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joshuaslater

Another FLGS closes.

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I just got word that Abington Games is closing around here. I've bought loads of Reaper from them and am sad to hear they are closing. Here's the announcement from them:

 

"Dear Friends:

 

This is a difficult weekly email to send. Abington Games is going out of business. This makes us the third local game store to close this year (Round Table Games in Conshohocken and Dimension Collectibles in Ambler). Between the forces of online sales, our attempts to run this part-time, and the current state of the economy, we can't continue the business.

 

However, there are some benefits to you - we need to liquidate inventory, so there is a 30% off sale on almost everything in the store! We have loads of miniatures and board games and want to give you the chance to pick them up.

 

We will continue to be open for a while now - I expect through September. We will continue to offer gaming space for you to play your games and have some fun.

 

We entered this for the love of gaming, but we are not business people and did not give it the full time attention that it needs. I am saddened by the closing, but thankful of the new friends I made and the bonds that were stengthened through gaming.

 

IF anyone seriously wants to buy the store from us and can give it the care and attention it deserves, please contact one of us - we'd be happy to talk about it.

 

The Professor"

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It seems like something from a bygone era. I don't think a gamestore is a viable business anymore, and wouldn't go near it with a ten foot dungeon pole.

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I looked into opening up my own game store here in Tulsa. I spent a couple of weeks looking for a good location, cheap rent, contacting game companies, the whole nine yards. I even worked up a handy dandy spreadsheet to help calculate my montly expenses just so I could have a guesstimate as to how much I would have to sell in order to break even. I was also working on a proposal similar in style to what you can find on the Small Business Administration website.

 

While this may sound strange, I was not looking to use this store as a way to pay off all of my personal bills. I figured I would have had to be open 2-3 years before I really started making a good profit. While I would be maintaining my current day job (thank you awesome benefits! :wub:), I planned on having a full time employee during the day. Then I would show up after I got off of work here and take over for the evening. I even had someone lined up and ready to go. But, I just couldn't get the numbers to really work out in my favor enough to get a bank to give me the money I needed to get the store started. :down:

 

So, my dream of my own store is not dead, but just dormant. I am hoping that I somehow win money from the Powerball or something (yes, I am playing $1 a week ::P:) just so I can open it. My guess is that you almost have to be independently wealthy in order to open a store like that. It is very difficult to convince a bank to loan you the money because it is not a common enough type of store for them to really understand what you are talking about. Basically, if anyone out there has about $100K just laying around that they are willing to donate to my cause, I would be most appreciative. :wub: That would enable me to stay open for upwards of 3 years no problem. ::):

 

Anyways, I'm sorry to hear that you are running out of game stores in your area. We have a few stores that will sell certain aspects of the gaming business, but in my opinion, there is only one true game store here in Tulsa. I was looking to be the second (but obviously more awesome :lol:).

 

Wild Bill :blues:

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wildbill, you're SMART and can see the numbers having looked into it. Everyone here knows I'm not the swiftest cat, even on a good day, but I can see the trend being an insane swim against the current. I'm having a moritorium on spending on pewter right now. I already have enough to paint for the rest of my life. I wonder how many others here on the consumer end have recalculated their hobby budget in light of the current mess.

 

Luckily, my Bathalian Darkspawn army isn't a lot of models, and I should be able to buy one a month to fill out the force sometime next year.

 

Sigh.

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I've always thought about opening a game store here in Ontario. I know there is a base of gamers here, just no centralize location for everyone to really get to know each other exists (well outside of friendships & such). About the closest thing we have is a card shop that can get the collectible mini games & WoTC of course. If it weren't for him I'd probably wouldn't have as many D&D books as I do (which in some cases can be looked at both ways, ha ha.

 

Of course the cash to open said store is something I'd have to come up with first. That & for some reason the city of Ontario wants new business in town but damn do they go about not wanting new business to open up.........

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I think therein lies the basic problem. Gamers are a difficult crowd overall to deal with. They want instant gratification on whatever game/line they're interested in, but don't want to pay for it. I'm part of the problem and have changed accordingly.

