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Iris Solia Aurora's avatar

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I'm opening a hobby shop in the next year or two hopefully.

I have found only one place that sells furnishings. I have found a few wholesale websites. I also have chosen dimensions (30x45) which include the show room (20x30), game room (25x20), storage room (15x10), and 2 bathrooms (5x10 each).

I will deal with trading card games (MTG, PKMN, YGO, and Novel ones), RPGs (D&D, Pathfinder), Strategy TTGs (Warhammer & 40K, Catan), Video Games (Old consoles and games, figures), Anime & Manga (Mostly popular stuff), and general novel things.

I have a few problems.
The first is I do not know if the dimensions are good for the show.
The second is which wholesale would be the best to use.
A third is I cannot find many reputable furnishing dealers.
Would it be better to rent out a store front or to build my own with whatever specifications I choose?
What are the prices of each type of licensing I need to get (Tax ID, Business Zoning, Business Licensing, any commercial fair usage rights I need to purchase, etc)?
What would the total start-up price be (I think $20,000-$25,000 for complete furnishing of the store dimension I want--but if that's a huge dimension then probably less. Then I guess it would cost a total of $50,000 to $100,000 to start everything up completely and have a healthy--but not overstock--stock of supplies and product)?
What kind of residential area should I build my shop in? (I'm in Kingsville, TX. There are two hobby shops here so this is not a good place. If I move back to Lake George, NY then there might be an opening there. If I move to Bishop, TX then maybe an opening there too? Even though Kingsville and Bishop are close to each other and that could leak business away from me)

Are there any other questions I should be asking?

What are some other games I should be holding? What parts of the shop should I sacrifice for other parts?

Oh and also I need more than just me. I am pretty good at using my resources, gathering intel, using intel, managing, and those sorts of things. I do not know the games well so I need someone who has played most of the stuff. Then someone who is good with anime/manga. I'm good with video games and also card games. The others are where I lack talent.

So thanks for your help! I'll be checking this thread as frequent as possible xD
Kaim Arouet's avatar

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My friends and I have been working on opening our own shop for about a year now. We're still nowhere near ready to open a physical location, mostly we just sell on ebay right now. I would say get maybe one other person, cause I know I couldn't have gotten as far as I am now by myself.
Iris Solia Aurora's avatar

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I do have one person who supports me but cannot physically help me at the moment. I am, myself, in college as well. I graduate in December. The reason I am working on this now is because college takes little effort and I am just doing this to get a degree and a job to build up money to support this dream.

I need to find someone here though probably. Since I'll be in Texas for quite some time. Probably 5-10 years. So I may just either live down here and start the house here. Then if I make enough money get a new location in New York or somewhere.

But yeah-- smile I hope you get a chance to start a physical location.
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For a place so full of people, NYC seems surprisingly bereft of places to play Magic. There are some, but I think there's probably quite a bit of untapped market space here.
Iris Solia Aurora's avatar

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Really? NYC? That's strange... If I liked the city I might want to try out there.
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Iris Solia Aurora
I'm opening a hobby shop in the next year or two hopefully.

I have found only one place that sells furnishings. I have found a few wholesale websites. I also have chosen dimensions (30x45) which include the show room (20x30), game room (25x20), storage room (15x10), and 2 bathrooms (5x10 each).

I will deal with trading card games (MTG, PKMN, YGO, and Novel ones), RPGs (D&D, Pathfinder), Strategy TTGs (Warhammer & 40K, Catan), Video Games (Old consoles and games, figures), Anime & Manga (Mostly popular stuff), and general novel things.

I have a few problems.


Iris Solia Aurora
The first is I do not know if the dimensions are good for the show.

My local card shop is about a 20x30 for his main part. He does plenty of business. Its all a matter of how you organize the area. Having a part that can be used also for open tables in always a good boon for a card shop.
Iris Solia Aurora
The second is which wholesale would be the best to use.

Truth is both. You need to be able to have 'enough' product to sustain your area.
Iris Solia Aurora
A third is I cannot find many reputable furnishing dealers.

No Idea.
Iris Solia Aurora
Would it be better to rent out a store front or to build my own with whatever specifications I choose?

Building a store front will set you back a great deal. Both in terms of money and time.
Iris Solia Aurora
What are the prices of each type of licensing I need to get (Tax ID, Business Zoning, Business Licensing, any commercial fair usage rights I need to purchase, etc)?
What would the total start-up price be (I think $20,000-$25,000 for complete furnishing of the store dimension I want--but if that's a huge dimension then probably less. Then I guess it would cost a total of $50,000 to $100,000 to start everything up completely and have a healthy--but not overstock--stock of supplies and product)?

No Idea.
Iris Solia Aurora
What kind of residential area should I build my shop in? (I'm in Kingsville, TX. There are two hobby shops here so this is not a good place. If I move back to Lake George, NY then there might be an opening there. If I move to Bishop, TX then maybe an opening there too? Even though Kingsville and Bishop are close to each other and that could leak business away from me)

Best place I can think of to establish a shop is a residential area with lots of schools and very few churches. Target customer base for you will be 10-20 yrs with plenty of cash. Also christians tend to be very good at scare tactics.
I hear there's like one shop on Long Island but like 5 or so in NYC. However where you have your shop, you need to be competitive with any other store. Whether that's in terms of prices or events. A good distance away between two shops is about 5 miles.
Iris Solia Aurora
Are there any other questions I should be asking?

