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Sad Day In Syracuse

I lived in the area many years ago. What happened to Twilight?

I remember Vanguard Games and Comics for Collectors in Ithaca...Vanguard is long gone, and when I visited the area two years ago, I was shocked at just how bad Comics for Collectors' gaming section had become.

Mycanid said:
MAJOR bummer. First Twilight, and now Altered States.
 

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Gallo22

First Post
Dragon Snack said:
I am a little perplexed, this isn't news...

Altered States became How You Play The Game (apparently shortened to Play The Game now) and moved last year. I bought over 100 Reaper minis at half price before they moved...

Speaking as an out of towner, I always thought that old location was crappy anyway. Who was going to be in that area unless they were specifically going to the Spaghetti Warehouse or Altered States? Not that I'll be headed to a mall anytime soon, but at least they get a bit more traffic passing by that wouldn't normally be going to the store anyway..

That's correct, they were next to the Spaghetti Warehouse, then moved to a strip mall off of Rt 81 and now they are in the Mall (about two months now). :)
 

Mycanid

First Post
Jyrdan Fairblade said:
I lived in the area many years ago. What happened to Twilight?

I remember Vanguard Games and Comics for Collectors in Ithaca...Vanguard is long gone, and when I visited the area two years ago, I was shocked at just how bad Comics for Collectors' gaming section had become.

Twilight Book and Games Emporium closed down a few years ago. I forget exactly why it did. Of course it was a 5 minute walk from where Carousel, but I can not imagine THAT would be very hurtful to its clientèle. At least I hope not.

If I remember correctly ... and I might be incorrect in this ... the manager had personal problems, and these, together with slow sales, undermined his interest and he finally gave up.

PLEASE CORRECT ME if I messed up the facts all you Syracusians who know more about this...!
 

Ao the Overkitty

First Post
Thornir Alekeg said:
"Come visit Desitny USA on the beautiful shore of Onondaga Lake, one of New York State's most polluted lakes. Breathe the fresh air provided by the waste water treatment plant located next door. See the panoramic view partially obscured by smoke belching from Crucible Metals, and of course shop at the largest collection of the same stores you get at every other mall in America."

"Yes, that's right folks. You too can visit a mall built on top of a toxic waste dump."

Never liked Carousel Mall, though it has been at least 15 years since I was last there.
 

Sernett

First Post
Twilight Closing

I worked at Twilight for about three years and a friend of mine worked there up until it shut down. Frankly, Twilight always felt like it was limping along no matter how well it seemed to be doing to customers. Like many game/hobby/comic shops, the owner started it out of a passion for the material it sold, not out of a powerful passion for the businiess of running a retail store. Keeping any store going takes a lot of business savvy, and it was a miracle Twilight lasted as long as it did (especially in that neighborhood, with a strip joint across the street and the local lady of the oldest profession doing business on the corner).

I'm sure someone will open up a new gaming store in Syracuse soon. When I younger, there was just Twilight. Then in highschool Twilight had four stores. Around college Altered States started up, Twilight closed its branch stores, and there were another couple game stores in the area whose names I can't remember. By the time I left, there was just Tilight and Altered States. Then Twilight closed and Altered States grew. Now Altered States has retracted a little. It's a cycle. Sooner or later someone who loves the product will step up to the plate. Hopefully they'll have a business degree and manage to grow the area's consumer base.

Neat to hear about events in the 'cuse. I miss central New York winters.
 

Mycanid

First Post
Wasn't there a store for a while that began with the letter D? Something like Dream_____ or something or other? That close too? (Of course I could be totally mixed up.)

I remember back in the early 1980's that there were quite a few small gaming stores and hobby shops ALL OVER Syracuse. Guess times change. Maybe other ones will open up. :)
 

LightPhoenix

First Post
First off, sorry for not keeping up on this thread... it's been a hectic couple of days. Thank god for the weekend! :)

Dragon Snack said:
I am a little perplexed, this isn't news...

Altered States became How You Play The Game (apparently shortened to Play The Game now) and moved last year. I bought over 100 Reaper minis at half price before they moved...

Well, I've been out of the gaming scene here for a while, so it was news to me. Still makes me sad. I can't say that I've even been to AS for at least a year... it's been on my list of things to do, and kept getting put off. I was taken aback, since as others have said, it really is the only gaming store in Syracuse.

Gallo22 said:
Let me correct a few incorrect comments...

The reason the store moved was because the rent was cheaper in the Mall, then the location they were at before. Yes..., I said cheaper!!! By a lot from my understanding. They also have most everything they have alway had. I still shop there and they have all the major RPGs, D&D minis, tons of board games, warhammer stuff and tons of comics (1/3 of the shop to be exact!). They still have all the CCG you can think of, etc. They also still have CCG tourneys, board game night (every tuesday night), D&D mini tourneys, etc.