 

I now buy my CAV direct from Reaper. The Crusader is assembled and daring me to prime and paint it. If I want to see more from them, it's better to invest in the new stuff straight from them, and just buy in smaller dosages.

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I think Heisler is right - running a store is hard, but trying to run one part time as a side business makes things even more difficult.

 

I see this a lot in my industry, car washes. We have a lot of Doctors. Lawyers and Pilots who think they can open up a car wash, and simply go down once a week to pick up their quarters. The only ones who truly make it successful are the ones who devote the resources needed - either themselves, or by hiring people to run it for them.

 

Game stores are the same way, IMO - if you pick the right location, and really dedicate the resources needed to it, they should do well for you. If you short cut any of it, you're going to have problems.

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Maine's managed to lose four gaming stores in the past couple of years. Maiden Games, The Keep, Witz End, and Zimmie's Comics and Games have all closed their doors for one reason or another and there's probably more since we don't get a lot of gaming news from the northern part of the state. Stunned is the best word to describe the closing of Zimmie's in Lewiston because it was one of what we thought of as one of the bigger stores in the state.

 

A lot of staying open and staying in the black for a gaming store has been the requirement to constantly evolve. You can't just stick to one or two types of product and expect to survive when you've got online retailers and retail chains selling lower than you can even think about. Sometimes it's a forced evolution, like our starting to carry comic books (The Keep was Brunswick's comic book and 40k store) and sometimes it a dive into unknown waters (like ordering a bunch of RCon Sophies and Sophie collections) and hoping for the best. Constantly looking for new avenues to explore/exploit to keep the money flowing in the right directions.

 

It helps when you've got loyal customers who understand what's going on. Point out occasionally that you're sorry you can't give a better price, but you are providing a place to play which is growing more and more rare. If they know you've got expenses other than just stock sometimes they're considerate enough to take note and maybe spend a little less online and little more in store.

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It seems like something from a bygone era. I don't think a gamestore is a viable business anymore, and wouldn't go near it with a ten foot dungeon pole.

 

There are several very viable, very vibrant and very alive stores in the SF Bay Area. I, myself have - shock! - thought of getting out of my current grind and seeing if I could start one up in my own neighborhood. We're right in a place with lots of kids, but far between the major players in the area.

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It helps when you've got loyal customers who understand what's going on.

Agreed with all your points. However, you failed to mention one of the most important things that gains you loyal customers. Good Customer Service.

 

That is really important in this day and age of internet sales. Brick and Mortar stores can almost always out-compete online stores in this regard - IF they try.

 

Simple things - like knowing customers names, learning their preferred games, tipping them off to upcoming releases they may like, handling special orders promptly, etc - all of that and more is where a small shop can blow the online and big box retailers away.

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Customer service and game space I think is what makes a game store. I have been to some were the people are rude and I don't go back. If i want no service I can order online.

 

What I don't understand is why all retail game stores don't set up an online store. I have read so many places were they talk about online stores hurting them. Well why not have one of your own.

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There are two very viable shops nearby. Neither is really local to my house, but one is within a few minutes drive of the office and the other is within a few minutes drive of one of my best friends' house, so I can get to either pretty easily.

 

The one close to the office I've been doing business with for nearly ten years. They are slowly expanding their ability to handle mail order/online orders and are taking steps to be able to sell more product lines than they have ever made available before. General 308 has it right. Customer Service is key. If you know your clientele and know the products they are interested in, you will go far. If you're in it to get Rich Quick, you can forget about it. But if you're in it because you love games, you might just pull it off.

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If you're in it to get Rich Quick, you can forget about it. But if you're in it because you love games, you might just pull it off.

I agree with you about if you're in it to get rich quick, forget it. But I've met quite a few people who are in it because they love games, and that appears to be their only reason. I don't think it's enough, though. You have to have some business sense, too. It really helps if you love games, but it's not a requirement, if you have the business acumen to do what's required to make a business successful, you can make it in the game business.

 

The people who have both have the advantage.

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I really hope that someone considers buying the business from them :unsure:

If there were already 2 other local stores near them that closed and a new owner can give the store full time attention, then maybe the store can thrive.

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