I put this in the general boards, but it might be better to have it here. I’ll lock the one that doesn’t seem to be getting the most replys
I love video games. Always have been. At first I tried to get into the game development part of it, but that didn’t go so well. Now I just work an IT job, but I really want to work in something game related.
FOr many years now, owning my own video game store/arcade/fun place. I know I need a lot of money, that is obvious. However, not so obvious are some of the other aspects to it. What’s a good location? Should I include comics and table top games for those crowds? How do I advertise? How do I find out the best area for a place like this? How far from a major city is too far? And things like that.
In my town of Kinnelon NJ, we have a little shopping more with Pathmark, the movie theater, and a few little stores. for the past 2 years a store has been for rent there. It’s a huge space, I think over 1000 square feet, or more I can’t remember. It is literal 2 steps from the movie theater, as well as Pathmark, a Pizza place, and a Karate place. The schools in the town are just a mile or 2 away, and this shopping mall is the local hang out for kids. I am thinking this place would be perfect, but I have no idea how to gauge that sort of thing.
So if anyone has any business experience, or owns their own gaming store, please, share some tips!
Location is everything. Ideally you want an area with a lot of foot traffic, such as a mall, a town center, or any place with restaurants and/or a movie theater. Also consider your level of exposure to passerbys, both on foot and in a car. If your business is located in a plaza, be sure that your store is able to be seen from the road side with ease, or like previously mentioned, be in an area where people are going to walk by and see your store. You could have the best store in the world, but if nobody knows you’re there, you might as well not exist.
As far as comics and table top games, it depends entirely on your target demographic, as well as what your customers want. It never hurts to just have extra space in your store for these types of activities, or at least have your shelves and drawers and bins be easily moveable, so that you can accommodate different communities. I’ve seen game stores have comics, figurines, TVs and tables for gaming, some hold tournaments, some are strictly in the retail business, it depends on your area and your clientele.
Advertise wherever you can afford. Initially you’ll have to restrict advertisement to things like print ads in a variety of publications. But your best form of advertisement is completely free: the internet and word of mouth. It’s a fairly modern concept, but it won’t hurt you to start up a website, facebook, twitter, four square, etc etc… to start to build buzz for your business early on. You can reach a wide audience just through the internet alone, alongside having some sort of opening day specials, deals, coupons, etc etc.
Having your store opened near a school is a great day, since the majority of your customers will most likely be young males in their teens or 20s. Having your store synergize with places that they would frequent, such as malls, fast food joints, etc etc, would be awesome.
But realize that going into small business ventures is always, always, always, a risk. Even if you can manage to research the locale, city residents, regular clientele, your budget vs. estimated time of return on investment, you just never know if your business will skyrocket or flop, even with your best of intentions and solid work ethic.
You should open a business that will actually make money first. Then in a few years use a percentage of the profits to open the ill-fated game store. Try and balance things so that the game store isn’t too huge a drain on the profitable business.
Selling video games retail is a fairly tough racket. Comics have even lower profit margins. Both have prices set by distributors, so you don’t have any way to tweak your margins. Tabletop / board games are slightly better, but only slightly.
Ask yourself this : why would someone come to your store, instead of buying the game for less money online? You need to have a good answer to that question, and build your concept around it.
If there’s a Gamestop in your town in that mall of yours, you’re screwed. They can do deals that you would lose your ass on…cuz they’re a corporation. And if you can’t match that, you can’t compete. If you can break street dates on releases, you have a shot. (I was told that stores that do that won’t be sold shipments of later releases, but look at all the stores in Cali that do it with apparently no repercussions.) At least, that’s what a guy who ran a Play N Trade a couple miles away from 3 Gamestops (each location is within 15 minutes walking distance of the other…Total. Global. Saturation.) told me. He closed shop after 11 months.
It’s in a good location. Lots of foot traffic all the time, with weekends and Tuesdays being very busy, with free movie Tuesdays and such.
As for why someone would come to my store rather then buy online, I would like to have special deals and events, tournaments, and the like. Make it a place to hang out as well as a place to buy. Even if having arcade systems is too expensive, maybe just having system play booths with the latest games for people to play. Wouldn’t that be cheaper then Arcades? Though making money off that might be hard to do… doubt I could charge people to play. They would normally be there just for tournaments and maybe parties and events.
My target demographic is the gamer, as well as the parents buying games for kids. But, as a person who doesn’t just like gaming, I would think having other options available would make sense. Card games are always popular, and selling them would be a good choice. I can’t think of a dedicated card game shop anywhere near by. As for comics, the closest one is 15 miles away, and who knows whats the second closest one. Having some comic books available might also be a smart choice. Test the waters with a little, and expand if necessary.
