Many of us have a specific local game store that we frequent. Maybe it’s our favorite one, so we only visit that one. Or maybe there aren’t any other options in our areas. But it’s rare to visit many different game stores, so it’s exciting to hear about the variety of options out there.
Gary Ray from Black Diamond Games, a game store in the Bay Area in California, is currently on vacation, going on a West Coast Game Store Tour! So far, he’s gone to stores in Washington and Canada, but he also plans to go through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Central California. As he visits the stores, he’s updating us on what each store has that is unique. Since Gary has his own game store, he notices things that the average consumer may not:
The Tension in all of these stores is making money versus customer satisfaction. It’s clear as a store owner, that there are a lot of things that look great to customers that are retail illusions. Nobody is making money selling these things or doing these things, but they exist to draw you in, attract your attention, create a vibe so that you’ll spend money on the 20% of stuff that you spend money on. That’s pretty much how the game trade works, 80% useless crap or services you think are important and the 20% of stuff you actually buy and use. Which are the 80% and which are the 20%? That’s the stuff retailers discuss privately.
Another interesting thing is how game stores could differ across geography. For instance, in Washington state, it is simple for a game store to get a liquor license, so many of the game stores there serve beer along with coffee. In Canada, shipping prices make it so that people don’t buy from online game stores, and the local game stores have far more games in stock and fewer tables for tournaments.