Looking for: A FLGS

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Rex, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Rex

    Rex Footpad

    Yeah got one of those here in K-Town. Not a bad steak shack really, but that one area of Janesville is NUTS for food options, and then you stick a great Hobby Store right past the gauntlet. Might be a giant gamer of viking type origins but that's sort of like bear baiting there. :D

  2. bloodymage

    bloodymage Chevalier

    I was the "fan of honor" at JVL-Con VIII in 2006! Great little con and Ron worked his butt off. Said I'd be looking to help in '07, but my life fell apart after my return to California and I'm still spinning. So far life in AZ is the pits, but I'm hoping and praying it will get better.
  3. finarvyn

    finarvyn Level 0 Character

    Games Plus is by far my favorite game store in the Chicagoland area. I live about 45 minutes from there, so I don't get there often, but usually they help me clean out my wallet when I visit. :cool:

    I've been to the NobleKnight store in Janesville, and it's not as cool as you might think. Most of their online selection is in a warehouse. The actual storefont is kind of small.
  4. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    I do agree, it's not much to look at. More of a distribution center, but, at least it's there. So many places have had to close their doors in this screwed up economy. I'am just glad I still have someplace to go & 'smell' the games.
  5. geekpreacher

    geekpreacher Spellbinder

    My FLGS is going through that problem right now. A young guy owns and operates it and he's gotten really worried over the past few weeks. What hits him the hardest is when his Warhammer people buy online through eBay and then come into the store wanting to play the game.

    He told me he said to one guy, "Thanks for putting me out of business." I told him, "Way to go." I'm still amazed at the number of gamers that want an FLGS to hang out and play at but they go online and buy merchandise. You'd think they'd use a little common sense.
  6. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    That's why you have to be very diversified in a businees today. The original thoughts for the store I was involved in was to have three different sources of income, but still be tied together: i.e. A gaming store, an internet cafe & an old fashion candy shop. Later on, (phase two) as business increased, the gaming store & candy shop were to also expand into mail order (e-mail business). Phase three was to have a warehouse large enough to support the mail order business & to stock enough game titles that I could play a different one everyday of the year. :)
    Oh well, dreams are what keeps hope alive. (or is that the other way around?) ;)
  7. smokin

    smokin Chevalier

    Wow , I finally found a place to vent this true story.
    I was in a local game store a few years back and purchased a couple of the latest M:TG packs. The OWNER/salesperson seemed po'd that i was standing at the counter with my money ready. The aforementioned Evercrack or such probably. I paid up. The seller returned to her computer and as I was leaving, a old friend of mine entered the store. I turned around and we sat down in the open gaming area and tried to get caught up on lost times. After about fifteen minutes of chatting he said he saw some gaming materials he was trying to find and we approached the counter again. The owner came to ring up my friend's sales and as I was standing there I opened the first pack of cards I had. She asked me if I was going to pay for those. I had to explain that I had JUST purchased them fifteen minutes ago. She DIDN'T REMEMBER and it got pretty nasty until she went back into her register sales and found my reciept that she failed to give me in the first place. A busy sales clerk may get this all the time but there were less than half a dozen people in the entire store. Needless to say, but I never returned and of course they went oob shortly afterward.
    Whew, I feel better.

  8. Babushka

    Babushka Level 0 Character

    I just wanted to post a small defense of the "we can order it for you" that has become so prevelant among FLGSes.

    The short summary for the time and attention challenged: Due to the economics of board game retailing, it is a necessary evil.

    The long-winded, blow-hard, over analyzed, wall-of-text version follows...

    The defense is best made with an economic analysis... let's suppose I put 100 boardgames on the shelf. I want the box tops facing out so people can see what the games are. Given typically sized boxes, I would need about 30 feet of shelves to display 100 board games (I get about 5 shelves high of good display, and a typical box is approximately a foot and a half wide - so 5 shelves high by about 30 feet wide to hold all 100 games). My shelves are about 1' deep, plus about 2' in front of the shelf for standing room (the other 2' in the aisle counts toward the shelves on the other side of the aisle). This means those 100 games require about 90ft2 (3x30=90) of floor space to display = 0.9ft2 per game. And, since we want our FLGS to also provide space to play those games, I need to figure out how many ft2 to include for in store play to support those 100 games. A single mediumish size table is about 3'x5', plus 2' on all sides for chairs = 63 ft2 per game table, plus additional walking space to get around the table over and above the seating space. If you have 1 game table per 100 games, then you are looking at another 0.6 ft2 per game - bringing our total to 1.5ft2 per game. For simplicity we'll ignore space requirements for cash registers, store entry, bathrooms, closets, etc. For most game retail stores, after adding in rent, utilities, etc., it would be difficult to bring costs below about $1 per square foot. Even using the lowball figure of $1 per square foot, a single board game title costs $0.90 per month to have on the shelf and another $0.60 per month for supporting game table space.

    Then there is the cost of the game itself. Ideally, a game that retails for $40 would cost $20 wholesale, but I find in practice that a $40 game is mostly likely to cost just a hair over $22.

