@gmail.com. Put an auto respond on it to say its received and your working hours and that they know they'll get a response within 24 hours (but not immediately at midnight).
- Honour your commitments, if you say you'll respond in 24 hours, respond in 24 hours - even if it's just to say there's no update and you'll get back to them in 2 days or whatever - sets expectations, lets people know you care and haven't forgotten and means YOU'RE in control of the communication, but the customer feels as though they're in control still (as they're informed).
- Always start early, never close early. A closed shop is a lost sale - they'll go elsewhere or never come to you again. Stick to your opening times. Consider later opening at least once a week (for the shop if not just for gaming too). I like to get some paints here or there after work - things have changed and the type of people who will come now work or at school/college. I often turn up to a shop at 5:55 and they post closing at 6:00 but they've already shut with no note on the door. I've not bothered going back after work again... so more lost sales. I would have expected it to be closed if I got there at 6:05, but as they shut early it just annoyed me.

Honesty. Customers don't like being lied to and they're not idiots. Don't give them excuses, give them answers and solutions. Loyalty is equal in value to new custom (in my opinion at least), but they can't replace each other - you always need to think of both. If you think you're getting a good deal out if it and your customer doesn't (even when they get home) they'll sour on it and not come again and even talk you down to their friends and family. If they don't recommend you, then that'll be a lost sale in the future!

Use "traditional" advertising sparingly. Good services gets free advertising. Keep blogs and websites up to date (ancient, out of date websites are probably worse than having them at all). Facebook and Google Reviews are more important these days as they're the platforms people search for you from.

If I can add something about cost - I don't mind paying a little more if I can get something there and now. What I do hate most about online is shipping prices. I know they are inevitible, but sometimes I don't want to spend £100 for free shipping. Sometimes I just want a book or a single paint pot - you've got remain competitive and I'd happily go to a GW shop for few paints, but I'd never go for a box set of something as I can save 20% elsewhere. I'd virtually never buy paint online unless it's part of a bigger order.
Charge for a table at the gaming place... even if it's just nominal (£5 for the use?). Waive the fee if they spend £10 on food or stuff.

The main rules of business in a saturated market I've heard have been you either need to do something BETTER, something DIFFERENT or something CHEAPER than your rivals. Cheaper is probably not possible in your area!

If you have any other questions or would like more about something specific (I can't help with the board games side - except as a gamer) let me know.

This message was edited 14 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 14:32:39


 
   
Made in us
Noble Knight of the Realm





Texas

Wow, @TarkinLarson, that is some great advice. While no business venture is foolproof, ensuring you CYA is a very smart thing to do, as is outlined above.

If you jump in, I wish you the best of luck!!

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Longtime Dakkanaut






If you can get the space run the major tournaments, the biggest most successful games store in my area holds the regionals for mtg, X-Wing and Pokemon.

He makes out like a bandit on these events just selling food and drink, in fact I’m pretty sure he covers a big chunk of his costs just on the fridge of drinks and the snack bar. He also sells hot drinks for the parents.

Your last point is especially laughable and comical, because not only the 7th ed Valkyrie shown dumber things (like being able to throw the troopers without parachutes out of its hatches, no harm done) - Irbis 
   
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Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

They say the best way to make a million dollars running a game store is to start with two million dollars.

That said, if serious definitely make sure that he understands how to run a business, which includes all the various tax laws, employment laws, insurance requirements, zoning requirements, etc. Even if you have a "great idea" for a particular feature of a game store, if you do not have great (and I do mean great) skills at accounting and know all of the above, you are going to fail.

If he hasn't written out a full business plan for at least the first two years of operation, then that needs to get done right away. Take a class on starting a small business through a community college or similar if available. Where's the funding coming from? Bank loan? Personal funds? Second mortgage on the house? How much is that funding? How long will that keep the business in operation? What's the expected income per month and when is break-even? What's the plan for moving non-turning stock?

Running a game store is much, much, much more than just "I have some table space and some Magic cards."
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

TarkinLarson wrote:
Keep blogs and websites up to date (ancient, out of date websites are probably worse than having them at all). Facebook and Google Reviews are more important these days as they're the platforms people search for you from.


I made a similar point above as well - if anything if you run a blog and then it falls to one side either formally end it and direct people to the new online media marketing or simply close the blog entirely. Far better not to have it up than to have online elements up there which look like you were once super busy and now super quiet. It just screams that if you can't spend 30 mins a week updating the blog then chances are things are falling apart. Customers and gamers want places which are on the up not on the down - no one jumps onto a sinking ship for a ride.

