I posted this over on Spikey Bits.
I'd like to read an in-depth synopsis of the pros and cons (of local game stores).
As a business, isn't it tough to make money from a game store?
A store opened up in a city a few hours from where I live. The store owner supplied paints in-store as customer service. He also had armies and books available so folks could try out different things to plan their purchase. Consequently, many customers didn't buy paint or books, and a number always used the store army. When he realized the effect this was having, he withdrew these perks, but the backlash from his customers was intense. This store is out of business.
In my own store, the owner is frustrated with GW's internet sales, and he recently lost a big order. GW hasn't sent the Immolator kits he order two months ago... what possible reason could there be? That's just one example. The profit he makes from direct sales on GW is slim anyway, but he goes through cycles where they change the rules on him and other distributors to increase their margins.
It seems to me it's hard to make a profitable business, especially when GW has policies designed to take advantage of the owner's need to stock GW products, for example the requirement of keeping a certain amount of back-stock. That sounds great, until you realize GW decides what they want to send. There are 4 blisters of Ratlings sitting on the shelves of my FLGS... any bets on when this will sell?
The owner has a loyal base of customers that support him, meaning we purchase through him rather than online or via an internet store. It goes without saying we pay more than we might otherwise have to, but he provides a place for us to game. There has in the past been problems when folks gamed at the store but refused to buy from it, though it's hard to argue with them when they point out how much they save by purchasing from Ebay or the WarStore. I'd also guess my owner makes his profits from Comics and Cards - it almost makes me take back all the jokes I've made about cardgamers. (Almost.)
I'm curious; can any store owner really make a long-term go of it in an industry with such shallow margins?
I think this is a good place to ask this question, considering you've had a store in the past and currently have successful Ebay and internet businesses.
I'd like your comments, pros and cons. Any stories where this trend has caused problems in your area?
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