What are some other games I should be holding? What parts of the shop should I sacrifice for other parts?

Oh and also I need more than just me. I am pretty good at using my resources, gathering intel, using intel, managing, and those sorts of things. I do not know the games well so I need someone who has played most of the stuff. Then someone who is good with anime/manga. I'm good with video games and also card games. The others are where I lack talent.

I don't know.

Depends on what kind of people begin showing up.

I'm sorry but I don't plan to move nor do I plan to support any more shops in my local area.
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Go forth! Live my dream! 3nodding
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Iris Solia Aurora
I have a few problems.


If you are asking these questions, then you are nowhere near ready to even think of opening a store, let alone drafting a business plan.

A guy called Lloyd Brown did a fantastic series on running a game shop drawing from his own management experiences (and not just in gaming retail).

You can read them all here

And seriously, do read them all. If you don't have time to study the business, you don't have time to run it.
Iris Solia Aurora's avatar

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PandoraCaitiff
Iris Solia Aurora
I have a few problems.


If you are asking these questions, then you are nowhere near ready to even think of opening a store, let alone drafting a business plan.

A guy called Lloyd Brown did a fantastic series on running a game shop drawing from his own management experiences (and not just in gaming retail).

You can read them all here

And seriously, do read them all. If you don't have time to study the business, you don't have time to run it.

smile I agree. I'm not ready at all. I wouldn't even think about starting up within 2 years. Probably in 5 or 10 years.
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http://doingbusiness.org/rankings

click the country you live in, and the rows and columns give you a rough idea of what your expenses will be, considering permits and licenses and whatnot =]
Fan_Boy's avatar

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Firstly, I have worked in the business for quite a few years and you will definitely need the floor space for your products. Back issue comics can really chew up your floor space, as well as miniatures if you want a good selection available.

I would look at the area you want to rent in and try and find a good deal - maybe something a little away from the main CBD (being a specialty store you will get people making the trip specifically anyway) and maybe something that has been empty for a while and might get at a cheaper price. I would not worry about a toilet let alone two of them, though having one available would be a bonus.

Now, as for a game room - it would be nice but not essential. The store I was at was rather small and we ended up playing card games at the counter. We also hosted a convention several times a year and rented a hall for a weekend to get big games going. Sealed deck games and a small entry fee helped cover the cost of renting a hall and a small prize for the winner. Regular customers also helped run the games, especially the RPG's (which had no prize). So something to consider to cut costs.
Iris Solia Aurora's avatar

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Woo! more awesome advice
Symorin's avatar

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I'm not really the go-to guy when it comes to business, but I can offer you some words of advice... Try and make your shop as accessible to as many new people as possible.

When a gaming shop opens, it not only attracts hardcore veterans, but also new players who are interested in things like Magic the Gathering or D&D, yet are frequently put off by some of the "hardcore veterans". After all, a fifteen year old isn't likely to try and join a Pathfinder game when the only other people playing are in their thirties or forties. If a new player comes in, wants to learn how to play, yet is too afraid to (they don't want to try and deal with being the only teen in a room full of adults who know the lingo perfectly). Ask if you could put their name on a "contact list" and alert them when you think there's enough people in the same age group interested in, say, tabletop games. Try and organize the group together with one veteran player to teach them how to play and enjoy themselves.

You'd get a lot more business if you could reach out to a younger, newer demographic of gamers.
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*sigh* We need something like that in my town. The card and comic shop also sells hookahs, cigarettes, and alcohol, frequently allows drunkards into the store, and I don't think they allow anyone under 21 into the store. Yep, this is my town's local comic store for you.

I would suggest something that someone else above me suggested-

Make it open to younger people.
First, my parents tried to open a shop in a busy area, but they still didn't pull in enough and ended up in half a million in debt from being open for about six months. The point is that you have to be ready in case of failure. However that doesn't mean you should give up!

Second, you really should check with free consoling or ask at your town hall so you know absolutely everything. Gaia is a piss-poor place for legal advice, to put it lightly.

Third, I'd suggest WARMACHINE. Privateer Press, the makers, aren't able to keep up with the demand for figures, they have become so popular. Hell, Mini Wargaming is a very popular Canadian company and every order my fiance and I have placed have only been delayed because of back-orders for the game.

Fourth, stay away from PC games; I'm a big PC gamer and torrent all of my games before buying, so I doubt it would be lucrative at all. Get some 360s and the games in there and you should be fine.

Fifth, I'd say to look at places to rent. If a game store opens, the local area tends to increase in worth. This comes from an obvious crowd that isn't violent, tend to be children and the like, so don't go for complete up-scale areas, but for something in the mid-range.

I live in Minnesota, so I'm none too sure about your area, sorry. I have faith that you can find something good enough, though!

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