FLGS Research

There are some products where seeing a physical copy is very useful

Also, I like browsing, looking at far more different kinds of stuff than I would if I were confined to what Amazon thinks I'd like and what I can think of to search for there.

Also good for slightly paranoid gamers (of which I've known a few) -- you can pay cash, so the government doesn't know you're reading the GURPS book about hackers, and there's no chance of your credit card being compromised.

Do you go to the Ork's Nest, S'mon?
 

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S'mon

Legend
Do you go to the Ork's Nest, S'mon?

That's right; when I walk from my work near Oxford Circus to my osteopath at Pineapple Studios ('as seen on tv') in Covent Garden, Orc's Nest is on the way so it's nice to pop in for some overpriced RPG reading material. :lol: Last time I picked up Lands of the Linnorm Kings from Paizo, ca £15 for 64 pp!
 

Memnoch3434

First Post
My favorite part of FLGS's is interacting with the other customers. It might be a good idea to set up some things to get people interested in right off the bat. Friday Night Magic is a no-brainer, but maybe you should have a few local DM's come in and run a few gaming sessions with new (to them, or completely new) players. Have a game session to show newbies the RPG ropes and play them through a few simple modules.

Other games are obnoxiously difficult like 40k and Warhammer will need someone to teach people to play them. Have a board game night where a few of the employees will take some time to teach a new board game kinda like table top.

But as it's already been said, Customer Service is key. My favorite FLGS was so good because the guy who owned it only really cared about making people happy and having a good time. He only wanted to make enough to keep the place going. Since he didn't really care about profit he was much more loose on what he would trade from his stock to customers (as far as CCG's go).

Another decent FLGS that I have been to doubled as a used videogame/dvd store but they tried to bank in on the rare stuff. I don't like the "if you don't buy something pay to sit here" rule. The last FLGS I tried did that (unless you were there for the dedicated event of the night) and it was a pain to work around. Since our game didn't have a huge following (Legend of the Five Rings CCG) we never had our own night besides the "free" Night.

Something else that store had that worked pretty well was having a set of top of the line gaming computers that you paid for time on to play a game from their collection. League of Legends and MW3 were big hits and alot of people would come in just to play those games on the high speed internet connection and awesome computers. That way you can run some gaming tournaments, halo and all that. You can keep the computers behind the counter if you dont want to endanger them.

That's all I can think of, also maybe call your store "The Android's Dungeon?" Might draw a few old simpsons nerds if the copyright is good.
 

Corathon

First Post
He would have to find a way to sell at lower prieces than amazon, which will ship to your home for free. I think that's the main problem.

A decade ago, you'd go to a store to check what's actually inside a book before deciding on buying it. But now it's much more efficient to look up some reviews on the internet, which will actually be more useful than flipping throug it for two minutes.

There isn't really any reason to go to a store and not order online, which I could think of.

The reason for me is that a trip to the game store is recreation - and there won't be game stores if everybody orders online. So I put my money where my mouth is.

To the OP: I have no idea what would be economical choices, but I often wished my FLGS carried more OSR stuff.
 

khantroll

Explorer
Danny: I got that you weren't suggesting we do a food truck; I was just giving a little too much info to point out that we don't have many (any, really, as the two in operation only go to two places). I should have been clearer.

I checked out the gaming tavern linked earlier in the thread, and it's cool. But I really don't think it'd work here. I mean, you'd get gamers in there and drinking, so your margins MIGHT change, but it adds a lot to the startup costs (here, you have to buy an existing license; new licenses are rarely issued and can take up to two years, during which time they can be stopped by nearly any objection. I remember one that got tanked because a lady lived within 10 blocks of the place and she was afraid her dog would be poisoned by liquor when she walked him by the place). It might be something to research, however.

I know about loss leaders, break evens, and money makers. I've taken that into account on my projections. The thing is, as GOB point out, that the margins on even the best are tight. I mean, it averages across all product lines as about 35%, with lines ranging from productivity of 47% all the way down to 5% (I'm glaring at you, GW and indie publishers). Add to that tight set of margins the fact that I don't have good data for purchases in our area, and it becomes a risky adventure with small and unsure gains.

Pogre: He'd need to hit that number in 18 to 24 mo. If he does that, he'll be profitable by year 5. No greatly profitable, but profitable.

GOB: Congratulations, GOB. It good to hear some one with a game store doing well.
John and I have discussed some of what you pointed out. He's looking at two different spots, one in each of the city's two major shopping areas. Both on one main roads, and both have parking. Site 1 is downtown, which has been revitalized and has access to the university, upscale condos, and is a high foot traffic area. Site two is the interstate shopping area, and that area doesn't have foot traffic at all for any store. Plus, it has a Books-A-Million on it.

The idea is a modern FLGS. That means a custom appointed, high tech store with nice tables, an arcade type area, pay to use gaming areas, and video displays. There will be live demos of shorter games, as well as scheduled demos of longer games.