Well, not according to the guys I talked to, both of whom I know have worked there quite a while. Heck, I recognized them from the old locale, which was why I asked in the first place. They both said that the guy who bought the building did not want them there, something happened, probably during contract negotiation (ie, owner asked for a rediculously high rent), and they were forced to move. That and the size of the place they had before, and I'm sure it was more expensive than Carousel, when they moved.

Also, and I'm not sure how it is at the new store, but they also said that they had been running a lot less of the in-store gaming events at the old store. I assumed that impacted it as well.

Finally, I don't see how they can have everything they had before - the size disparity is too great. The on-shelf stock wouldn't fit in the new store, without it being cramped - which it wasn't. Actually, I'll say this, it was very nicely upkept, just like the old place. They might have a bunch of stuff sitting in storage... but that's not on the shelf and thusly not moving.

All that said, they could have told that to me just to get me to stop talking to them. I'm not above thinking people might brush me off. ;)

Mycanid said:
Twilight Book and Games Emporium closed down a few years ago. I forget exactly why it did. Of course it was a 5 minute walk from where Carousel, but I can not imagine THAT would be very hurtful to its clientèle. At least I hope not.

If I remember correctly ... and I might be incorrect in this ... the manager had personal problems, and these, together with slow sales, undermined his interest and he finally gave up.

Wasn't there a store for a while that began with the letter D? Something like Dream_____ or something or other? That close too? (Of course I could be totally mixed up.)

Yeah, from what I understand there were personal issues, and while I have some idea of what happened I hardly am a definitive source, so I'll leave it at that.

I also seem to vaguely recall the store you're talking about, but I don't think it lasted long.
 

Ranger REG

Explorer
We had a store called Last Sanctuary located near the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Because the lot there was owned by Ala Moana Group (sp?), the store had to clear out when the announcement of the shopping center expansion was made public.

There are only a few FLGS that I can name in one hand.
 

LightPhoenix

First Post
Dragon Snack said:
I am a little perplexed, this isn't news...

Altered States became How You Play The Game (apparently shortened to Play The Game now) and moved last year. I bought over 100 Reaper minis at half price before they moved...

Speaking as an out of towner, I always thought that old location was crappy anyway. Who was going to be in that area unless they were specifically going to the Spaghetti Warehouse or Altered States? Not that I'll be headed to a mall anytime soon, but at least they get a bit more traffic passing by that wouldn't normally be going to the store anyway.

Come on over to Rochester, we have 7 game stores in our "metropolitan" area. Heck, you don't even have to make it all the way here, stop by Lost Worlds in Macedon or Coyote's Den in Canandaigua. Not the size of (the old) Altered States, but good stores in their own right.

My bro does go to RIT...

I'll say right now, to be fair, that I loathe Carousel Mall. Not so much the idea of a giant mall, but the general makeup of the stores there. Not to mention vastly increased prices (a symptom of both a big mall, and high rent). I think back on the days when Camillus Mall was open, or Shoppingtown and Great Northern malls were at their peak, and there was a lot more variety of stores, both singly and amongst each other.

Anyway, I really do hope the move brings more walk-in customers. I can't argue that the old location really did suck. I wasn't there on a busy night... but then, the mall actually does have regulations on when/how people under eighteen can be there (which are, frankly, rediculous) which may hurt. I do know I'll be (argh) going to Carousel a lot more now, and making sure to buy stuff. I've always wanted to try Munchkin... and they did have the entirety of the Y: The Last Man trades....

Oh, and Thornir, actually Onondaga Lake is one of the most polluted freshwater lakes in the world... get it right! :p
 

Kheti sa-Menik

First Post
I'm from Syracuse originally....well, Central Square/Cicero/Brewerton just up 81 a bit.

I've never been to Altered States but I used to go to Twilight. I liked the store, but it was in a skeevy part of town so I could only get my mom to drive me there once in a while. Lookers...a gentleman's club...was just down the road.

I remember buying all my Star Wars (D6 by WEG) stuff at Twilight, Marvel SuperHeros RPG boxed sets, 1st edition D&D material, and all my dice when I first was starting out.
I also used to buy supplies at B Dalton Booksellers in the old Penn Cann Mall..or was it Great Northern?

When did Twilight shut down?

I moved to Buffalo in 1995 when I started college and got back to Syracuse less and less. Buffalo by the way isn't in much better shape. We've got two stores I'm aware of, neither real convenient.

