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Subject: What would you stock your store with? rss

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Flip Florey
United States
Brewer
Maine
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Hello everyone,

I am working on a business plan to open a game store in my area. I have reached the point where I need to think about my opening stock. I have sat down a written a few lists about what I would like to have in my store but I find myself thinking "Wait! I need that game, and I need one of those!". And pretty soon I have a list that is 8 feet long and there is no way I would be able to order all of it and run an effective store.

I realize there are game stores out there that concentrate on certain genres and that works for them. But starting out I need to have all the old reliables and also enough stock that is well rounded so I can please my target audience(s).

I figure that I don't need to target the hardcore gamers. They will generally hunt down your store anyway. I am looking to have 3/4ths of my stock to make the hardcores happy and the other 1/4th will be dedicated to gateway gamers and soccer moms that want their kids to pick up a hobby that will work their kids brain instead of vegitating.

I guess this rambling post boils down to the question...

What should I stock to make the gateway gamers happy and/or kids happy?

Thanks ahead of time,
-Flip
-Game Knight of Maine
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Thomas Taylor
United States
Castro Valley
California
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Take a look at what people/gamers in your area are playing and that will give you a good starting point.

I would say a few copies of TTR and a few copies of most of the gateway games, and one or two copies of the new release hotness should help your store the most in the short term.

Recommendations:

Basic Staple Stuff:
TTR
Carcassonne
Blokus
Lost Cities
Settlers
Bohnanza
Kingsburg
Can't Stop
Acquire
Axis & Allies
War of the Ring

Newer Hotness
Agricola
Pandemic
Red November
Le Havre
Dominion
Dust
Ghost Stories
Steam
Caylus
Galaxy Trucker
Imperial
Starcraft

Stuff to mix it up (mostly gamewright stuff)
Tiki Topple
Hula Hippos
Pool Sharks
Loot
On the Dot

But I'm just speculating as a non-store owner.
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Farid Widjaya
United States
Lancaster
Pennsylvania
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I'll start the list off:

Abstracts
Chess
Go
Blokus
Blokus Trigon
Ingenious
GIPF

Standards
Settlers + Expansions
Carcassone + Expansions
Ticket to Ride, TTR:E, TTR: Marklin
Puerto Rico
Risk
Acquire
Axis and Allies
Scrabble
Monopoly

'Family' games
Zooloretto
Pirate's Cove
Stone Age
Cleopatra and Society of Architects
Wasabi!
Chinatown

'Newer' Games
Power Grid
Agricola
Dominion
Battlelore
Memoir 44
Galaxy Trucker
Railroad Tycoon
Age of Empires III
Pillars of the Earth
Kingsburg
Heroscapes series

Co-op
Battlestar Galactica
Pandemic
Shadows over Camelot
Arkham Horror

'Epic' games
Twilight Imperium
Starcraft
Through the Ages
Cosmic Encounter
War of the Ring
Decent: Journeys in the dark

Card Games
Tichu
No, Thanks
For Sale
Bang
Coloretto
Bohnanza
Citadels

'Party' Games
Apples to apples
Say Anything
Wits and Wagers
Cash & Guns
Incan Gold
Time's Up

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Brigette Anderson
United States
The Colony
Texas
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My husband is in the nascent stages of opening a game shop as well, so we've just been through a lot of this sort of thing. I'm happy to pass on a couple of tips that we discovered.

I'd actually say don't bother with stuff like Monopoly or Risk. Sure they are classics, but you will never be able to compete with Wal Mart on those games. Besides they aren't that well respected any longer. In fact, take a look at what's available at Wal Mart and Target and pretty much stay away from those games (the exception is maybe Wits & Wagers which Target carries but doesn't discount all that much, so you can be competitive).

Also, bear in mind that not every distributor carries every game. Many have exclusive deals with particular game manufacturers. So to be truly comprehensive, you'd need to have an account with several distributors. The downside there is that your buying power will be diluted (especially as you are starting out) since the wholesale discount you receive is typically based on how much product you purchase from a given distributor in a given timeframe. So you may want to select a single distributor to start out and that may limit which games you can get.

Also, because of how the discount level is set, consider purchasing your initial stock just before the end of the quarter. Distributors adjust your discount every quarter so if you do that, you will likely get the higher tier discount fairly quickly and be able to use it for your restock through essentially your first quarter of operation.

Finally, prepare to be frustrated. The truth is that you may not be able to get certain games because the distributor is out of stock. This is particularly a problem for the new hotness that everyone really wants. Case in point is Dominion which has been TOS since November or so.

Good luck.

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Adam Skinner
United States
Seven Hills
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I think to really have success with the board game crowd, you need to offer substantial perks. And by this, I mean opening the store for them to use as a venue to regularly play in. Hosting regular game events.

The fact of the matter is that brick and mortar game shops can't compete with prices online. The majority of the people here buy from places like Boards and Bits or Thoughthammer, and unless you can meet or exceed those discounts, they're not going to buy from your shop. "Hardcore gamers" don't buy games based on how cool the cover looks; they buy based on ratings, reviews, experience, and hype.

But if you provide a venue for them to gather, they'll guilt buy. Don't ask for anything from them, don't charge a fee, just host them and kindly give them freely what costs you nothing: open space in your store. Keep the hotness in stock, and they'll pick it up from you if you give them a semi-reasonable discount (15-25%).

The other cases where a hardcore gamer would buy stuff from a B&M are:

* buying based on ideals ("I need to support my B&M shops, or else they'll go away! [so what?]")
* buying based on convenience ("I'm visiting my parent's house and I'd like to play some games with them but I haven't brought any with me [D'oh!]. I'll pick something up at a local game store")
* buying a hard to acquire game ("I can't find this anywhere online! Sweet!")
* buying on sale ("40-50% off sale? Nice! This was on my want-list anyway!")
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Flip Florey
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Brewer
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Lots of great points here. Thought I should respond.