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Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





A game store owner I know said having a game store is a great way to make a small fortune.

The trick is, you need to start with a large fortune...

CHAOS! PANIC! DISORDER!
My job here is done. 
   
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut





Honestly.. hobby stores are not a profitable venture. Neither are comic stores.

Most fail. Those that don't fail are always due to having enough other stuff to sell and a loyal following and a lack of desire by the owners for more than just a lower middle class income.

AKA, a hobby store is often a.. hobby.. rather than a business.

There were OTHER eras and times when the economy supported hobby stores. There were train stores even.. oh the bits you could buy there for 40k.

But that all ended. Everything went internet.. then it started to thin out till only maybe one or two companies were left that made and sold certain low cycle options.

Point being, all hobby stores operate on the brink of failure. Locally, the two successful stores do several things.

1-the owners like owning the stores.. but judging by one of the stores also being into MLM marketing crap.. you can guess how "profitable" his store is. He markets his MLM health food in the "gaming" room that he has set aside for magic and wargamming. It's usually busy so it can't be that bad. BUt he mostly sells boxed games and comics.. wargamming is the smallest square footage.

The other store owner likes owning the store. He isn't rich, he isn't trying. He runs the hobby store because he likes running the hobby store. Its a "hobby". As long as he makes enough to pay his persona life bills and keep the doors open, he will.

I've watched a lot of love put into hobby stores and I've watched them ALL fail over the decades.. more stores that were the places I got my start as a young kid back in the 80s. All gone, all victims of economic shifts more than something wrong with gaming. Those shifts strained hobby sales and increased operating costs. So.. being so specialized they'd fold. I've watched good stores run properly, more than I can count on all my fingers and toes, fold up.

Just like there are no train stores anymore.. well there might be ONE or TWO every few US States.. but that's pushing it. Maybe one in a major metro that is a closet in the back of some strip mall on the bad side of town.

If you want to own a hobby store.. then first open a business that will make lots of money and then open a hobby store as a tax-deduction (LOSS). In fact, hobby stores are such a loss leader that it is surprising that the Multi-nationals all have not opened hobby stores as a means to launder money and gain tax-deductions.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 18:14:47


Consummate 8th Edition Hater.  
   
Made in gb
Council of 13 Runner Up






SeanDrake wrote:
If you can get the space run the major tournaments, the biggest most successful games store in my area holds the regionals for mtg, X-Wing and Pokemon.

He makes out like a bandit on these events just selling food and drink, in fact I’m pretty sure he covers a big chunk of his costs just on the fridge of drinks and the snack bar. He also sells hot drinks for the parents.


Could also be worth talking to local bakeries or similar, see if you can get wholesale on sandwiches or pastries etc for Tournament days.

Sure, one might not make your regular food markup, but better 50p profit in your kitty per sandwich, than all your players spend their lunch budget elsewhere. Plus, it never, ever hurts to build links with the rest of the small business community.

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Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

Caution about selling any non-prepackaged food (such as stuff from bakeries, etc.): depending on where you are, you may have to have a food handler's license and other permitting. Don't just do it without making sure you have covered any legal requirements.
   
Made in us
Committed Chaos Cult Marine






 Elbows wrote:
Sadly that's the reality. Without selling top CCG's (collectible card games) you won't make enough money to keep the store in business unless you somehow stole the property or have some extreme circumstances propping up your store.

Card games and weekly mini-tournaments are what put the money into the till.

Only other advice I'll give is that you must have a discount, however minor on anything tabletop wargaming related. No one is going to spend 15-20-30% more just to be nice to you because you run a store. Hell it can be a punch card with $5 for every $100 spent or something small...but there has to be the appearance of a discount.

Do all of your research ahead of time. Game stores close about as often as restaurants within the first 1-2 years (read: 80-90%).


This is not entirely true, my local store has made so much more money from 40K that they dropped magic all together because it wasn't pulling anything in. Might be a fluke, but I was shocked when I heard it from the owner.

With that said, try your best to pick a good neighborhood. ADVERTISE. Often and at local schools. DO NOT STOCK THINGS JUST TO HAVE THEM. I've seen so many stores buy up tons of stock (especially 40K) and then watch it sit and rot there. Do special orders for the big stuff.
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

 Togusa wrote:


This is not entirely true, my local store has made so much more money from 40K that they dropped magic all together because it wasn't pulling anything in. Might be a fluke, but I was shocked when I heard it from the owner.


