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Thread: Opening a Game Store UPDATE!

  1. #21
    Strawberry (Level 2) cityside75's Avatar
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    I have a secret dream to do this as well. I just started my own business in the GIS/Mapping field, but I'd trade it all for a successful video game store.

    I've seen a lot of Mom & Pop game stores come and go around here (Chicagoland), but no one seems to have been able to crack the nut, they always end up going under. I always root for them and try to bring some of my business to them even if I have to pass 3 Funcoland/Gamestop's to get there, and I'll usually ask the owner/manager some questions.

    One thing that seems to be a decent moneymaker is console repair. I don't know how good you are with that, or if you know someone that is good at it, but it seemed to be a good way to get people in the door with a couple of the places around here, especially since the newer systems break down so much.

    If you could offer reasonably priced repair on older systems (blinking NES's), as well as newer consoles you might at least have a corner on a part of the market that the big guys don't touch. Even if it isn't super profitable, it could help raise awareness about your store.

    I'm torn on kiosks for demoing games. While it seems like a great way to drive traffic, they always seem to attract tons of kids that are abusive to the controllers, have no intention of buying the games, and don't want to play for just a minute and move on. One place around here used to allow you to use any system and game for a couple of bucks for 15 minutes. I thought that seemed cool, but the store didn't last too long, so I'm not sure if it worked well or not.

    One way I can always tell when a store is in the "death spiral" is when the merchandise starts to stagnate. It seems like that starts to happen when the owner doesn't keep the pricing up to date. I know it must be time-consuming but especially with newer games, the pricing has to be updated frequently. Just before it finally closed, one of my favorite stores still had a ton of older PSX games with yellowed price tags, many still at $15-25. I'm sure a lot of people saw that and didn't bother to even look around much more. The most successful used game store around me is a used CD store called Disc Replay. It's not unusual to go in there and find a PS2 or Xbox game with 4 price tags on top of one another, but they keep up with market pricing and always seem to move a lot of merchandise.

    On the business side of things, make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you jump in, I would highly recommend writing a business plan. I would also recommend setting up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) if you think you will do this at some point. It offers you a ton of protection on your personal assets by keeping personal and business assets completely separate. Also, make sure that you know who's going to balance the books, deal with taxes, payroll, etc. All of that stuff can be incredibly complicated and time-consuming, especially in the beginning.

    I hope that you are able to make this work - I'll be rooting for you! I'm going through the whole new business thing right now, so feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

  2. #22
    Authordreamweavervisionar yplusactor Arcade Antics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wavelflack
    You need a snack bar. The decor should be taken straight from 1982.

    Make it look like "Flynn's", or the place in "Joy Sticks".

    The giant joysticks game would be cool too.
    Chalk up another vote for this idea -- though I'm definitely partial to the arcade from the Greydon Clark disaster-yet-entertaining-on-some-sick-level Joy Sticks.

    Sticking with the movies (and TV) theme - maybe a Lucy skit thing where the store is divided down the middle with classic on one side (complete with TVs and/or music from only that era - Starcade episodes, Saturday Supercade, Joy Sticks, whatever) and more contemporary on the other (TVs here could actually show current stuff, movies, shows, etc.)
    Selling collection, Atari through XBox. Send a PM with whatever games you're looking for.

  3. #23
    Pretzel (Level 4)
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    If there is one guy that can do this.. it's you!

    I say make the place like it's "THE" place to be in town. A gamers haven. A cool little bar in the corner... so you can get your chips and BEER!! With a couple of couches and chairs set up for game play. Did I mention BEER? Any place that has games and BEER is my kinda place.

    Me and Lucavi talked about opening a place like that here in New O'. More or less a bar with a ton of old games in a chilled back atmosphere.

    Whatever it is you do... I'm sure it will be great!

    Hey...I still owe you a beer....

    speaking of beer...........

