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Subject: Bringing a Board Game Cafe to the Triangle (NC) Area rss

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Rob Reinhardt
United States
Fuquay-Varina
North Carolina
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After a year and a half of research, we are moving forward with plans to open a Board Game Cafe in the Triangle area of NC and we would love your feedback. We're conducting a survey to provide us insight in deciding about things like location and menu. Please feel free to mention this to everyone that might be interested as we'd like to hear from not just board game geeks, but also "casual gamers". We intend to create an atmosphere welcoming to all!

Thank you for providing your feedback and spreading the word!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V5D6LDY



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Justin Case
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
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Permit me to assist; you have to use the BGG linky widget to get y'alltube videos to play:

Quote:
[Now-redundant video replaced with entertaining film of me instead....]



I really like your idea, even though I live just a little too far away to be a patron myself, being in the Triad.

cool

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Sherri Fillingham
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No longer in the area, but still have some ties there. I will try and get my game loving friends to respond to your survey.

Best of luck.

(I miss the game stores there ... the community surrounding them was outstanding.)
 
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Rob Reinhardt
United States
Fuquay-Varina
North Carolina
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Thank you Justin! I actually did use the YouTube thinga-ma-bob. I even watched as it generated the code in my post. Oddness!

I just edited my post to see if it was a temporary glitch. I clicked the "Tube" button, entered the URL... ah.. is that the trick.. it says enter the ID, not the link....

Thank you for helping me find my user error!
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Rob Reinhardt
United States
Fuquay-Varina
North Carolina
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Thank you, Sherri! Perhaps you'll get to stop in if you come back to visit?

We love the game stores here and hope to collaborate with them!
 
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Christopher Hill
United States
Wilmington
North Carolina
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Rob,

Awesome! I have always had this dream too, but unfortunately have never been in a position financially to pursue it. Your vision is very much in line with mine as well.

When I looked into this dream years ago I discovered that a main key to a new business' success is an accessible, convenient location and plenty of parking.

Anyway, I know our gaming crew here in Wilmington, NC will be sure to take a road trip and visit.

I wish you and Kelly all the best in your endeavor!
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Rob Reinhardt
United States
Fuquay-Varina
North Carolina
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Thank you, Chris! We have a long list of criteria for location, including the ones you mention. So many factors to consider it can be mind-boggling. It's a significant challenge to balance visibility/convenience with budget, but we're determined!

We'll have to have a special Wilmington road trip celebration game day at the cafe at some point. See you in September!
 
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Justin Case
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
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icarus wrote:
Thank you Justin! I actually did use the YouTube thinga-ma-bob. I even watched as it generated the code in my post. Oddness!

I just edited my post to see if it was a temporary glitch. I clicked the "Tube" button, entered the URL... ah.. is that the trick.. it says enter the ID, not the link....

Thank you for helping me find my user error!

Glad to help anytime; I've removed my copy of the video so as not to have it needlessly duplicated on the page.

cool

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Mason Rouser
United States
Johnstown
Pennsylvania
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I might be moving to the area, and someone in the last place I lived tried this and it bombed for a few reasons that were certainly avoidable.

1) Have a business plan, and be willing to share it if you are going to ask for backing (KS, IGG).

2) Your core consumer group is not going to be people who need to "rent" games, but people who own games and need a place to gather. $5 a pop is going to add up quickly. A pricing plan that would encourage groups to meet regularly would be serve you in the long run. Purchase minimums on food and drink or credit towards an item with admission. While some people don't mind paying a small premium for gaming, I've been in groups where they will show up for free at Starbuck's, but won't pay a $2 toward renting a hall for the night - this would be the "I like to game but I don't buy them or go to BGG" crowd.

3) Don't get carried away with too many ideas at the beginning. Pie in the sky ideas mean nothing without execution. Start modest, and start with a plan (point 1).

I do wish you good fortune and hope you can make it happen for gamers.
 
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Rob Reinhardt
United States
Fuquay-Varina
North Carolina
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Mason, definitely be in touch if you move to the area. There's a great group of gamers and opportunities for gaming here.

Thank you for the excellent feedback. It's consistent with what we've found through research. We have a solid business plan and are in the process of securing funding. We felt pretty positive about our plan when none of the bankers we initially approached gave an immediate "No."

Regarding your second point, we already have plans for a membership program as well as discounts for groups, especially those that hold regular groups there. The food and beverage piece gets a bit more tricky since F&B comes with its own costs and a purchase still doesn't keep people from sticking around for hours (which we want to welcome). We are exploring possibilities there, however. All things we'll be further fleshing out as we get survey results and nail down a location.

