Starting a store.

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Starting a store.

Post by Hurricane on Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:09 pm

So, everyone is up in arms about the places we can actually game. So, I just wanted to get some opinions on a new store.

1. How much would money would someone need to start a store?
2. How do you stay in business? We all know what happened to AD, The Dragon, and Lizards on Ice. Joel has lasted a long time, but I'm guessing that maybe he has been in the same location for so long that is rent is really low. Or maybe his house is paid for?
3. Just because a a new store opens, what would make people buy from that new store? Ebay and the internet obviously is always going to be cheaper?
4. In general, if it were your store what would you do different?

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by ptlax23 on Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:33 pm

On the topic of how Joel is staying open, I have heard that he is locked into an almost nothing rent for years to come, but also his profit margin is so low that he really isn't making that much money, from what I understand it's kind of a head above water situation, the volume of sales really just isn't good enough for a new store in my opinion.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Kyle on Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:59 pm

The biggest cost of opening a retail location is the rent usually and initial start up costs associated with building up a location, repairs, supplies, licensing fees, etc.

Costs vary greatly, no way to say how much it would be as it generally takes months of research.

I've been wanting to open a shop for a while and at one point I was talking to the folks who owned the old Generations shop in Pembroke Pines about buying the store from them when they needed to close and move. Busy with the family business though I have never done more than side sales locally and internet stuff.

To me the main thing a good game store needs is gaming space. So many shops I've seen have decent amount of space but squander it with just horrible set ups that take up majority of the floorspace with crappy product displays. The other important aspect is cleanliness... I know many gamers seem to just be smelly slobs, but god damn it's not that hard to keep a place clean and inviting. I never liked Sunshine or the Dragon's Lair because of how nasty the places could be or just how nasty.... the gamers playing in them could be. I remember playing a mechwarrior tournament at the DL once sitting next to an open box of pizza missing only one slice. Hours go by and the pizza is just still sitting there in the chair next to me, and looks like it was there hours before that.

Product to sell is the difficult matter as you can see just by looking at the shops we do have in SF, that each tends to have different gamer tastes. 40k is huge at Tates for example, though they got no interest in Warmachine/Hordes, while the opposite is true for War and Pieces. W&P tried to do GW gaming for a long time, we tried some tournies and even a couple leagues but they all never took off and the tables were always taken over by the Warmachine crowd. Course this also goes into the territory of gaming space as W&P was somewhat small on room that it could not handle multiple games, and really I don't think a store can properly operate by simply depending on one product line.

You want people constantly in the store, even if they aren't all buying stuff, having people in the shop is good for looks and you are likely to get some people buying some stuff at least here and there, especially if you offer drinks and snacks. If anything the place should be a fun place to just hang out at where people can try many different games.

The wife and me have been talking for a while on opening a game store slash other things deal at some point in the future, we just are occupied with our current employment which does make us lots of money right now, so it's something we look forward doing in the future as something to keep us busy with intention of just making enough to get by, while enjoying what we do.

It's not an easy business though, thats why the wife and me have other business plans to go along with it to possibly bring in other revenue streams. Gaming is not a big money maker, as was being discussed already in the venue thread, the average mark up on gaming products is not very high compared to most retail goods. Usually retailers can double or triple markup a product they sell but with gaming your only getting an average of 40% back on an item you sell, and with how little a game store sells... that's not much money.


Last edited by Kyle on Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:15 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by luis the young on Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:02 pm

Right now is even harder to start up a new store cause the rents are stupidly high, THAT bites into most of the earnings a store gets. Joel has been on that spot sine the Jurasic period, so he must be getting a hell of a sweet deal on rent.

Gamign stores are tough to mantain, is not a cheap hobby and you need people that are willing to buy on a regular basis, Pepito coming over and buying a blister evry 3 months dont help keep a store open.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by scurrdi on Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:23 pm

The start up costs for a store is probably a fair bit of money. To throw out a random number it wouldn't surprise me if it went up past $50,000 though I imagine more.

You have to consider that you have to as close to fully stock all of the product that you plan to sell for the start date, not to mention the costs for permits (as mentioned above) and redesigning the space your looking at.

