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D&D 3E
22nd-Nov-2004 10:15 am
HI! The names Clinton or C-Note. I've been playing D&D for around 2 years now and I love it! DUH!

Anyways I would like it if you guys answered a question for me. I have been thinking about opening a small/medium size SHOP for gaming located in Michigan because that's where i live.

It would feature the selling of D&D and other RPG game books/ accesiories, Magic the Gathering and other various cards for sale, miniatures, places to sit and play, rooms to play RPG's in, a little area with a TV to watch movies like LOTR or games like Halo and such. Some food would be sold to replinsh energy. Weekly tournaments would be a must with nice prizes and so on. Basically it's this, "A Rec Center for geeks". I would always try to get low low prices on w/e but a good quality. What are your thoughts, comments, ideas?

22nd-Nov-2004 03:36 pm (UTC)
There is a shop very much like this near my house. Email me and I'll send you information on how to contact that gentleman to see how he got started. His shop also sells comic books.
22nd-Nov-2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks. If you didn't get my email mine is Theshizat@aol.com. Thanks again!
22nd-Nov-2004 03:36 pm (UTC)
The first thing I'd do if I were you is find a store similar to what you want to open, an independent place, not a chain like Wizards. Then talk to the owner and pick his or her brain. Then get demographic data for the area you want to open your store and make sure there's enough kids with enough disposable income to support you. Not all gamers are kids but most of them are. Then I'd go talk to someone at the http://www.sba.gov/ . You might actually want to do that first. I imagine they'd try to discourage you. I don't know that a retail game store would be considered a safe bet but they have lots of resources you can use. They have free and low cost classes and probably host some in your area. Also, technically, it's illegal to show movies on dvd or vhs in public. That's part of what that disclaimer in the beginning of the video that no one ever reads says. Although I think it's only technically illegal if you charge admission. If you have a store and you sell the video, and you don't charge a viewing fee, I think you're allowed to play it. Something you might want to check on though.
22nd-Nov-2004 06:19 pm (UTC)
No, it's illegal whether or not you charge. It's "public exhibition." There are companies that will rent you movies for public exhibition, though, and handle the royalties for you.
22nd-Nov-2004 03:40 pm (UTC)
Run over to places like rpg.net and theminiaturespage.com and review the (occuring fairly often) threads about doing this.

My general comment is that it takes a fair amount of money upfront (you have to buy inventory and equipment like a cash register, get licenses, rent space) and the profit margines are really low. It can be a 'fun' job, but you have to really want to do it, and be willing to make it a big chunk of your life.
22nd-Nov-2004 10:24 pm (UTC)
Yup Sacrifice. I am currently saving up for this now and thinking of people places to go to for help money wise. Thanks for the help!
22nd-Nov-2004 04:15 pm (UTC)
MTG is a sinking ship (at least in my area).

