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Subject: How far would you drive for a good game store? rss

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Jeremy Dorman
United States
Maryland
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I'm looking into opening a game store in a remote area of the U.S, with several small cities (pops ranging from 3k-12k) within a 25-35 minute radius. The closest store at this time to these locations is over an hour away. My store would provide a full game store service to these cities with a maximum drive of 35 minutes, with most cities only being 10-20 minutes away.

Would you be willing to drive these distances if this was your only physical game store option?

Thank you for responding!

(I don't want to reveal the location yet, so please don't ask!)
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Jacob Schoberg
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Elkhorn
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I live in a remote area and drive to game stores 30-60 minutes away without an issue. Not that I go to a game store weekly for events or anything, but sometimes I just want to browse around.

I think generally people who live in small towns / urban areas are used to driving a bit to get to something like that. Not sure how that distance would affect events, though.

Good luck!
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United States
Wurtsboro
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When we lived in Ithaca, we would drive to Rochester, about 2 hours away, and Syracuse/Binghamton, each over an hour away. Here, we drive 2 hours to Albany and Binghamton. 35 mins is nothing.
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Richard Roberts
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East Windsor
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I'd say about 45 minutes. Otherwise I'd hit a local group, or Barnes and Noble if I'm jonesing to own a game NOW!!!
 
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Joe Salamone
United States
Billerica
Massachusetts
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For me, the distance isn't as important as how much traffic and aggravation I would need to deal with to get there. I would rather spend an hour driving to a store located in an area with moderate traffic and plenty of parking than spend 30 minutes driving to a store in a congested area where I might need to drive around for a while trying to find a parking spot.
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James C
United States
Great Falls
Virginia
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I don't think a 30 minute drive is unreasonable. But, you better have cool events and friendly, knowledgeable staff or for a lot of people one trip will be enough.
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Jeremy Dorman
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emodiu5 wrote:
I think generally people who live in small towns / urban areas are used to driving a bit to get to something like that. Not sure how that distance would affect events, though.

Good luck!


Yes, I plan on making the store event heavy. I feel this is the biggest way to engage the community and get them to the store. If people are only looking to make a purchase, they'll do it online to save money.
I want to provide weekend RPG sessions (D&D, Pathfinder, DCC, FF Star Wars, etc), X-Wing and Armada Tournaments, MTG FNM and other MTG events. I also plan on providing board game rentals for those who don't want to invest $50-100 for a game night event, and have pay-to-play Saturdays, where Gamers can hang out and play store-owned games all day for a low price.
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Jeremy Dorman
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SuperGLS wrote:
I don't think a 30 minute drive is unreasonable. But, you better have cool events and friendly, knowledgeable staff or for a lot of people one trip will be enough.


I agree most whole-heartedly, sir!
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United States
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SuperGLS wrote:
I don't think a 30 minute drive is unreasonable. But, you better have cool events and friendly, knowledgeable staff or for a lot of people one trip will be enough.


And a clean bathroom, especially for those of us who have long drives.
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Jeff Saxton
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St. Louis
Missouri
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I've driven up to five hours for a special hobby shop, but for gaming, maybe an hour tops, and it better be good. I am spoiled now, I live less than two miles from Miniature Market.

[I'm an outlier though, I once drove from St. Louis to Poughkeepsie, New York, to pick up an eBay purchase that was too delicate and valuable to ship.]
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John Breckenridge
United States
Richmond
Rhode Island
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Maybe. It depends on the store. I currently live in a small rural area and do most of my game shopping online. If a store was offering something worth driving for, I'd try it out.
 
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Chris Graves
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Oregon
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I'd happily drive 30 minutes to a good game store. What about comics, too?
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United States
New York
New York
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For me, it would depend on how large their inventory was and how many, if any, old and used games they also sold. Small inventory of games mostly available online: I wouldn't drive far at all. Unique games by indie publishers and/or old used game bin (with more than just scrap heap games): 45 minutes mayyyybeeee an hour.
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The Shirezu
United States
Seattle
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I regularly drive 30 min or more to my local game stores. Sure I can get things online, which I mostly do, but if I want to browse or test games out I'll go there. I've never walked away without a game or two.