    GULP GULP GULP

  4. #24
    drowning in medals Ed Oscuro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Opening a Game Store

    The official DP Store? I'd be sure to visit! That's a great idea.

    I'm with the folks saying there should be some space for people to hang out - to a little extent. Maybe a few arcade cabinets somewhere, you've gotta figure it out so you don't just have the customary ratty plywood shelves from wall to wall, plus that should help keep money coming in the door, rather than letting it walk out the door.

    I'll only condone the beer if you give some of the better brands a chance

  5. #25
    Insert Coin (Level 0)
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    One question: Will this be near the Chicago area at all or even in or near Illinois? :P

    I am a about an hour away from Sean Kelly's "Video Games Etc." store and I try to go there once a month. It's truely an awesome store and it gets better each time I go there (been there three times now).

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) Lothars's Avatar
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    I have to say good luck and if anyone can do it it's you, I have tons of faith also have to say that I would love to come and visit the store if it does come to frutation.

    well anyway just had to say good luck


    "With Great Power Comes Great Responisibility"
    Wanting to Collect full set of Super Nintendo Games as well as Dreamcast Games.

    http://users.ign.com/collection/Lothars

  7. #27
    Luigi (Level 20) Custom rank graphic
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    Good luck in this venture Joe!
    My Gaming Collection (Now at Google Drive!)

  8. #28
    Pac-Man (Level 10) FantasiaWHT's Avatar
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    Just one question....

    Are you selling franchises?

    I know the perfect location for a video game store but I don't have the tiniest idea where to begin.

    Like where the hell do you get your video games (the new ones at least) from?

  9. #29
    Alex (Level 15) tholly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keranu
    One question: Will this be near the Chicago area at all or even in or near Illinois? :P

    I am a about an hour away from Sean Kelly's "Video Games Etc." store and I try to go there once a month. It's truely an awesome store and it gets better each time I go there (been there three times now).

    Joe lives in New Jersey....so, unless you consider Jersey close to Chicago...then probably not
    Collection Pics--RFGen List--Excel Collection Spreadsheet
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  10. #30
    Ladd Spencer (Level 17) Sniderman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keranu
    One question: Will this be near the Chicago area at all or even in or near Illinois? :P
    Errr...Joe's in New Jersey...

    (Sean's store) is an awesome store and it gets better each time I go there (been there three times now).
    Indeed. I made a pilgramage there from Ohio one day. Well worth the roadtrip, and a roadtrip I plan to re-enact this year.
    Still Around...Still Gamin'...

  11. #31
    Pac-Man (Level 10)
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    I pulled the trigger.

    I was at a good steady paying job 4 yrs ago when I felt change was a coming. I was nervous I felt I needed more. Yet I was blinded by the lure of the steady paycheck vacation etc.

    I was listening to the radio while I was getting ready for work and a minister was on and he had said People always have a hard time trying to figure out what they want to do or be in life. Waste years being in situations they are not happy in. It is not as hard as people make it. It is very simple to figure out. Whatever you enjoy doing so much that you would do for free that is your calling. You will be the most happiest and find the most fullfillment. work toward your calling.

    I took that advice and left my good job of 10 years. To enter the field I was meant to be in. I opened my own company and I have never looked backed. In the end It was the best decision I have ever made. Total freedom. Had I stayed I at my old job I would have been doing the routine cycle.

    The funny thing is When I told people I was leaving they thought I was crazy they said don't do it. Mainly life has force most people to think in the bubble afraid of change. Now when I go visit my old job. People tell me I did the best thing. Now they wish they could leave. Some (alot) of people will want you to fail even those that pat you on the back. The way I see it if you are in your calling and it fails it won't be because the effort wasn't truly there. I truly truly love what I do.