22nd-Nov-2004 10:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah that might be true but you never know what could happen as years pass. That's why i'll focus on whats new and still popular at the time. thanks!
22nd-Nov-2004 04:49 pm (UTC)
Keep in mind that people will spend a lot of time in your store, and not spend a penny. You'll need eagle eyes to prevent theft, and will find yourself working very hard for a bunch of very ingrateful people. Additionally, the people you WANT to hang out in your store will not... be prepared for people you hate to be your main customers.
22nd-Nov-2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
Hehe. I know how to hate customers already. I know there will be ups and downs. I work at a local hardware store and sometimes there is good customers and bad. U just have to put on a happy face and go with it! thanks!
22nd-Nov-2004 05:30 pm (UTC)
A gaming store. There are a few by me which are precisely ehat you decribe such as Altered States, Millennium games, and Boldo's Armory
22nd-Nov-2004 10:30 pm (UTC)
AWESOME! I checked out Astates is really nice just what I want to create. Mind if I ask how you started all this? Money wise and all the important stuff?
(Deleted comment)
22nd-Nov-2004 10:33 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...interesting. I live in Warren, MI near Detroit. That's one thing I am doing is checking out local places that are in to what I might do. See if they offer any help. Where abouts was that again? East town?
22nd-Nov-2004 05:51 pm (UTC)
One problem stores like these have now is online ordering. If you know enough to do this, I would highly recommend and online store to sister your retail store. At Http://www.paypal.com they show how to make an online shopping cart, which is a really simple process of cutting and pasting. This could booster your bussiness enough to be able to keep your store open ont he retail side no matter how it did.
22nd-Nov-2004 10:33 pm (UTC)
Hehe ALready factored that in! Hehe but thanks i forgot PAYPAL was a good way to go. THANKS
22nd-Nov-2004 06:25 pm (UTC)
you know if there are any malls in your area you might want to think about renting a cart form them before you go and open a store. might be lower overhead, and a godo way to get started.
22nd-Nov-2004 10:34 pm (UTC)
thanks that is a good idea! might have to do something like that. THANKS!
22nd-Nov-2004 06:35 pm (UTC)
I think the biggest thing you need to consider (besides startup cost) is will your store provide something that no other store in the area provides? There has to be something to draw people away from the chain stores to your store. Some ideas: Miniatures painting service and/or classes; store-sponsored games; Food (not just soda & candy, why not coffee, pastries & sandwiches? Of course, that brings a whole new dimension to it); book signings/ celeb appearances; selling (used?) sci-fi & fantasy books & movies as well as gaming materials; sponsoring/ partnerships with other groups to get the word out. My son is in the gifted program at school, and every few months they have a "Family Game Night," where families bring games and every gets together and plays different games. They charge admission and raise money for the program. If there was something like that in a school nearby, you could sponsor it, or maybe host some games at it. My town also does an annual "Merchants parade" every summer. I mentioned to my local gaming store owner that he should get a few people in costume to be in the parade. He shrugged it off, but imagine the exposure! I deliver for the local Domino's, and our parade "float" was just the owner in a trailer tossing dough in the air while "That's Amore!" blasted from a 2000 watt sound system borrowed from my day job. But the reaction was incredible.

My only other advice: gamers running a gaming store is, quite literally, the inmates running the asylum. You have to treat it as a business, and think about it in business terms, in order for it to succeed and thrive. Good luck!
22nd-Nov-2004 10:39 pm (UTC)
SWEET! Very very good advice! Family night, mini painting classes, all good stuff. Coffee is a must. Hehe. Thanks so much all that you've said was a big help.
22nd-Nov-2004 07:32 pm (UTC) - Four words:
Write a business plan.
22nd-Nov-2004 10:40 pm (UTC) - Re: Four words: plus one
Write a good business plan.

23rd-Nov-2004 12:20 am (UTC)
Warren, huh? I grew up there. But that's not why I'm posting. I read the entry and the comments. Then I thought, "What type of store would I want to go to?" There are a few stores around where I live (East Lansing), but I rarely go to them. I talked about it with my wife a little and we (mostly she) came up with some good points.

Clean. Gotta be clean, especially if you're going to have food around. Make sure there are plenty of trash cans and someone to empty them. Maybe have some trays or even custom gaming tables with cup holders and stuff. Post concise rules about what can and can't be where.

Inside layout. Make sure you keep the gaming/relaxing/eating part away from the merchandise. See #1. Plus as another posted, you have to be careful of theft. I can see someone's game bag is sitting at the table and whoops, the book "fell into his bag". ;) Another reason layout is important is that it can be frustrating to wade through the gamers to get to the merchandise. If I'm a customer, I don't want to have to run the gauntlet of tables, people, etc. to get to the rack of minis at the back.

Community. If you want people to stay, it needs to be a community, not just a place to show off your new Magic cards. I really liked the idea mentioned about getting involved with the schools. "Game Night" can be fun, but be careful. Be sure to have enough "adults" or chaperones. You don't want some bossy rule-monger or kid with a twinked out deck to lessen the fun for everyone else. This might also be a good way to get kids parents involved. Try to have different ways for people to find similar minded folk. Gaming groups can be extremely different. I've been in a few groups over the years and the ones I tried in a "public" venue were the ones I left because we didn't click. There needs to be a "gaming group dating service" or something. Answer 10 questions and find a match. ;)

Business plan. Already mentioned, but a smart idea. Spell out what you want to do and how you plan to get there. "I want to have fun selling geek gear" is a noble quest, but doesn't pay the bills. =) It is encouraging that you've already started looking into things like licensing and legal issues before opening the store.

Two places in East Lansing:

They have some good qualities and some not so good ones.
Hmm. If I think of more I'll add it.
23rd-Nov-2004 11:45 am (UTC)
Completely awesomely great advice. Loving all of it. Good stuff. Ill check those sites and try and think of more ways of family night and all that later on. THANKS A LOT!
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