As Joe said above the big thing for me is parking. My favourite game store only recently got it's own small parking lot, still too small in my opinion, and that's a huge factor in limiting how often I go there. There's been times I've really wanted a specific game and didn't want to wait for shipping but because I was unable to park I ended up leaving in frustration and getting in online.
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Brent Case
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I live in Page, Arizona, and the closest brick and mortar game store to me is in Tempe, AZ., about 4 hours away. There used to be one in Flagstaff, AZ, that I would sometimes drive to (it's 2 hours away), but they went out of business in 2004. So it's a rare treat for me to get to go to a brick and mortar game store. I get most of my games online.
 
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Phillip Harpring
United States
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I drive 30 minutes every week to get to my local meetup at a FLGS.
 
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William Chew
United States
Concord Township
Ohio
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15 minutes
 
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Daniel Ashton
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California
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I have lived both in big cities and rural parts of the country. While I lived in rural areas, I would routinely drive 30+ minutes to get to a decent Target and/or mall. I would most certainly drive that distance for a good game store.
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Jeff Rietveld
United States
Zeeland
Michigan
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In our store, we found a 20 minute drive was quite acceptable for most people - but only when the weather was nice. When we had periods of bad winter weather, we lost a lot of sales to delivered-to-your-door-online-purchases, and we completely understood.
Our most loyal customers still wanted that new game, but there was yet another foot of snow on the ground. I wouldn't want to drive that.
There are definitely diminishing returns as customers live further away, but we pretty constantly get people driving from 1+ hours away.
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Robert Lesco
Canada
Brampton
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I think I am not alone when I say I dream of having a good game store within 35 minutes of home.

It helps take the sting out when I make it a combined purpose trip.
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Steve C
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I've found myself driving 30+ minutes to a "nearby" FLGS since the only ones in my neck of the woods offer no discounts, very few events (none that I'd want to attend) and don't seem to be very knowledgeable about the games other than to say "I think you'd love it, you should get it."

The length of the drive has a direct correlation to how often I will go, not if I would go or not. I'm willing to drive the extra distance to talk to an employee that isn't trying to quickly sell me something and then get me out.

The discounts offered are just extra incentive for me to not order online, supporting local and all that stuff. Even if they were full price, I'd pay it to be able to talk to someone and see the box in person, but like the drive, the price would impact how often I would buy things.

Bonus points if there are a couple tables for open play and even more bonus points if there are some games available to play. This would give me and my friends a place to meet in the middle, without requiring us to host an event.
 
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Emperors Grace
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Rexford
New York
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Depends if I'm going for an event or just to shop. I'm willing to go up to an hour to shop, further for a event of some kind.

For most of my stuff I go to a place that's about 10 mins form my work, 45 from home, mostly friendly, and offers a good loyalty discount.

I also occasionally go to the place that's about 20 minutes from both my home and work. It has better stock buts offers a largely similar discount with coupon (and has limits/minimums on such coupon at times), and is (IMO) slightly less friendly (certain staff).


 
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karl paulsen

Chicago
Illinois
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I'm in Chicago and from time to time I drive the 30 miles to visit "Games Plus" in Mt. Prospect which depending on traffic is anywhere from 45-80 minutes.

It's a flipping awesome store though -probably the best in the State- and the only game store I visit with any regularity. There are quite a few closer stores that aren't as good and unless I happen to be in the neighborhood I don't really bother with them.
 
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Paradox Games
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I travel an hour.
 
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M Campbell
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Maryland
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I might drive an hour to check out a new store, but it would have to be within 30 minutes for me to regularly visit. You're from MD? Where will the store be?
 
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