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Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol




pontiac, michigan; usa

So someone i know wants to run a hobby store for miniatures and possibly magic the gathering. He has a bunch of space and can set up a bunch of tables for gaming. Is there any advice any of you could give to me to relay back to him? For instance maybe let me know what sells or any issues you could run into running the business.

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Made in us
Stubborn Temple Guard






Magic makes more money than anything. Most gaming stores can't survive without it.

Stock things that a non-nerd might want. Puzzles, card games, dominoes, chess sets, simpler board games, family friendly games.

Unless there is absolutely BONKERS sized gaming community that doesn't want to save money online, you need the other things to survive.

And if you don't have to charge to use gaming space, don't.

27th Member of D.O.O.M.F.A.R.T.
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Made in us
Awesome Autarch






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%).

 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

Make sure you have the most popular fizzy / energy drinks available for purchase, that would be a great addition i personally believe. Oh and good air conditioning.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 02:34:14


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Awesome Autarch






^This is a good way to pad sales. Get an account with a local BJ's/Sam's Club/Costco....pick up sodas/energy drinks, chips or small bags of cookies for cheap and sell them $1 a pop. All gamers consume snacks.

 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

 Elbows wrote:
^This is a good way to pad sales. Get an account with a local BJ's/Sam's Club/Costco....pick up sodas/energy drinks, chips or small bags of cookies for cheap and sell them $1 a pop. All gamers consume snacks.


Yeah. And i would guess its not just me who in this day and age who is almost addicted to a certain soft / energy drink and so that's another reason.

This message was edited 8 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 02:41:51


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Reeve




Yeah I got one word of advice....Don't!
   
Made in us
Douglas Bader






beowulfhunter wrote:
Yeah I got one word of advice....Don't!


/thread

If you know so little about the retail business that you're asking for advice on a gaming forum then you're about to lose a lot of money.

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

 Peregrine wrote:
beowulfhunter wrote:
Yeah I got one word of advice....Don't!


/thread

If you know so little about the retail business that you're asking for advice on a gaming forum then you're about to lose a lot of money.


Hes asking us because we are the type of people that would be coming to his business, so naturally he wants our opinions. In my opinion, no offense.

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Douglas Bader






 Stormatious wrote:
Hes asking us because we are the type of people that would be coming to his business, so naturally he wants our opinions. In my opinion, no offense.


The vast majority of people on this forum are completely unqualified to offer any useful advice on running a business. A random poll like this is going to give a lot of advice on what customers (or non-customer parasites) want to receive but is going to tell someone very little about how to exploit the customers and maximize the money you can extract from them.

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

Fair enough.

Thank you.

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[DCM]
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Pleasant Valley, Iowa

Here are nearly 110 articles about how to actually run a gaming business.

Even if you don't plan to do it they are a fascinating read. Scroll down to he beginning and start there.

Seems like a really good way to lose money tbh.

   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

You should also get security ( if your friend does do end up doing it ), imagine if some crack head came in the shop and started breaking gak. Its probably safer / better to do this at home in your garage or some thing, and only have whitelisted people allowed for saftey.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 03:50:13


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Douglas Bader






 Stormatious wrote:
Its probably safer / better to do this at home in your garage or some thing, and only have whitelisted people allowed for saftey.


You do understand that "only whitelisted people allowed" and "run a profitable business" are kind of mutually exclusive ideas, right?

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

True, you are correct again Peregrine. My bad.


EDIT - Well actually, you are correct, but if there were enough gamers around where he lives, im sure they would want that safety as well, and assuming there are alot of gamer's around it should be profitable, even if its a small profit, the person might be doing this for the fun of it, not necessarily trying to make money.


EDIT- Now i think of it, the person is more then likely not trying to make any big profits, assuming he knows some thing about this hobby and buisness, i would assume he is aware he wont probably be making any big profits and just wants to get it to pay for it self.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 04:15:34


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Dominating Dominatrix






 flamingkillamajig wrote:
So someone i know wants to run a hobby store for miniatures and possibly magic the gathering. He has a bunch of space and can set up a bunch of tables for gaming. Is there any advice any of you could give to me to relay back to him? For instance maybe let me know what sells or any issues you could run into running the business.


Running a FLGS is more about building and fostering community than anything else.

There are 2 parts to that equation in my opinion.

The first is your supply. You need ALOT of stock. Just, everything and anything people will want. The more crap you have on the shelf the more people will frequent and the bigger your community will grow.

The second is your community building. It starts with you and your staff. That means laying down some foundational ground rules for how your store is run. Do you want everyone to feel like their kids can come in and look at all the things and get encouraged to try all kinds of games? Then maybe start with a pretty strict no cursing rule. Bad language from your regulars over games will turn parents with younger kids right around and out the door. Who cares if the teens to 20 somethings want to hang out in your store? You should be aiming for the 8-50 year olds. Get the kids in an excited so their parents can get them gifts from your shop. Get the older community coming in to host dnd for the next generation. The teens to 20 somethings will be there too because you have stock and tables to play on. The toxic element ones won't be missed.