That is kind of shocking! That store owner is clearly in an abnormal bubble compared to the rest must be a very good store with good community building coupled to being the only supplier in a large radius.
Almost every other store I'm aware of is slaved to the card games - if not just because the yare so easy to continually sell. The price of a single pack can easily be encouraged upon most customers when they walk in the door plus the way Wizard cycles the blocks means that every year you've got brand new current stock all the established gamers need to buy. Which means they buy whole block boxed sets and new one off packs. Basically you get new stock every year to resell to the same customers. Warhammer is far different and unless you can keep up continual recruitment of new gamers you'll eventually hit a saturation point where you've got many players but they've all got their armies where they mostly want.

I'm not disputing your stores facts, just noting that they are very abnormal in today's market and quite surprising.

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Committed Chaos Cult Marine






 Overread wrote:
 Togusa wrote:


This is not entirely true, my local store has made so much more money from 40K that they dropped magic all together because it wasn't pulling anything in. Might be a fluke, but I was shocked when I heard it from the owner.


That is kind of shocking! That store owner is clearly in an abnormal bubble compared to the rest must be a very good store with good community building coupled to being the only supplier in a large radius.
Almost every other store I'm aware of is slaved to the card games - if not just because the yare so easy to continually sell. The price of a single pack can easily be encouraged upon most customers when they walk in the door plus the way Wizard cycles the blocks means that every year you've got brand new current stock all the established gamers need to buy. Which means they buy whole block boxed sets and new one off packs. Basically you get new stock every year to resell to the same customers. Warhammer is far different and unless you can keep up continual recruitment of new gamers you'll eventually hit a saturation point where you've got many players but they've all got their armies where they mostly want.

I'm not disputing your stores facts, just noting that they are very abnormal in today's market and quite surprising.


Oh it is. And when I say dropped, I don't me all of it. He's just doing more GW business than he is Wizards of the Coast business. We're in a small college town, less than 7000 people and very far from any large city. I think that is what drives a lot of it, but 40K and Aos have become insanely popular here over the last 6 months.
   
Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

A good college/uni/school tie for a retail shop like a game store can be a massive life saver and earner. Esp right now as GW is encourage schools with their community packs; depending on the age range at the college its something a store should put the school in touch with. A well run school club can easily help support the local store.

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Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Baltimore, MD

Magic has such high turnover and such healthy margins that a game store not selling it is going to be an extreme corner case.

I've never run an FLGS, but I've worked plenty of specialty retail, and they can make money, as long as you treat them like serious businesses, and not hobbies. that means professional staff, a manager that you can trust, etc. You have to actively sell things to customers, you can't just let it sit there. People that know exactly what they want can shop online, if they're in your store, they either want it today, or they don't know exactly what they want. (Or they are just bored looky loos)

Carry enough stock that you stand out, but be aware of dying product lines. Everytime I walk into a store, and it's got the same selection of Magic/D&D/Asmodai/FFG/GW, I cry a little on the inside. Having something distinct can make a big difference.

On the flip side, be aware of bloated ranged. Flames of War and Warmachine in particular were massive ranges that took too much space even when the games were hot, and now they're just sinks in most areas.

My Painted Armies
: Co. B, 37th Praetorian IG: 11,000pts
Cygnar: 350pts
KOW Ogres: 4500 points
Loyalist Emperor's Children: 2500 points 
   
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Council of 13 Runner Up






Out of interest, do we collectively know what the margins on MTG are?

Not calling people out, but it’s a popular opinion I’ve never really questioned before.

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Baltimore, MD

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Out of interest, do we collectively know what the margins on MTG are?

Not calling people out, but it’s a popular opinion I’ve never really questioned before.


I think people are using the terms margins a bit loosely, because I'd guess the accounting margin would be about the same as most hobby gaming: 40-50%.

The better term is that there is a low barrier of entry. You can buy a case of each set in Standard, plus a bunch of precons, for what, under a few thousand dollars? And you know that stuff will sell.

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Oh I get the latter bit.

And as, already said, someone that buys by the box, it’s hard to begrudge such a margin ::

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Yeah plus its a lot easier to drive sales - heck booster draft is a very popular game mode and basically means that every booster draft game pretty much ensures you're going to be making sales of fresh product. Even to customers who only custom buy cards they want and who have a perfect deck.

You could never achieve that with Warhammer - even growth/escalation campaigns, which sort of copy the whole idea of growing a new army from scratch through the game, are not as easily run; require a lot more time (weeks/months) and often fizzle before they finish.
And then there's no requirement that they start a new army, only a social agreement if there is even one. So they can easily just "grow" an army from their existing collection.


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Wow well i didn't expect quite so many responses so quickly.