True. It is more than likely that in the future, all games will be available for direct download and the middle men, game stores, will just be cut out. That’s why I think you should focus on all generations of gaming; basically from atari - now. But it will pretty much be an uphill struggle.
I think “very friendly, knowledgeable staff” would be a pretty good start. I hate to talk with employees at Gamestop, because while they are sometimes knowledgeable, they are almost NEVER friendly. They want to stuff knowledge down someone’s gizzard with a plunger.
Of course, the fact that they are only correct about 50% of the time just makes it worse.
Holding regular tournaments is a great idea - you can give away some fairly recent overstock as prizes. Also a few arcade cabinets - ideally something with a rotating cast of games - would be fantastic.
Maybe allow people (cater to parents here) to schedule appointments, so they can talk about what games their kids like, and someone can listen carefully and give thoughtful suggestions.
Launch a nuke making sure to put a curse on the bomb and send it at Gamestop HQ. This way, you’ll destroy the competition, and give unexplained radiation poisoning to anyone who tries to carry on it’s legacy.
I worked at a gamestop for a year, and luckily my co-workers were very nice and knowledgeable… most of them at least. If I didn’t know something, I didn’t pretend i knew. and I quickly tried to find the info online.
However, I have been to many gamestops with people like you have delt with. Just people working, not caring…
Giving overstock as a prize seems like a great idea. As for cabinets, changing them out is a good way to not have useless ones. I wonder if there iss anyway to get PS3 or 360 cabinet like devices, to play console games…
I really like that last idea. Parents really liked our gamestop because we were honest to them about games that should or should not be for kids. I’ve pissed off a few little kids because they tried to get Grand thieft auto and I told the parent that it’s not for kids at all. You’d be surprised how few parents read the ESRB and just believe their kids.
If that bomb only targeted the corporate side, then I would approve. The thing is, a lot of the workers in the stores are good people. However, corporate is so demanding of us that it sometimes makes the employee look like as ass. Sure, there are ass employees, but sometimes they are just trying to get good numbers. No numbers = fired employee… Corporate are the evil ones.
I refuse to recommend that game to anyone. Even when i worked at gamestop… I never asked if they wanted to reserve it. Still got good numbers of other games though to make up for that.
If the company and the people responsible for it’s conception are burn to a crisp, mission accomplished. I don’t concern myself with disliking the people at store level, unless they’re complete idiots, or company driven, making it their career - There was one such person while I worked there some 10 years ago. I’d like to drive over him with my car,
my advice: dont do it for the love of god dont do it… it cant end well. anything having to do with games ive seen go out of business besdies gamestop and family fun arcade.
your first clue should be “why has this spot in this mall been vacant for so long”? its probably either high rent or the space isnt the cashcow you think it could be.
being vacant for a year puts up some serious red flags.
video games make shit profit… you 'd probably do better panhandling… im not kidding there.
IF YOU JUST HAVE TO GO FOR IT:
my only advice is to offer things that people appreciate:
cheap eats, a place to lounge without spending much, a place to lounge after hours (very hard cause of local business codes and such)… also your in a mall that probably closes its doors early… but since theres a theater the mall probably stays open for it… try and stay open for the theater as well as that will allow moviegoers to play and allow all the hardcore gamers to play at later hours.
also, people think “location,location,location” but when it comes to a game store… its such a niche market that location means less. the most important thing is CHEAPASS RENT. bar none especially if its an arcade. you might want to talk to your city council and see if you could open it up as an addon to your own home (yes im serious… if your serious, then this is a possibility) the reason for having one as an add on to your place is that you circumvent the rent problem completely. but city council probably wont allow it… still though you can try… make sure to say how wholesome it is compared to doing drugs, is a good outlet for teens rather than normal teenage delinquent stuff (i had a hand in helping one of my friends open a lan place… he had to go through his city council to do it, i had to testify to his “wholesomeness”)
but yeah all in all… i dont think its smart in these days and ages to open up a full blown game store unless you are selling more than just games.
Disagree. Like what was said above, a local game store that’s closer to a high school than the nearest GameStop would be a great spot compared one in the middle of nowhere. I do agree that it matters less if it’s an arcade, though.
Even so, I would say “don’t do it” like a lot of the people have already said in the thread. It’s competition that you can’t really go up against and in all likelihood it’s going to just lose you money… Seriously. You’ll hardly make anything off each game sold.
If you do decide that, since it’s a dream of yours, you want to go through with it anyways… I’d advertise it as a hangout/arcade. Host tournaments and buy/resell used games. Probably don’t stock up too much on new games since you won’t really turn a profit there. Maybe do something similar to what the Cafe:ID KOF guys in Korea do with their place, charging $10 to play for the day and offer a food/snack bar.