Yes I will stock CCG's of all flavors and minis as well. I probably won't go crazy with the minis because there is a store in town and that is all they do. Personally I think that is a mistake on their part. But better for me. But I believe any gamestore should have some space dedicated to mini's. How many of you have bought a mini just cause it was cool looking and then actually created an RPG character based around it?

I will host events. I have heard from more than one source (fellow game store owners in this state). That the key to running a succesful store is hosting events everyday (if you can).

I also plan on having unique services and promos. I am toying with the idea of doing board and card game rentals. Why not try out Battlestar Galactia before you buy? I know I have been interested in it, but was too scared to plop down the $50-$60 that it would of taken to find out.

And plenty of in store game demos. I have read reports that if a person just handles a product, gets a chance to look at it and touch it with their bare hands they have a sense of ownership and are 3 times as willing to buy. I am actually going to design my counter to have a place on it where we will demo "The game of the week". I know I would be a sucker to buy something if I actually got a chance to look at the bits and pieces and/or card art.

Plus many more things. Got plenty of projects on the back burners.
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Tom Hancock
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Charleston
West Virginia
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I wouldn't concentrate on board games. I am going to get jumped on for this (it is boardgamegeek) but board games are not and have never been the big moneymakers in game stores. You selectively do board games and mostly stick to CCGs, miniatures (both collectible and warhammer style games) and support that with RPG books and boardgames.

I would only buy board games that 1. hot new boardgames 2. boardgames that appeal to your non-boardgamers(you can sell descent to RPG'ers or 40K players) 3. boardgamers that put asses in your store for tournaments or game nights consistently, like dominion.

If you sink $1000 into board game stock, just to have copies of abstracts for the sake of having a nice range despite the fact that sales aren't guaranteed, that isn't a good business move.
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Nathan Morse
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adam.skinner wrote:
The other cases where a hardcore gamer would buy stuff from a B&M are:

* buying based on ideals ("I need to support my B&M shops, or else they'll go away! [so what?]")
* buying based on convenience ("I'm visiting my parent's house and I'd like to play some games with them but I haven't brought any with me [D'oh!]. I'll pick something up at a local game store")
* buying a hard to acquire game ("I can't find this anywhere online! Sweet!")
* buying on sale ("40-50% off sale? Nice! This was on my want-list anyway!")
colonist Crap, I forgot to get a gift for the party today! I wonder if a local shop would have a copy of the game I want to give....
 
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Allen Vailliencourt
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Greer
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Best wishes as you work on the plan and get the store opened. Ignore most of the info you see here because most of the people here have never opened a business before nor do they have the experience in business to give you advice.

You can make money on boardgames.
You can be successful in this business.
You will work your tail off.
You won't get rich quickly.

Brigette's advice is spot on. I dealt with Alliance for the most part and everything she said is accurate. Try to get a good discount to maximize your profit potential.

The top games lists at the top are good posts. Pretty good info there. Don't go hog wild and buy 20 copies of Twilight Imperium. Do buy a decent amount of Ticket to Ride games. Those were always my biggest sellers and I could never keep enough in stock it seemed.

Manage your cash flow. CASH IS KING. Let me repeat. CASH IS KING. Do a 1 hour CEO audit on your financials every month to see where you stand.

Plan, plan and plan some more and be prepared for the unexpected.

Oh, network with other FLGS owners in the USA. Most are willing to send an email with what works and tips. It's been great for me!

Good luck and have fun!

~V
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Mike Frantz
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Wenatchee
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The lists are "ok" but they are ignoring what will be your biggest sellers:

The Fluxx line.
The Munchkin line.
Killer Bunnies.

If you looked at that and said 'ewwww' not sure I want to sell those, tear up your business plan and do something else.
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Boards & Bits
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Spokane Valley
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Valien wrote:
You won't get rich quickly.

A minor correction shake

Tom
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Allen Vailliencourt
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Greer
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BoardsAndBits wrote:
Valien wrote:
You won't get rich quickly.

A minor correction shake

Tom


lol. True that! hehe.

 
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CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
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Whiskey and Bullets.
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Karl Bappert
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a little out of the norm, but i think you should also sell model kits and put games and models somehow into ur name. model people will come to see models and mught start playing games and gamers might come in and take home a model. i assume you are allready considering carrying paints and stuff so stock some air brushes and such. what u think ?
 
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Will
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Fresno
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Valien wrote:
Manage your cash flow. CASH IS KING. Let me repeat. CASH IS KING.

This is basically THE most important thing in a business.

This is why a lot of retail stores (not nessasarily game stores, but in general) recently have had to sell inventory in the store at a loss simply to get cash flow moving so they could pay bills and employees, or else they'd go bankrupt. A lot of businesses are/were living so close to the wire that a couple bad months can drive them into bankruptcy.

Its also a huge factor in the economic issues recently. Banks running out of ready cash they use to keep churning loans, and when they run out they don't loan.

California deciding to delay tax refunds because they simply have no cash.

From the smallest business to the largest, CASH IS KING.
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Michael Barlow
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Stratford
Ontario
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Independent publishers with little game gems. Focus on inexpensive and small ones and demo them in-store a lot. And no CCGs. Do parents a favour.

Why would I go to your place to buy the same stuff that lately's been appearing in big box stores?
 
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tim
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hudsonville
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adam.skinner wrote:

* buying a hard to acquire game ("I can't find this anywhere online! Sweet!")
Hot hard to acquire games are great but obscure hard to find games are only going to appeal to a small subset of gamers.
 
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