Thank you again for the thoughts and let us know if you're ever in the area!
 
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shumyum
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Awesome! Looking forward to visiting when I'm in the area.

Somehow advertising to business travelers/gamers might be beneficial. I really have no idea how you would do that, though.

thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
 
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M M

Chapel Hill
North Carolina
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I live in Chapel Hill and I think a board game cafe would be great, but you should be aware of the competition:

- Atomic Empire (Durham) serves drinks & snacks and has a huge board game collection and space to play, for free
- Gamer's Armory (Cary) also has a huge free-to-use game collection with space to play
- Game Theory (Raleigh) hosts game nights and has plenty of coffee & snacks
- Atomic Fern Social Club (Durham), which is a board game social club. You pay $3 for a lifetime membership and then you can come there and play games all the time. They have their own collection as well
- Market Street Coffeehouse (Chapel Hill, Elliot Rd.), has a collection of 50+ quality games, free to play

Then there's places without game collections that host board game nights weekly like Looking Glass Cafe in Carrboro (people bring own games), Carolina Ale House in Chapel Hill (organizer brings MANY games), Aloft Durham (organizer brings MANY games), World of Beer in Cary (organizer brings MANY games), Francesca's Dessert Cafe in Durham (people bring own games).

These are the ones I know about, but there's probably more, especially since I don't venture out to Raleigh enough to know about events in that area.

I think given this level of competition, a $5 entry fee paid each time might make groups choose other locations.
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Yours Truly,
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Achire wrote:
I live in Chapel Hill and I think a board game cafe would be great, but you should be aware of the competition:

- Atomic Empire (Durham) serves drinks & snacks and has a huge board game collection and space to play, for free
- Gamer's Armory (Cary) also has a huge free-to-use game collection with space to play
- Game Theory (Raleigh) hosts game nights and has plenty of coffee & snacks
- Atomic Fern Social Club (Durham), which is a board game social club. You pay $3 for a lifetime membership and then you can come there and play games all the time. They have their own collection as well
- Market Street Coffeehouse (Chapel Hill, Elliot Rd.), has a collection of 50+ quality games, free to play

Then there's places without game collections that host board game nights weekly like Looking Glass Cafe in Carrboro (people bring own games), Carolina Ale House in Chapel Hill (organizer brings MANY games), Aloft Durham (organizer brings MANY games), World of Beer in Cary (organizer brings MANY games), Francesca's Dessert Cafe in Durham (people bring own games).

These are the ones I know about, but there's probably more, especially since I don't venture out to Raleigh enough to know about events in that area.

I think given this level of competition, a $5 entry fee paid each time might make groups choose other locations.


Game Theory in addition to what you said also has a free-to-use game library and plenty of tables, and encourages pop-in gaming as long as they don't have an event scheduled.

I agree that with all of the game stores that have free-to-use libraries, $5 to use another library might be a tough sell. Not sure what could make it worth it. Maybe if there was an online inventory, so that you could tell ahead of time that there was a game you wanted to play? And an option to reserve it?
 
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Rob Reinhardt
United States
Fuquay-Varina
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I'm not sure why I didn't get a notification about these latest posts last year.

In any case, excellent points. As long time board gamers and residents of the area we're well acquainted with the wonderful selection of game stores, venues and other opportunities here. We think that's a sign that there's significant demand for comfortable gaming venues, and plenty of room for another.

More directly to your question, it's THE question every business has to ask itself. Why will people buy our product? Why will they come to our business? In our case, must of the answer is similar to why people still pay $10+ to go to the movies, $100 for a 2 hour concert..it's often the experience and the atmosphere.

More to the point, we will offer all of the following. Some of the venues in the area offer some of these things as well. But I'm not aware of any that offer all:

- Over 500 Games in the Library
- It's board game day/night, every day
- New (including popular Kickstarter) games when they come out
- A welcoming, comforting atmosphere, even for "casual gamers" and suitable for gaming groups to meet, but also for family games, date night, and more
- Employees who can help people choose a game and even teach it to them, whether it's a classic, or the new "hotness".
- Coffee-based drinks made fresh from locally roasted coffee; as well as teas, smoothies, milkshakes
- Locally sourced baked goods
- Panini made in house

And there will be options to defray the $5 cost, especially for those who visit frequently.

There are additional items and intangibles we'll be able to talk more about once we finally nail down a location which, as expected, has been an adventure.
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