Every code of conduct you put in place should be about growing a all encompassing, all accepting, all positive place to share whatever dumb thing you are into and making sure it's a welcoming and safe space for everyone who walks through the door. If you get toxic elements who want to bash people for what they like don't let them. Tell them this space is about encouraging people not putting them down. If they don't respect that ask them to leave. The people who stay will respect the space more for it and the community will grow.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 04:18:08



These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

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Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in us
Douglas Bader






 Stormatious wrote:
EDIT - Well actually, you are correct, but if there were enough gamers around where he lives, im sure they would want that safety as well, and assuming there are alot of gamer's around it should be profitable, even if its a small profit, the person might be doing this for the fun of it, not necessarily trying to make money.


What dystopian wasteland do you live in that going to a game store is so dangerous that you need to consider the store's security?

EDIT- Now i think of it, the person is more then likely not trying to make any big profits, assuming he knows some thing about this hobby and buisness, i would assume he is aware he wont probably be making any big profits and just wants to get it to pay for it self.


If you are just trying to get your business to pay for itself then opening a store is utter lunacy. Failing to treat a store as a legitimate for-profit business is the best way to end up with a money pit and bankruptcy on your credit history.

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

 Peregrine wrote:
 Stormatious wrote:
EDIT - Well actually, you are correct, but if there were enough gamers around where he lives, im sure they would want that safety as well, and assuming there are alot of gamer's around it should be profitable, even if its a small profit, the person might be doing this for the fun of it, not necessarily trying to make money.


What dystopian wasteland do you live in that going to a game store is so dangerous that you need to consider the store's security?

EDIT- Now i think of it, the person is more then likely not trying to make any big profits, assuming he knows some thing about this hobby and buisness, i would assume he is aware he wont probably be making any big profits and just wants to get it to pay for it self.


If you are just trying to get your business to pay for itself then opening a store is utter lunacy. Failing to treat a store as a legitimate for-profit business is the best way to end up with a money pit and bankruptcy on your credit history.



Well if its a public shop that's near alot of other shops in a popular city, there is that chance that some nut case wonders in, so im just staying, most people would rather feel 100% safe then even have the possibility of that risk. Especially if he has it mainly opened during the night when there's more risk of a drunk group of people walking past and causing havoc.

But if it were whitelisted and at some ones house / garage, that issue has been erased completely.

Edit - I don't know how to respond to your last quote due to lack of knowledge.

This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 04:27:48


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 Stormatious wrote:
Well if its a public shop that's near alot of other shops in a popular city, there is that chance that some nut case wonders in, so im just staying, most people would rather feel 100% safe then even have the possibility of that risk.


The chance is essentially zero. Are you paranoid about going to the grocery store without an armed police escort? Do you refuse to go out to a restaurant because they don't have a list of approved customers and armed guards at the door to prevent some nut case from wandering in? Do you refuse to drive because going to the gas station puts you at risk of carjacking? Do you spend your entire life hiding in your survival bunker cuddling your AR-15s and praying that nobody tries to kill you? If not, then why would you come up with such ridiculous ideas about a game store?

But if it were whitelisted and at some ones house / garage, that issue has been erased completely.


Any hope of making money from this "store" has also been erased, especially once the city shuts the whole thing down for zoning violations because they're running a business in a residential area. And it still doesn't provide security because some random nut case could walk into the garage and kill everyone.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 04:28:43


There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

 Peregrine wrote:
 Stormatious wrote:
Well if its a public shop that's near alot of other shops in a popular city, there is that chance that some nut case wonders in, so im just staying, most people would rather feel 100% safe then even have the possibility of that risk.


The chance is essentially zero. Are you paranoid about going to the grocery store without an armed police escort? Do you refuse to go out to a restaurant because they don't have a list of approved customers and armed guards at the door to prevent some nut case from wandering in? Do you refuse to drive because going to the gas station puts you at risk of carjacking?

But if it were whitelisted and at some ones house / garage, that issue has been erased completely.


Any hope of making money from this "store" has also been erased, especially once the city shuts the whole thing down for zoning violations because they're running a business in a residential area. And it still doesn't provide security because some random nut case could walk into the garage and kill everyone.


No im assuming that this place would be opened at night time mainly ( since people are at work during the day ), and im assuming its in a public place with alot of other shops. And by the way most grocery stores have security + loads of cameras.

You cant compare apples and oranges.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 04:29:55


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Douglas Bader






 Stormatious wrote:
I don't know how to respond to your last quote due to lack of knowledge.


Well that's certainly the truest thing you've said so far.

There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in nz
[DCM]
Longtime Dakkanaut





Near Jupiter.

Please try to stay on subject Peregrine. Thanks.

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Douglas Bader






 Stormatious wrote:
No im assuming that this place would be opened at night time mainly ( since people are at work during the day ), and im assuming its in a public place with alot of other shops.