Rochester though has a great amount of good quality stores. Millenium Hobby in Henrietta is a good one I stop at when I go to Rochester to see the girlfriend. By far the best in the area is Crazy Igor's in Hilton, NY just north and west of Rochester. They send a huge amount of material to GenCon and have a massive booth there, I was shocked when I saw it.
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
Its always a sad thing when FLGS have to shut down or sell off things and move to a smaller location. But still everyone in that region should probably be feeling lucky that they have a FLGS. I live in the sticks and have to drive 2 hours to get to the nearest game store.
 

gbob01

First Post
Twilight Book & Game closure

I realize I'm responding to a 10 year old post, but I figured I'd correct the misinformation on Twilight Book & Game. I was the owner, and we were in business for nearly 18 years. We had the majority of the comic book and gaming market for most of those 18 years, and "slow sales" had absolutely NOTHING to do with why I ultimately decided to close.

Indeed, I DID have "personal problems," just like every adult in the universe. But the reason I closed had to do more with the crash of the comic book and sports card market after I had opened up our 4th store. It was a bad business decision, but the market crashed hard and I didn't see it coming. Add to that my personal problems in going through a divorce, and you had the formula for disaster. It had nothing to do with me losing interest in the store. If I could go back with 20/20 hindsight, the mistakes I made that contributed to the closing would have been different. But none of us has a crystal ball.

I've seen some other posts regarding the "seedy" part of town being a contributing cause. When I opened there, the area was not nearly as bad as when we finally closed. That had not affected our business, although had we stayed open, the condition the neighborhood is in now, might have. "Looker's" opposite our store was "The Red Snapper" a neighborhood bar/restaurant when we opened. There were a couple strip joints down the street, but they did not seem to affect anything, as we closed by 8pm.

There is someone who has posted here that they worked at my store for three years. I do not know who it is, and they may well have. But his/her expertise about why I closed is derived from absolutely nothing other than conjecture. I made many mistakes, including hiring some very BAD employees who used Twilight as their own bank and place to get free comics (of course, without my knowledge), expansion that was too quick without proper inventory controls, and the crashing market that I was heavily invested in. All of these mistakes could have been avoided, but no MBA would have predicted the series of events or helped me to deal with them any better than I did. Much of it was personal that had pushed me to my limits.

I know when I closed that a lot of my customers were very upset. I am most regretful of the disappointment I caused them, as well as the many employees I had that were laid off. There is nothing I would like more than to give it another shot, do things differently, but I do not have the finances that would be required today to do it right.

Most of the people that I hear from who used to be customers have told me that they loved my employees, they loved our inventory selection, and that was what separated us from our competition. The industry has changed tremendously since even these posts were originally made. No doubt, Twilight would look much different today than it did in 2000 when I closed.

Thank you to everyone who shopped at my stores, thank you for the kind words, and I hope your hobbies are being met by the stores that are still in business. I strongly urge all of you to shop at the brick and mortar stores that still exist instead of ordering everything online.

Bob Gray
 
Last edited:

saucesquatch

Villager
Twilight Book & Game closure

I realize I'm responding to a 10 year old post, but I figured I'd correct the misinformation on Twilight Book & Game. I was the owner, and we were in business for nearly 18 years. We had the majority of the comic book and gaming market for most of those 18 years, and "slow sales" had absolutely NOTHING to do with why I ultimately decided to close.

Indeed, I DID have "personal problems," just like every adult in the universe. But the reason I closed had to do more with the crash of the comic book and sports card market after I had opened up our 4th store. It was a bad business decision, but the market crashed hard and I didn't see it coming. Add to that my personal problems in going through a divorce, and you had the formula for disaster. It had nothing to do with me losing interest in the store. If I could go back with 20/20 hindsight, the mistakes I made that contributed to the closing would have been different. But none of us has a crystal ball.

I've seen some other posts regarding the "seedy" part of town being a contributing cause. When I opened there, the area was not nearly as bad as when we finally closed. That had not affected our business, although had we stayed open, the condition the neighborhood is in now, might have. "Looker's" opposite our store was "The Red Snapper" a neighborhood bar/restaurant when we opened. There were a couple strip joints down the street, but they did not seem to affect anything, as we closed by 8pm.

There is someone who has posted here that they worked at my store for three years. I do not know who it is, and they may well have. But his/her expertise about why I closed is derived from absolutely nothing other than conjecture. I made many mistakes, including hiring some very BAD employees who used Twilight as their own bank and place to get free comics (of course, without my knowledge), expansion that was too quick without proper inventory controls, and the crashing market that I was heavily invested in. All of these mistakes could have been avoided, but no MBA would have predicted the series of events or helped me to deal with them any better than I did. Much of it was personal that had pushed me to my limits.

I know when I closed that a lot of my customers were very upset. I am most regretful of the disappointment I caused them, as well as the many employees I had that were laid off. There is nothing I would like more than to give it another shot, do things differently, but I do not have the finances that would be required today to do it right.