    You have been involved with games for who knows how long. Got industry contacts, dp, and friends and more. I say go for it fill up that faith meter and full steam ahead good luck.
    neo geo system

  12. #32
    Cherry (Level 1)
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    Great idea and good luck with it. If anyone could run a succesful game store it's probably you. And when it opens I think i'd come to America just to see it
    All the best, make sure offer something everyone else doesn't and keep your pricing up to date. There is a shop in Liverpool called TNT Games, it's so damn expensive its untrue, their prices hardly ever change, and well the place is always empty...I wonder why.
    Currently collecting Amiga games

  13. #33
    ServBot (Level 11) Lemmy Kilmister's Avatar
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    Are you going to do any sort of mail order or internet based orders also? Or were you mostly just looking to open a mom and pop's business?

  14. #34
    Strawberry (Level 2)
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    I thought you already had a game store. And for some reason I thought it was in Detroit. Don't know why.

    I'd like to see more sideline items in stores. The tackier, the better. Also, I wish stores carried more books about the industry. I have a feeling that they wouldn't be big sellers, but a little selection of game related literature would be nice.

    You might want to host events, too. Actively supporting the local community may turn out to be the heart of what I hope becomes your great success.

    And don't forget about the neon.

  15. #35
    Authordreamweavervisionar yplusactor Arcade Antics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wavelflack
    Real question: What happens when kids come in and point at the DP guide?
    Excellent point.

    I think that it would be easy enough to work with though. The Guide has Collector prices, and in any event, a deal could be handled in the same way as any other store with a similar business model.

    F'rinstance, a shop that buys and sells and trades books or dvds and the like. If the cover price of a book is $40, they might give a customer $10 in cash and sell it for $20. The customers usually know that going in, or at the very least, before they make a deal. Even though they know their book will sell for twice what they're getting for it, they understand that the store is a business and needs to make a couple of bucks.

    So if the Guide has a game at $20, it could be purchased for $10 and sold for $30 or whatever math makes sense. (I'm just using random round numbers here. )
    Selling collection, Atari through XBox. Send a PM with whatever games you're looking for.

  16. #36
    Giganticus breathalizer Mr Mort's Avatar
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    Best of luck with the venture, should you choose to go with it.

    I do have a couple of ideas:

    -Monthly/weekly/bi-weekly tournaments:
    Halo, Street Fighter, Tekken, Madden, Puzzle games, Racing games, any competitive gaming series that has a well-established fanbase.
    Give the first and second place winners a pre-determined amount of STORE CREDIT instead of a game, that way they might opt to buy something more expensive and just pay the difference.
    It's a great way to get people in the door and get your name out in the local gaming community

    -Sell or Rent anime: You can make decent money renting out anime, as your investments on each DVD would pay for themselves after 10 rentals or so (depending on how you price it). Also, the majority of anime watching folk (aka "otakus") also are into gaming.

    Best of luck again, keep us posted.

  17. #37
    Bell (Level 8) 98PaceCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalpress
    You folks have already hit on a couple ideas that I consider "mission critical". A LAN center with networked PC's; a row of arcade machines; possible rentals... I've also thought about having weekend "exhibits", a kind of mini-museum where select systems/items are showcased under glass. That plus strippers. There need to be strippers.

    NOTE: One or more of these ideas may not make it into the final product.
    If you have strippers, just put a cot in the back for me. I'll be the only customer you ever need!!

  18. #38
    Great Puma (Level 12) RetroYoungen's Avatar
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    Best of luck (though I know you don't need it, I'll send some your way anyway) if you decide to go through with this idea of yours. Like everybody else has said, if anyone has the game know-how to do it, it's you my friend.

    Who knows, it might even get some of us West Coast gamers over there... you know, to make you sure you don't mess anything up or anything...

  19. #39
    Cherry (Level 1) TEND's Avatar
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    If you were to do this, I would come down from Winnipeg!
    Good luck, and keep us updated!

  20. #40
    Pac-Man (Level 10) Promophile's Avatar
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    best of luck man. I would love to open a gamestore or work in the industry, but I don't have the balls to take the plunge and enter such a crowded field.

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