IamA Local Gaming Shop Owner in Scotland! AMA!
Hello redditors! I have some spare time to do before people start flooding my shop to get their hands on some gaming goodies so i thought id kill some time.
My shops been open for 7 weeks now so all the trials of setting up have still got fresh scars on me :P
EDIT: Sorry if im not giving replys quick enough. ive now got a few people in playing cards and using the machines so im bouncing between them shop stuff and my comp :)
Edit Im Shutting shop and heading home so i wont be answering for the next 45 mins or so. Once im home and infront of my personnal screen ill be back to answering questions :)
EDIT: and i`m back :)
EDIT: ok guys its been fun. hope i answered your questions as fully as you liked. now i`m off to bed for some precious sleep :D
EDIT: started another one
What about Far Cry 6?
When its out. yes i will :P
what the hardest part of being a indie game shop?
The amount of hours that the shop takes from your life.
I live, eat and breath the shop. Everyday i
m doing something for the shop. At night im thinking about what i need to do next and what needs to be worked on. in the morning i
m think about what i can do today to get the most tasks finished. On my one day off im sorting out restock orders, planning events etc.
but i love it :D
Do you think all games should be dubbed in Scottish?
Ah hink mony heids woods explode if games waur sed in scots. but wud be well braw if it wahs.
Hey, thanks for doing this AMA.
What do you find is the biggest perk owning a gaming store?
Secondly, what do you find is your biggest challenge for the store, in its market?
getting to play games all day!! its research honest ;)
Seriously though i get my kick from watching people enjoy themselves. to see little 12yr old timmy go from his first wargames or get his first yugioh structure deck to drumming off deck stats and getting super passionate about his space marines. Because many moons ago i was a 12yr old little timmy.
Getting people to walk through the front door has been the biggest challange. Advertisement in scotland is very poor compared to some other places and expensive so i but faith in word of mouth, Facebook and google. In my experience though once they are though the door and play one of our free games they are hooked.
God I miss the RTS genre. I was really looking forward to the new command & conquer till EA went and cancelled it. sad panda.
The quick answer to your last question is cause they are easy to play, provide instant gratification and can be churned out like tictacs. unfortunately this is having a bit of an impact on the industry as a whole.
You should open a shop in bathgate. Our town center is Barron but our town is fairly busy. A game shop would save everyone the bus to Livingston. The real money would come in with pre orders since it's local.
When my gaming empire grows i will be looking many potential areas for brainwashing the troops. i will have world domination ;D
Have you or do you expand your business to overseas shipping? I ask because my husband is a tabletop gamer of many different games, historical to sci fi and he's always looking for places to buy figures from (we are in Canada so to find a shop similar to yours is few and far between)
We`re trying to get the Brick and Mortar side of things running smoothly and get through christmas. we have plans ready to go about opening a online shop in the near future. :)
What are your gravy items? Stuff that sells well and gives you the biggest profits...?
Card games always sell well. they just do end of. Though i was surprised to which card games sell well which has been yugioh and pokemon.
As to highest profit margin thats a tie between the wargames stuff and boardgames. though they don`t sell in great numbers unless its xmas time.
What's new in the world of card and board games? Fluxx fan here.
Well for Fluxx the boardgames was release back in july but you probably already knew that. Theres a new expansion coming called wild west fluxx and i`m keeping my ear to the ground on when i can get my hands on that :P.
people are going nuts for munchkin! its off my shelves as quick as i can reorder it. :D. loving pathfinder munchkin atm as i`m a bit of a pathfinder nut.
I`d also say dominion is really good. if i go to a club and someone has dominion id happily sit and play it for hours! I also had a shot of Shadows over Camelot 2 weeks ago and that game is damn hard! but immense fun!
I`m also a big advocate for deck building games like Ascension, Trains and the new Hordes: High command. ;)
Hi. Any thefts or threat of shoplifting in your shop?
There is always the threat of theft and shoplifting with any shop. Thankfully my floor design lets me keep an eye on people browsing and i can flag any shady characters.
Plus i have a loud beeper everytime the front door opens and a friendly hello tends to scare those typos away.
Do you think Scottish independence would be good for game shop economy?
It probably wouldn`t effect us directly. But if people have less money to spend....