Most of the people that I hear from who used to be customers have told me that they loved my employees, they loved our inventory selection, and that was what separated us from our competition. The industry has changed tremendously since even these posts were originally made. No doubt, Twilight would look much different today than it did in 2000 when I closed.

Thank you to everyone who shopped at my stores, thank you for the kind words, and I hope your hobbies are being met by the stores that are still in business. I strongly urge all of you to shop at the brick and mortar stores that still exist instead of ordering everything online.

Bob Gray
Bob, I just wanted to say thank you. I grew up not far from Twilight and that is where I would get my comic books. It's where I bought my first pack of Magic the Gathering and attended game nights. It's probably the first place I felt like a normal kid, that there were other people like me who were interested in nerdy fantastical stuff. It was a spectacular place and I felt blessed it was close enough to just visit, flip through hundreds of comics until I found one I could buy. I was sad to hear it closed but I want you to know I still tell people how great it was and how much it meant to me.
 

The new owners of one of the 5(!) malls here in London decided that they no longer wanted any store that wasn't a national brand name. So far 4 local business have been shut down to make room for 4 women's clothing stores.

To the OP - how big is Syracuse? London is about 350 000 and we have 4 games stores (2 of them friendly!). All but 1 of them are Comic/RPG/Board game stores.
Anchorage is also about 350k and has 2 game stores, all of them friendly. (A third closed in the last few years...)
Corvallis, Oregon, is about 55k locals plus 23k students... and had 3, now has 2, game stores, 1 of which was friendly, 1 was standoffish, and 1 was flat out hostile. The standoffish one is the one that died.
In both cities, several non-game stores have some gaming items. SOme board games at a toy & school supply store downtown, for example.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Speaking of Oregon, we've got it pretty good here in Portland, too. There are several FLGS and comic book stores to choose from, plus a couple of mead halls (yes, you read that right) and brew pubs that cater to the board game and RPG-playing crowds, scattered around in different neighborhoods. But all the big guns are downtown: Powell's Bookstore, Guardian Games (with its attached game-room and pub, "Critical Sip"), and the Coffin Club (formerly, The Lovecraft Bar).

If you're a gamer geek and you're planning your next vacation, give Rip City a shot.
 

darjr

I crit!
Omaha greater omaha area has about 1million pop. We have at least nine game stores. Last time I counted though a couple closed down but a couple more opened. So the overall balance is up.
 


Speaking of Oregon, we've got it pretty good here in Portland, too. There are several FLGS and comic book stores to choose from, plus a couple of mead halls (yes, you read that right) and brew pubs that cater to the board game and RPG-playing crowds, scattered around in different neighborhoods. But all the big guns are downtown: Powell's Bookstore, Guardian Games (with its attached game-room and pub, "Critical Sip"), and the Coffin Club (formerly, The Lovecraft Bar).

If you're a gamer geek and you're planning your next vacation, give Rip City a shot.
Guardian freaking ROCKS!
If Matt's can't get it, I'll check Guardian. (The lack of Parking makes Powell's a problem)

There are a few hole-in-the-wall kind of game stores scattered in Portland... one had all of 4 parking spots in it's lot, which one had to walk around the building to get to the store, which appears to be a converted apartment. Quirky, but friendly. (I hit several looking for matching game stones.)
 

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Since we're all talking about great FLGSs on a 20-year-old thread, I'd like to mention a couple of sad cases: the Space Crime Continuum and Modern Myths in Northampton, MA, and then two success stories: Off the Wall Games in Hadley, MA and That's Entertainment in Worcester, MA.

Space-Crime was a game and mystery/sci-fi novel store that was just awesome, and it closed when the owner moved to Texas or Arizona to work for Steve Jackson Games. Modern Myths was a comic/game store that closed due to financial issues; a friend and I actually looked into buying it but the money didn't make sense. As the manager at the time mentioned, if the financials could work she would have bought the place herself.

But Off the Wall has a large play area, is packed on Saturdays, and has great staff. They focus mostly on Magic and miniatures wargames/boardgames, but they sell lots of stuff and the place has a great atmosphere. That's Entertainment is enormous and sells your childhood - everything form RPGs to boardgames to comics to video games to curios and knicknacks and toys.

I buy all my stuff from these people (well, and Comics & More in Easthampton, since Worcester is a bit of a hike and Off The Wall doesn't sell comics). I want these stores to be there for kids in the future, and it's worth slightly higher prices to support them. And it's worth mentioning that both Off The Wall and That's Entertainment give good discounts on D&D hardcovers anyway, especially if you preorder the books, so there's really no excuse to help Jeff Bezos flee the planet instead of buying local.
 

Committed Hero

Explorer
We were lucky in the Triangle to have only one game store close up during Covid; there are still 3 major ones (one of which just opened a second location). In comparison, during the last recession we lost 2 big players.
 

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