I think a couple of aspects are critical to get returning gamers to buy from a store (folks like us on the site):

Space to play, a knowledgeable and friendly owner/staff, a positive and helpful gaming environment, a clean space, and one with a variety of product available at the moment.

Location is critical to attract new customers, so somewhere on a more major road or a place with a lot of traffic (near a mall, for example) helps attract new people.


Those are my thoughts, anyways.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Kyle on Fri Jul 24, 2009 2:55 pm

A great location and major roads greatly increases the rental costs involved, and really the major reason to put a retail location in such a spot is to get the convenience traffic and drive/walk by customers.... which for gaming your not going to pull as much in.

For a gaming location it's more about being known within the community, advertising, etc. Major game stores I've found in other states that were big successes never really were in any huge traffic areas.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by scurrdi on Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:25 pm

True enough, but sometimes a good location can't hurt.

I will agree for sure that advertising and such really helps with pulling in new customers.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Ovich on Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:14 pm

I honestly don't think that a shop can survive long today without an online store. You need to sell to the global market, not just the little area of town you live in. Whether it's through your own site, like the warstore, or through an ebay store, you've got to sell more product that what comes off the shelves at your store. So that means you also need storage space to put inventory in, which is not as expensive as the store, but still a cost.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Dan on Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:20 pm

Everyones' ideas are great. To add my 2 cents, Space is primary. When I think of one of the cons that can't be helped at sunshine "Space" is at the top of the list.

Not only space to play games BUT enough space so that while games are being played, customers can still browse the shop without having to rub up against the gamers at their tables.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Warbird on Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:58 pm

Obviously I don't know how Miniwargaming.com is doing financially however from the videos they post and there whole expansion thing it seems as if there doing well. I think that if you wanted to open a largeish store like that it would be the best way to go offer a discount, have an online store, and have a really strong online community. Even though I don't play 40k or Fantasy I still find some of their videos entertaining and what not. Just my 2 cents....
-Rob

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Kyle on Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:15 pm

Few stores seem to do discounts on gaming products, I guess it's that they feel they can't afford it with how little they generally make on the products in the first place, but with how often most stores have dust gathering games on the shelves, it would be in the best interests.

Also stores need to do what other retailers, and have sales! Special offers, clearance sales, coupons, etc. You might not make a whole lot, but at least your selling something, moving product, making shelf space. At our business we have put tons of items for sale at below our costs just to get them out the door, it's better to at least get some money in our pockets than have shit sitting on shelves for years doing nothing.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by scurrdi on Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:09 pm

The stores that do really well don't offer a daily discount, but usually have a series of discounts on particular occasions (such as Black Friday, mini-conventions, etc.)

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Beornegar Granitebrow on Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:54 pm

Warbird wrote:Obviously I don't know how Miniwargaming.com is doing financially however from the videos they post and there whole expansion thing it seems as if there doing well. I think that if you wanted to open a largeish store like that it would be the best way to go offer a discount, have an online store, and have a really strong online community. Even though I don't play 40k or Fantasy I still find some of their videos entertaining and what not. Just my 2 cents....
-Rob

Don't the Miniwargaming guys run the store through the guise of a club? Maybe they are collecting membership dues...

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Kyle on Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:27 pm

Online stores can also get away with lots of things such as not reporting taxes and such as it's really hard to track internet transactions.

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Re: Starting a store.

Post by Warbird on Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:45 pm

Beornegar Granitebrow wrote:
Warbird wrote:Obviously I don't know how Miniwargaming.com is doing financially however from the videos they post and there whole expansion thing it seems as if there doing well. I think that if you wanted to open a largeish store like that it would be the best way to go offer a discount, have an online store, and have a really strong online community. Even though I don't play 40k or Fantasy I still find some of their videos entertaining and what not. Just my 2 cents....
-Rob

Don't the Miniwargaming guys run the store through the guise of a club? Maybe they are collecting membership dues...

Umm... I have no idea. However, even if they did I still think that what I said earlier still is true they just may be making even more money.

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