    So, a board game = $22 investment plus $1.5 per month in recurring costs until it sells for $40 leaving me an $18 gross profit, less the costs of monthly overhead from the day I got it until the day it sold. If it doesn't sell in 9 months, I'm loosing money on it, period. Believe it or not, board games really don't fly off the shelves, and a 10% monthly turnover rate is typical - meaning it takes an average of 10 months to sell a typical board game... so at my ratios and my expected turnover I should actually expect to loose money on board games. (I do carry a small selection of them though, in a manner and for reasons I won't explain here.)

    This doesn't consider the the cost of wages, or the (mostly one-time) costs associated with shelves, floors, ceilings, the sprinkler system, the paint, the cash register, etc.

    Even worse would be to offer a small discount as a nod to Internet pricing. If I offer 10% off that comes straight off the top. 10% off MSRP is 20-25% off profit. Which means that to financially justify a 10% discount I need to know that I would sell about 25% more of that item because I marked it down. It turns out a 10% discount just is not that big of a sales driver.

    Of course, if you are an Internet retailer, you have almost none of this overhead. You need about 1/5 the space per game since you don't need to display it for sale and you don't need to provide play areas to support it. In addition to needing 80% less space, the space you do need is also much cheaper since it doesn't need expensive retail features like visibility, parking, etc. Your costs for wages and starting overhead are also lower per item... which is why Internet prices compare so favorably to those of FLGSes.

    As a FLGS, the first service I can offer my customers is to stay in business. I know it sounds flip, but the truth is I want my store to a community resource where people can come to meet other like-minded individuals and play games. I can't do this if I can't pay the bills. While it certainly may be possible to pay the bills stocking and selling a great number of board games, it would require a much higher rate of sales than I have seen or have reason to expect.

    So I, like most FLGSes, offer my customers a compromise - we will order it for you. In my case, I have a "20% off and 20% down" policy. You give me at least 20% up front and I'll order it for you and give you a 20% discount on the order. After shipping costs are considered, the 20% discount makes me at least competitive with Internet prices. Further, I know the item won't sit on my shelves incurring overhead and risk, and the margins are still high enough (barely) to justify the overhead of gaming spaces.

    Now, compare this to the economics of a product like MtG, where 2 feet of retail shelves allows me to display many many copies of the entire product line - a product line that does indeed fly off the shelves. Further, people purchase the same product over and over and over. (It's very very rare that one person will buy the same board game twice.) In addition, MtG players PAY to participate in tournaments using my support space. It's another world all together.

    While I know the statement will be unpopular, the unfortunate truth is that rather than skoff at the MtG players and the stores that cater to them, the MtG players should be thanked for footing the bill associated with the overhead of the gaming spaces. Without them I wouldn't be able to offer anywhere near as much or as nice a space as I try to maintain.

    Believe me, if I could, I would carry every game ever made... and I'd play them all with you at least once. As soon as I find a way to do that and stay in business... I will do it. I promise.

    Finally, I just want to point out that I make no defense of purveyors who fail to address, pay attention to, and serve the people who are gracious enough to walk through their doors.
  9. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    All that from a person whose forum name means Polish Handkerchief..............I'm impressed!! :D
  10. mark

    mark Spellbinder

    Hear, hear!
  11. Babushka

    Babushka Level 0 Character

    A hankerchief, huh? Well, I do have something in common with a hankerchief. Sometimes I think I have something funny, but it turns out itsnot. (read aloud carefully.)
  12. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    No razz intended, Babushka. I wish I had those numbers in front of me a few years back. I would have liked to shown them to a business owner I knew. Might of made a difference.
    If any offense was taken, I apologize.

    The Keeper
  13. Babushka

    Babushka Level 0 Character

    LOL, oh no! Not offended at all. I took it as a friendly comment! :)
  14. the keeper

    the keeper Spellbinder

    That's how it was meant. :)
  15. Rex

    Rex Footpad

    Excellent breakdown on the realities of running a FLGS btw, and a better Pun to follow up. As much as I hate the "Can we Order that for you?", I understand it, especially from the guys that follow your format where they try and keep that grip on both their store, and their customer base.

    That being said, I like to take my money where I am appreciated. When I buy game stuff I tend to buy it in Piles. When I work/worked in retail, I never had an issue remembering who my repeat customer were, even when it was months apart, nor was amount even a factor. Little things like recognition go a long way.

    Stores with gaming areas also tend to get my attention (I miss the old club I used to play at way back in the day for example just for that reason), but as of late, I see a lot of guys being trampled for gaming space (And Store Rent is EXPENSIVE people, it's by the sq/ft, and ugly), by folks that don't want to buy from the store, and then the product cost per day to hang out on the shelf makes it more prohibitive to bait said folks into buying something to, it gets messy......

    But show a touch of appreciation for ones customers, and they tend to come back. I always look for hobby stores, since I hate, absolutely DESPISE ordering anything online. Hence, always down for checking out new stores in the area as well. Need more of them.


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