We currently don`t do trade ins or sell video games stuff atm. mainly due to some technical stuff with licensing etc but we will at some point.
as to seeing people leave there hobby. i was one. I didn`t play video games or boardgames etc for a while. then when i found friends who played them i started playing them.
A hobby isn`t fun unless you have people to share it with and thats what i aim to provide. a place to share. :)
Do you hold any magic the gathering tournaments?
We don`t hold MTG tournys........ yet ;)
having some problems with the WPL but once thats sorted its full steam ahead on FNM.
Upvote and additional: "how popular is MTG in Scotland?"
MTG is very poplular in Scotland. Also yugioh, pokemen and Carfight! Vanguard are going strong :)
I've been looking for somewhere to have some group sessions for DnD. I'm half an hour away. I may come visit!
Awesome. We have a dedicated RPG night on Mondays :D
If Robin ever contracted AIDs, who would have been most likely to infect him and why?
Now which robin are we talking about? cause the details are important!
I think the most likely scenario would be tamara giving him the herp after the whole pretending the be engaged scenario with vicki.
but then that does sound a bit rom-comi dosnt it :P
Wrong. It was Dick that gave Tim AIDS.
wouldn`t surprise me. starfire does get around
If I give you 30 ps2 games, 16 wii games, and a GameCube, will you give me more than 50$ in return?
if we excepted trade ins id probably give you about $80
too bad we don`t atm :(
Serious question: What's your opinion on Warmachine? How would you compare it to Warhammer (40k)? (I've been thinking about trying Warmachine)
Less-serious question: What has been your worst customer/player interaction? ( Someone who couldn't take losing , Elitist , etc)
Warmachine is alot more "agressive" in its play style than 40k. page 5 of the rule book makes me smile everytime. :)
models wise the warmachine stuff is alot harder to convert but you get everything you need to make the model WYSIWYG
Was there any reason you chose Lanark as your business location? I only ask as I would have thought Hamilton would get you more footfall, but not sure on the difference in rent rates.
You`d be surprised at the amount of foot fall in Lanark and yes rates were definitely a factor in where i was going to open up.
The rates in Hamilton are high but you expect that with a high population town. Plus there wasn`t what i would class as "suitable" places for this type of shop in the price range i could afford. Unless i wanted to open in a dark back alley and cram people into a small space.
How do you decide how much of your shop goes to wargaming tables and how much goes to merchandise? Most of the shops where I live seem to divide about 50/50 but there tends to be a wait list for tables. Is that something you have actively thought about at this point?
floor space is always an issue here in Scotland. Glasgow and Edinburgh for instance have the highest rent value per sqr/inch in europe.
I got lucky with the place i`m in, its spacious and the merchandise moulds around the gaming tables. I would say is more a 70/30 split for gaming space/merchandise for me. plus my gaming space is made up of foldable chairs and tables so i can configure it to whats needed. be it space for 26 people in a yugioh tourny or 4 6x4 gaming tables for wargames.
Seems like a clever solution!
Edit: Not sure if you could answer this but are UK based wargames like Warhammer more popular in Europe? I would think they are because of it being based there but Pabst is super popular in China so lord knows.
As a former GW employ i can tell it is dosn`t do too well in places like china and japan.
Briton is the country of wargames. We produce the most but not necessarily the best. If you go to nottingham you`d be hard pressed to not bump into a studio scultper/painter of some wargames company or shop.
But no one beats sheer enthusiasm like the Americans. holy cow do they take it to the next level. They always do the biggest events. Big armies. big army deals in their shops.
I`d love to open a gaming centre in america at some point. Space is so cheap over there! i could have a massive 5000 sqr/ft mecha of all things gaming! :'D
How hard was is to set up a building?
Not that hard tbh. About just as hard as moving house. :)
Re consoles, how do you set up a wholesale account? My understanding is most distributors will not talk to you unless you have 100 stores etc...
most dvd distros also do video games but their selection is alot less extensive. Usually limited to the newest releases. There are even retro games distros out there.
• Do you enjoy working as a Gaming Shop Owner?
• If you get bored, do you sit down, relax and play the Gameboy?
I love it. its amazing! :D
if i get bored yes i do sit and play games. with rock music blaring so people notice me on the street :D
Friendly suggestion: You might like to put a tabletop or two outside your shop to let card players set up a fun little game. It's attracting to me. I would totally sit outside a game shop with a Chess board waiting for a fellow player to come along.