Aside from sales of the traditional products of CCG, RPGs, miniatures, and board games, other ideas on the table are:

*Pay to Play Tournaments
*After hours special events
*Partnership Events (There is club in the area which I do work for; we spitballed the idea of a cross-promotion with prizes so there would be game that centered around a bard competition, and then the people would have to attend the club to hunt for clues with a free or reduced admission; another idea are theme dinners with local restaurants. There is a barbecue restaurant nearby that I'm sure we could sell on an "orc-b-que" night.)
*DM Daze: Several DM's running different games of different genre, and a customer pays a small fee to try there hand at whatever game they want.


John would also like to expand his product lines with small press/indie games, OSR support, and other things that can't be had in our area. At present, there isn't a lot of competition outside of BAM. There is one other game store in the town, but truth be told, I don't expect it to still be in business by the time he gets this set up. It isn't about the customers, or money, it's just that the owners have what I like to call Small Business Owner's Syndrome. The store is open when they feel like it, which makes it hard for people to shop there. They don't even try to keep normal hours; they post them on facebook, and it's a suggestion.

Example: I checked one day, and it said 10 to 2. I showed up at 11, and the place was closed. I waited half an hour, and no one showed. I went back to the office, and finally at 1:45 they posted on facebook that they'd be closed that day. That's happened several times to a lot of gamers that I know.

Anyway, I talked with John about it today, and he doesn't seem particularly dissuaded. As he pointed out, it doesn't have to make a lot of money for him; just enough to make it worth messing with. He's got other investments, pensions, etc, that provide living income. I don't know what he'll decide.

What does anyone think about the above? Any other suggestions?

Should we include comic books? The margin is bad, but it might be a draw for people..
 


Thondor

I run Compose Dream Games RPG Marketplace
Great topic, in fact I did my Masters thesis on Comic and Game stores in the Toronto Area. This invovled visiting and speaking with 52 store owners.
It include things like clustering stores into types and delineating trade areas. I would be happy to share some of the findings if you are interested.
One thing to keep in mind is that the "price" challenge isn't really a problem here in Canada. Online retailers have to charge tax, and if we are ordering from the US then shipping makes the price around par.



John and I have discussed some of what you pointed out. He's looking at two different spots, one in each of the city's two major shopping areas. Both on one main roads, and both have parking. Site 1 is downtown, which has been revitalized and has access to the university, upscale condos, and is a high foot traffic area. Site two is the interstate shopping area, and that area doesn't have foot traffic at all for any store. Plus, it has a Books-A-Million on it.


At first blush, Site 1 sounds good. Downtown, with foot traffic and public transit access is always positive. However keep in mind that Game Stores - especially ones with events - are destination locations, meaning people are willing to travel out of their way to reach one.*
In my experience, university students aren't the best customers for FLAGS. Rather middle-school and High school students for collectable card games, a bit of a mix for RPGs, and older adults for board games, wargames, and Comics.*


Should we include comic books? The margin is bad, but it might be a draw for people..


A number of successful stores mix gaming and comics in the Toronto Area. But there are also stores that only carry miniatures or CCGs.
Keep in mind that comic stores busiest day is Wednesday (new comic book day). Also consider pull lists. Pull lists allow you to order and set aside issues for regular customers to help garantee sales.
If you end up near the Books A Million location, competing on Graphic Novels (if they have a broad selection) might be difficult.


*disclaimer I am not particularly familiar with the Fort Smith area (which I assume is where you are locating). So take the above with some salt. I would want to do more research on the area and its demographics before offering more concrete opinions.
 

Orc's Nest is on the way so it's nice to pop in for some overpriced RPG reading material.

I used to go there all the time when I was in London, but it's a bit far from my current home near Seattle.

My wife (who's Singaporean) was thinking of moving overseas. She's thinking Brussels or Munich; I'm thinking London or Singapore, because I have to be in a place with an FLGS and some gamers. ;)
 


khantroll

Explorer
Thondor, I'd be happy with any information you'd be willing to share. I appreciate anything you can tell me.

The "destination store" thing is something John and I have been arguing ever since he first broached the subject to me. I have said, much as you did, that comic and game stores are the kinds of places a person means to go; therefore, stores off of main thoroughfares are with lower rent or a more attractive/iconic facades are valid choices.

John points out, however, that other game stores in the area have used this principal and failed. In fact, our longest running game store closed up shop a few years ago after they moved from a location on a main road (but out of the big shopping areas) and into a much bigger but out of the way location.

As to comics, we have a long-established comic book store in the area, so that plus BAM plus the low margins make me think that it simply isn't worth it.

It's also worth point out that, in the state education system, our university has an average age of 26. Which is down from 29 two years ago. Despite being a major University of Arkansas campus, our campus is essentially a teaching and polytech campus (research and theory are done at the Fayetteville campus, except for medical and law which are done in Little Rock).

Danny: Yeah, wifi is a must.
 

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