I think the family friend is more looking to run it less for profit and more for fun (and partly for his son who does it as a hobby) but i could give him a call and find out. He has the space but i'll have to see if he's able to make the store where he plans. I didn't think about zoning issues.

Also i don't think security would be a huge problem as i think the areas we tend to frequent are nice to ok. That said i remember once when a friend took me to a GW with him for a game and when we were about to drive home his car had issues. It turned out some awful person stole one of the parts from his car while we were playing a game inside and he had to call some sort of towing service and whatever to get home. This is only one event in all the years i've been there. Aside from that the only in-store issues have been jerks, extremely competitive players (possible elitism), a couple cheaters and lost dice and models. Of course it's fairly rare to lose them for good at the current local GW.

--------

I may also ask for advice from other store owners on Reddit. My idea was to pool together experiences of other shop owners to see if they could run a business successfully.

Either way thanks for all the help you guys. I'll check back to see if you have more info when i get back after relaying all this back to him.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 22:21:55


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This guy runs a successful game store in California and blogs about his experiences. He also wrote a book on running a FLGS and making a middle class income. Well worth a read.

http://blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/

   
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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Out of interest, do we collectively know what the margins on MTG are?

Not calling people out, but it’s a popular opinion I’ve never really questioned before.


The margins aren't as big as you might think, they're pretty thin. The thing is, a good Magic store sells a LOT of it. The cheapest a War of the Spark or Core Set 2020 booster box is selling for on TCG is a little over $90. Rudy the Magic Guy is selling them to his patreons at $80 a box, and I think that he is charging the wholesale price, or damn close to it (he probably more than makes up for it in the patreon money alone). My local shop sells them at $100. And a big release weekend can move 50+ boxes.
The problem, however, is when a new Magic set flops and it doesn't sell well. Sure, those unsold booster boxes may be worth a decent amount if you sit on them for 5+ years, but not many game stores can do that.

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Davout wrote:
This guy runs a successful game store in California and blogs about his experiences. He also wrote a book on running a FLGS and making a middle class income. Well worth a read.

http://blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/



Middle Class as in Middle Class Wage? Also.. Middle Class Wage or California Middle Class Wage? Those are very different things. It gets more granular even in California. A Central Valley Middle Class Wage is about 40K a year different than a San Fransisco Middle Class Wage. Middle Class Wage in San Fran is at least 100K a year, on that kind of salary you MIGHT be able to get a 2 room apartment, maybe.... 70-80k a year will have you living in Oakland and commuting on the Barf.. I mean BART and living in a one room in a moderately safe neighborhood/block. Which is why people are willing to live over the hill in the valley so they can afford a house.. and by afford I mean commuting for 2-3+ hours every day of the work week twice a day. .. and by affordable house I mean Californian Affordable which means postage stamp, low square footage for about half a million dollars.

So glad I don't live in that messed up state any longer.

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 flamingkillamajig wrote:
Wow well i didn't expect quite so many responses so quickly.

I think the family friend is more looking to run it less for profit and more for fun (and partly for his son who does it as a hobby) but i could give him a call and find out.


Honestly that sounds like a big warning flag with neon lights flashing - that is unless they are very very well off and able to write off all the money invested and have it not affect their lifestyle nor futures.
Otherwise if his heart isn't really in it and if he's going into the venture more hobby than profit side then that just sets them up for making a LOT of mistakes that are costly. Because their attitude won't be in the right place and they won't think of covering costs before all else. They'll likely even miss really basic things because they won't be approaching it right. Plus if its hinges on it being his sons's hobby that's fine this year, but what about next year? Most people I know with hobbies wax and wane in their interests. If you're running a shop you've got to be committed all the time, you can't just close up for a few months or a year or two and then open up randomly again.

Heck even if they were running a hobby club you can't do that, though at least with a club you can more easily pass on the baton to others if the club establishes itself well.

Heck maybe that would be better, a decent largish spot with a few tables and chairs rented out once or twice a week for gaming. You still have to invest into it, you can still cover basic rent with some subsidies from members (membership fees). No worries about making a solid income past the rent; no need to consider stocking or covering expenses the same way; no need for legions of staff; no need for paying rent all year round - no rates or taxes (or if there are any nowhere near as crippling not expensive as for a shop). And heck if it goes well they could always found some food outlet locally or such - ergo they could review in 2 or 3 years and consider expansion.



Again if they are exceptionally well of then fine, let them go for the store and they could well do fantastically well. Just the way you describe it sets alarm bells off for me that either they are walking into a big life changing potential mistake; or its all hot-air discussion that will never come t be and is just an entertaining chat/mental exercise/dream.

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