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Opening Game Shop in Chelsea, OK USA?

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JPOG
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hello all =) Though not everything is currently true as of right now, it easily could be, so I'd like to approach this from the hypothetical angle that its all as stated. I'm thinking about opening up a game shop to sell board games, rpgs and card games and I guess minis.

I already have a source of income, so I do NOT *rely* on the idea of this game shop to do anything but break even or make a small profit - if it becomes too much of a hassle, I'd just close it; I'm basically looking for something to generate a little extra money and give me something to do.

I own a building on Main Street in my small hometown (about 2600 pop) in a county of about 70,000 in northeast Oklahoma, between Vinita and Claremore, on Rt. 66, about 45 minutes from Tulsa. The building is about 120 feet total length and about 22 feet in width, with about 19 feet of usable interior width by 24 feet interior length (24x19). The building has a 6x2 sturdy counter with shelves and has a few latticework dividers about 4 feet tall, which can be removed if needed. There are four large pegboard squares on the walls - 2 to each.

A sidewalk runs directly in front of this building and during parades and events the sidewalk and Main Street is usually packed. The building was a gun/pawn shop and has bars on the windows and door and was later a restaurant, then my aunt's screenprinting/gift shop business and now is currently just storing crap. The building sits between a movie rental store and the local newspaper and on either side of them sit restaurants, with most of the other businesses just up the street a bit.

Pictures:
http://www.zanysite.com/jp/gameshopfloorplan.png
http://www.zanysite.com/jp/gameshopchelsea.jpg

I will be LIVING IN the back part of the building, so utilities and such will be shared, so I won't have any "just game shop" expenses in these areas, so some of the formulas and guidelines don't really apply as normal. Basically I'm buying the building, dividing off about 24 feet into a storefront, and living in the rest, though I could make the store somewhat bigger if it is necessary.

So, I've been advised to carry about 10 of the most popular rpg core books, MTG and maybe 1-2 other CCGs, a selection of Minis and tabletop related figures/games, and then I would also like to sell board games, some traditional, some new and novel. I'd like to keep things as simple as I possibly can. What other advice, ideas, comments, does anyone have? How do you find distributors and/or what good prices for games, ccgs, etc are, how much do you buy things for and how much do you retail them for, etc? Thank you for your time. -JP

Dralius
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Opening Game Shop in Chelsea, OK USA?

Darn! When I saw your post I thought Chelsea MI which is a small town near me best know for its celebrity resident Jeff Daniels and his Purple rose theater.

Good luck with your new store. Chelsea looks very small; I hope you can draw in business from surrounding areas. Don’t forget to promote your products by having regular events like competitions or a “learn a new game night”.

As far as price goes you should not be paying more than %40-50 SRP for your products. If you are then find a new source. I don’t have a distributor and have never work with one because of the small volumes of product I produce; I can’t lend you any advice on how to get hold of one. If you are interested in carrying Cannon which you can see here http://www.pyromythgames.com/products/product.html write me at service at pyromythgames dot com and we can work out a deal.

What you retail products for is going to depend on your competition in the area. Many stores charge the SRP just because they need that much return to keep the doors open.

These are the things that make a game store great other than carry good products.

1. Clean and organized; I want to find the product on my own, if it is covered with dust it makes it look like no one wants this product.
2. Friendly knowledgeable staff; It’s not a always easy to be upbeat but your business depends on you being able to chat with you customers about what they want and direct them to it, I know I spent 10 years working in retail. Get to know not only your products but what other products are out there.
3. Special orders; you can’t carry everything but you can order it for them. Make sure you let people know you will do this and follow through on it.
4. Play space; if you have room for a table or two so people can come in to play that is great. Also a bulletin board is nice so people can post when they will be there to play. Post a set of rules so people know what is appropriate behavior. This is mostly to help keep kids in line but adults can be worse. Having the rules posted keeps people from feeling they are being picked on.

In addition I think you should keep it family friendly; allot of fantasy art is large breasted women in tight armor. Don’t display posters or other materials that will keep mom or grandma for bringing the kids in.

Once again Good Luck.

Hegemon
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Opening Game Shop in Chelsea, OK USA?

Here is a on-line list of US distributors that between them should be able to supply you with what you're interested in:

http://www.gtmguide.com/distlisting/hobbydist.htm

Contact those that seem promising and get their terms. These tend to be pretty standard but each distributor has a different price point for shipping discounts and some will naturally be closer to you geographically providing faster delivery.

Typical advice would be to scout out the competition and see what they're doing, then either do the same thing but be better at it, or do something completely different so you're not directly competing. For example, if your local Wal-Mart carries Pokemon cards, you're probably not going to beat them on price so you need to offer exceptional service (or some other draw) to CCG fans to come to your store OR carry something different altogether.

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