What does that have to do with anything? Unless you live in some dystopian failed state like North Korea going to a store in a generic shopping area is not dangerous even if you do it at night.

And by the way most grocery stores have security + loads of cameras.


They have cameras to prevent shoplifting, not for safety. And the "security" is some random mall cop whose primary job is to stop someone from walking out the door without paying. Nobody is worrying about the safety of the customers because threats to their safety are so rare that it isn't even something to consider.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/07/11 08:44:48


There is no such thing as a hobby without politics. "Leave politics at the door" is itself a political statement, an endorsement of the status quo and an attempt to silence dissenting voices. 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Pleasant Valley, Iowa

Hey, so seriously though, read some of these articles. They are very short - more of short essays than articles. They cover literally everything - store burglary was literally the most recent article. But you really want to start at the beginning for it to make sense. Maybe we could discuss some of this stuff before it gets locked for being a poop fling.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/07/11 07:47:23


 
   
Made in gb
Council of 13 Runner Up






Biggest one?

Offering a bigger discount does not mean you win. You need to build up customer loyalty, and encourage repeat business.

That's why CCG's are so profitable. Decent mark up (so I understand), and because the individual price is pretty cheap? Easy to get extra sales.

I'd really research what other stores do. For instance, sticking with CCGs.

I don't run a store, but when I dip my toe into MTG, I tend to buy a whole box of boosters. That usually gives me what I want, with plenty spare.

Once, my first 'pull' was a Shiny Version of 'The' card from that set. As I went on to pull three normal versions of the same card? That one got sold - damned near paid for the whole box itself.

Now, if you're running a store? You can turn that into your own profit. When the new stuff comes in, crack open a set or two to sell as singles. It takes research and cross-referencing online sellers, but it's worth the effort - because there's always someone willing to pay $20 for a single card, if it completes a killer deck.

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Made in gb
Fixture of Dakka




UK

Food!

If you look at today's highstreet a lot of typical book and hobby stores are closing down or those that remain are fighting hard and often only survive because they pay no rent (owned shop) and were bought years and years ago. Even then rates and taxes and such can cripple many a small shop.

And that's all before you get to the internet and fast postage stealing business and undercharging what you can charge.



Food outlets are appearing to survive well; there's a good markup on the food and the internet can't undercut you. Plus if you've got gaming space gamers are going to be playing for hours, don't let them leave the store part way or at the end for food, get it all under one roof. Even if its only basic food the provision means that you've got more sales from your customers and more reason for them to hang around.


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Made in gb
Savage Khorne Berserker Biker




Southampton, UK

No idea what sells where he is. If he doesn't know, he probably ought to put more effort into finding out than you asking on here...

Are there existing stores already? What do they sell? Can the area support another hobby store? Is there a gap in the market that he can exploit, or is that gap there because no-one is playing whatever would fill that gap? What is going to make customers come to him instead of anywhere else?

The big question, assuming the above - how much money does he need to make to meet his costs and fund his life to the level he needs / wants? Does his forecast of what he will realistically sell meet that?
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

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

 
   
Made in fr
Longtime Dakkanaut




As other have said, you need to make people want to come to your store. So you need a nice facility (good lighting, AC) and commodities (restrooms, tables with terrain, food). It's also good if you can organize some events. Store hours are also important, as no one wants a store that closes at 8pm on Fridays or Saturdays.

As for making people pay for tables, one system I've seen that isn't bad is to charge people, but give them an equal amount of store credit at the same time. Similarly, every time someone spends money in the shop, he/she is credited with free playing time.
If you charge like $5/night, someone who plays twice a week only needs to spend $10/week in the store to play for free, which is quite reasonable (especially if you sell food/drinks and small items like paints). People who buy the occasional stuff in the shop would be unaffected, only people who buy everything online but still want to play in the store would get hurt. And unless the community is extremely small, these are people you want to get rid of.
   
Made in gb
Council of 13 Runner Up






Research your Stock.

The Interwebs has a tendency to make things look bigger than they are.

Example? FFG, creators of the rather good X-Wing recently attempted a WHFBesque game, called Runewars.

They were showing it off a lot at Salute the other year. The the inerwebs were insistent it was the new King, and would see AoS crash and burn. Yet where is it now? Still going, so far as I can tell. But they ended official support for organised play back in January. That's.....not a good sign.

I mean, it's not ded, but it's not something I could say is thriving.

And that's a real danger of running your own store. Us Nerds can be surprisingly flighty. A game can be a big seller one month, and dead as a Dodo the next. If you've stocked up at the wrong time, that could present a genuine threat to your business.

Best thing to do is to find a reliable supplier. Sure, they may not be the cheapest. But if they're capable of delivering each and every order, rather than having to await their own stock first? That's worth a premium. Because come release day/pick up day? If you've not got it, your customer is likely to look elsewhere, possibly a local competitor.

And for heaven's sake - keep your shop clean. Hoover at the end of the day. Have a regular cleaning schedule for dusting the shelves and stock. Nothing puts me as an individual off more than a clarty shop.




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