I should open up a game store. That thought jumps into my brain every once in a while. It happens when I end up organizing a tournament at my house, when my LGS doesn't have enough people show up for an event to fire, or sometimes when I see the perfect location to rent and start it.
Wouldn't it be cool to have Wizards of the Coast sending you products? You could be opening boxes and playing Magic all the time. You could make your whole life all about playing Magic!
But is it really something you should do? Here's 7 things you should think about before opening a local game store.
1. You Can't Play Games Anymore
When you operate a shop all your time magically disappears. It's a harsh business. If you're not able to make rent, pay your employees, or even play yourself then it's not going to work. Making sure that happens is a huge burden that takes a lot of time and effort. Expect to work 14 hrs per day 7 days per week.
2. It's Expensive!
According to the The Games Journal the cost of initial inventory alone could be back breaking. After talking to other game store owners, depending on what you're planning to offer, it could cost between $15,000 - $35,000 for the inventory alone.
The cost of paying yourself, staff, rent, and everything else is even bigger. According to RPG.net the total costs of opening a store is over $110,000!
3. Low Success
According to the Department of Commerce Every year, over a million people start businesses in the United States and 40% of them will be out of business within 1 year. After 5 years the number jumps to 80% of small businesses fail.
How are you going to overcome that? What's your unique offering? Why is your advertising and marketing going to continue to bring in new customers and keep your current customers happy? It's hard to keep the ship afloat when your always sailing through a storm.
4. What Are You Planning to Offer?
If you are considering this because you love Magic: the Gathering that's great. However, you need to have more offerings than MTG alone. Consider other TCGs, board games, comics, collectibles, or other related items. Magic is seasonal so you need to ensure you can continue to pay the bills when Magic is between product releases.
5. You Should Watch This Series by Alpha Investments
Rudy from Alpha Investments walks through several videos on opening your own Local Game Store and what he's learned from it himself. Settle in and the time to go through all his videos too. There is a wealth of information that he has. Plus he's pretty entertaining in it too.
6. Be Prepared to Work 14 hrs Per Day 7 Days Per Week
We've mentioned this in the first point already but it's really important you understand it. You've got to be prepared to run a business with a physical location. Who's in charge of it if you're not there? Who's going to open the doors if you're the only employee? If you're hoping that you can hire other people to be there and run it for you, then you're going to be confronted with some harsh realities. No one will run the business to the standards you have better than you. Plus there's additional costs in hiring more people as well.
You're starting from scratch and will need put all the time in to talk to distributors, have incoming inventory, continual turnover, customer service, several weekly events, opening and clean up, and many other things that will consume all your time.
7. Have A Business Plan
Do you even know if there's any demand in your area for a game store? Have you talked to the locals? How much competition do you have? How much revenue do you want to be generating? Do you plan to make sales online? How to do you plan to manage all your inventory, staff, and sales?
There's a lot to consider when running a business and most of it has nothing to do with knowing how to play games. It's good to know your products well, but that's not enough.
What's Your Decision?
Are you still planning to open a store? If you believe you can overcome all the obstacles and that your passion for business should be focused on games and not something else then all the luck to you.