FLGS Research

Nellisir

Hero
My former FLGS, under its current owner, seems to do relatively well. He moved the business from the quiet end of Main Street to a less "central", but still walkable location, with much-improved street visibility. He bought the building and occupied 2/3rd of it, renting the other 1/3rd (this might be changing; that office was empty last time I was there). It's a comic/magic/warhammer/rpg/boardgame store, probably in that order, and there's a guy with some counterspace and rare coins, so eggs are in many baskets, and there's a lot of traffic looking for different things.

He hosts tournaments, games, and anything else people want. The store is clean, carpeted, and well-lit (sometimes too much -- it gets a lot of afternoon sun). Women are a regular and unremarkable presence, including at least one clerk (the most experienced). The former owner was a woman, so that might have some carryover effect.

Personally, I wouldn't mind the other office being switched over to a newsstand/very small bookstore, or possibly a small cafe, either one of which might do alright in that location, but the clerk I talked to didn't seem to know what was going on with it.

The biggest flaws I can find is that some of the clerks seem pretty disinterested: they're not actually unhelpful, but they're not really going out of their way, either. My view might be biased, however: I haven't lived in that area for about five years, so they don't know me, but prior to that I lived about a hundred yards away, built the shelves and cabinets for the store, and had been a customer for about twenty years. So I'm accustomed to a more familiar level of service.
 

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Just curious which 5 FLGS are near you.

I'm further north on Puget Sound than you, so a bit out of your way. Nevertheless:

-- Ernie's Games, Woodinville (140th Ave NE), right next to Teddy's Bigger Burgers (yum)

-- Games & Gizmos in Bella Bottega, Redmond (NE 87th St)

-- Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, Bellevue (Overlake Area, NE 20th St)

-- Uncle's Games in Redmond Town Center

-- Uncle's Games in Crossroad Mall, Bellevue (Overlake Area, 156th Ave NE)

-- Games Plus in Lake Stevens (near Marysville, used to be in Woodinville, I've never been to the new location)

And though it's not an FLGS, you should drive all the way to Everett to visit AFK Tavern. It's worth it. :)
 
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Nellisir

Hero
Re: destination stores - I will point out that a significant portion of the customers might not have regular access to cars. A location that's walkable from a central area (ie downtown) makes more sense than one in an outlying strip mall, at least to me.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Last time I picked up Lands of the Linnorm Kings from Paizo, ca £15 for 64 pp!

Ouch. From an American perspective, everything is expensive in the UK. I've visited 3 times since the late 1980s and it just seems to keep getting worse.

Again, that's from a US perspective and the last time we visited was 2007 when the exchange rate was particularly bad because of the weak dollar.
 

TheObserver

Explorer
I'm further north on Puget Sound than you, so a bit out of your way. Nevertheless:

-- Ernie's Games, Woodinville (140th Ave NE), right next to Teddy's Bigger Burgers (yum)

-- Games & Gizmos in Bella Bottega, Redmond (NE 87th St)

-- Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy, Bellevue (Overlake Area, NE 20th St)

-- Uncle's Games in Redmond Town Center

-- Uncle's Games in Crossroad Mall, Bellevue (Overlake Area, 156th Ave NE)

-- Games Plus in Lake Stevens (near Marysville, used to be in Woodinville, I've never been to the new location)

And though it's not an FLGS, you should drive all the way to Everett to visit AFK Tavern. It's worth it. :)

Thanks, we actually make trips to get Pizza at Brooklyn Bros. in Everett so when we do I like to hit the shops in the north end of the Sound.:p
 

Ouch. From an American perspective, everything is expensive in the UK. I've visited 3 times since the late 1980s and it just seems to keep getting worse.


Apparently the US and UK aren't so far apart in cost of living as they used to be (you can buy a Big Mac for nearly the same cost in either country, after currency translation):
The Big Mac index: Currency comparisons, to go | The Economist

Of course, if you're comparing rural Arkansas to London, you will have a large Cost of Living differences, but you'd have that between Arkansas and San Francisco too.

Interestingly (to me at least), the US charges the same price for a Big Mac nationwide except in NYC, Hawaii, and Alaska -- so Arkansans are getting ripped off and San Franciscans should eat a Big Mac everyday. :)
 

Impeesa

Explorer
khantroll I'm curious if you and your associate have moved forward on this.

I recently went on vacation in Victoria, BC (A city of 80,000 or metro area of 350,000). I was surprised to discover that 4 local comic and game stores (including a Games Workshop) had located within a single block.

This is the opposite of my experience in the Toronto area, where stores used to cluster together but have since deliberately dispersed through space.

The 4 Victoria stores were fairly differentiated based on product and only the GW and another store "Yellowjacket" had game space.

I know that block! Last time my wife and I visited Victoria, we were at the hotel right across from the card shop. We really liked the fact that there were all those geek stores so close by.
 

Thondor

Explorer
Alright, I tapped it from my phone, and I realized that my last post came out kind of strange. What I meant to say, Thondor, is that in my experience, game stores don't cluster like that. Generally, one store serves a collection of neighborhoods or city zones, and in a larger city another store might service a different section. People will cross boundaries if they like another store better, but for the most part they tend serve different crowds.

The experience in my research is the same. The only real exception is two downtown stores on Yonge within a block -- one is a Diverse Store (eg also carries comics) without game space and one is a Game Store with game space. There are other stores here in the Toronto area that located near each other, but these usually have strongly differentiated product. Such as a Games Workshop and a Comic Focussed Store.


I know that block! Last time my wife and I visited Victoria, we were at the hotel right across from the card shop. We really liked the fact that there were all those geek stores so close by.

My hotel was only a few blocks away so I stopped by a few times. I can understand the decision to locate in a cluster. It effectively creates a small shopping district of geek stores.
There used to be a shopping district like this in Toronto in the late 80's and early 90's. (Possibly two in fact). At the time if you wanted a comic-book you would head to Queen St West.

This has changed dramatically, and when I delineated trade areas for my research the central assumption was that customers would head to the nearest store. This was modified by the size of the store, product types and a few other measures. This assumption was made partially because stores were deliberately locating in seperate area's of the cities.

What does all this mean for khantroll and his friends store? If you're not going to carry comics, and the Comic store you mentioned "downtown" doesn't really carry much gaming, locating near it could help both stores. But I would be cautious of product overlap. (And of course there are a lot of other factors when choosing a location!)
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
What does all this mean for khantroll and his friends store? If you're not going to carry comics, and the Comic store you mentioned "downtown" doesn't really carry much gaming, locating near it could help both stores. But I would be cautious of product overlap. (And of course there are a lot of other factors when choosing a location!)
Agreed. And if the stores cross-promote, there is even more potential.
 

Thondor

Explorer
So I have decided to make my Hobby Shop research available for download from https://rpgorbit.com/composedreamgames/. The research contains maps of the Greater Toronto Area, its stores and details on the 51 stores interviewed and visited by the researcher.
Probably one of the most significant findings was that stores fit into 7 categories: Comic Focussed, Gaming Store, Gift and Games, Miniature Wargames Store, The Card Gaming Shop, The Diverse Store, and The Comic Store.

The cost of the download is $10. I hope that some individuals interested in opening a store will find it useful.

Anyone interested in the data and research from a strictly academic perspective should contact me directly.
 

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