Why don't game shops typically do this??
I would but my shop is situated at a busy junction between a chip shop and a supermarket :S. plus my insurance only covers inside the shop.
Do you carry MTG?
yes we do. Currently have M14 core, Gatecrash, Dragonsmaze and Theros boosters as well as event intro decks and a few singles.
What is your view on Craig Ferguson? have you read any of his books?
not actually herd of him till now :S
Have you played AC4 yet? I'm debating whether to get it or wait for something like Watchdogs, I don't have a lot of money atm
Sadly not played AC4 yet :( i love me some pirates though.
atm, i`m playing the everylove crap out of arkham origins :D. got it free in a prize draw :P
I have fingers in many pies. Wargames like 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Warmachine, Dystopian Wars. Boardgames galor, RPG`s, Card games and even some anime stuff. :D
I want my shop to be a "geek haven" where people can come and chat about what they`re pationate about. play games and have a good time :)
what do you prefer, privateer press or games workshop?
I like PP mainly cause it dosn`t hurt my wallet as much as GW.
Saying that i love the GW stuff. they make amazing models, hands down. just not at amazing prices.
Will I ever fully learn the rules of Warmachine? Also, I hear Android Netrunner is fun. Any other games to try out?
the basic Rules. yes. though don`t expect to learn every armies special rules. The best tool you have is asking to see that units/solos/warmachines card.
How much capital did u need to start? How long did it take to break even?
your looking at the region of 25-40k or in dollars thats around $35-60k.
We`ve been breaqing even from day 1. I put this down to luck, lots of hard work and the amazing support of my friends and family.
How early do you receive new games and are you a allowed to play them in advance?
scroll a little. i`ve already answered :)
As a person who is seriously considering opening up their own gaming shop, are there any things I should know/any tips you could give?
don`t focus on a few to get lots of those things. focus on little bits of many. Dip your toe in as many types of games as possible and "grow" into what sells and is popular.
when you sign your lease. find out your suppliers current for gas/electric/water and let them now the property is now occupied. theres a few dodgy companies that prey on small businesses that havn
t sorted thos straight away and they are very convincing into making you sign stuff you dont need.
And for the love of god buy air freshners!
What is/are you expecting to be your highest revenue generating item/brand?
I don`t expect. Ever.
I keep my ear to the ground and listen to local clubs and groups about what everyone plays and buy some little bits for what they like. if i sell enough i buy more bits and grow my stock till i have a selection of the brand/game people are playing that im not getting on credit from my distros cause if it dosnt sell i cant send it back.
its alot easier to start small and grow than go big and fall on your face.
Do you have a real website or only Facebook?
Atm only facebook. my starting budget couldn
t cover a website so im having to make one myself but with shop tasks taking up my time its proving a bit difficult.
As the username says I'm in the same business here across the pond. Been doing my best for 8 months now.
What would you say is the best window item to increase foot traffic walk in's? We have our monthly MtG and YuGiOh posters up as well as our window displays, but there has to be something that you've noticed makes people walking by turn around and come back asking what it is.
Upvoted for mixing your nerdly passions with your life goals.
clear windows. let people see inside. the odd poster advertising new card set or games is great but people are naturally curious. The biggest crowd puller is another crowd, being loud and having fun.
Thumbs up from a fellow geek entrepreneur :D
Where is it?
In the town of Lanark, Scotland :)
Brilliant! Anywhere in particualr because I'm a 30 mins drive away
If you know where Valerio`s is. we are directly across the road. used to be an old baby shoe shop.
nope i`m not jo but i know a jo :D
Note: I don't live anywhere near Scotland, much less the store itself, so I'm not looking for any favors here.
Out of curiosity, to you sell games before the release date if you have the shipments, presumably for a higher price, like some independent game shops do? If not, do you condone this practice?
Usually we get New releases 1-2 days before they go on sale. If its a really popular release i`ll hold a midnight event. If word ever got to the distros that we sell something before the release date we get hit with a tonne of penalties on our orders, loose our credit etc. so i dont risk it.
if others do it, thats their decision. if they feel they can risk it good for them. :)
Seing as you are a Gaming Shop Owner, I suppose you have some form of consideration for games in general. My question is, what is your least favorite type of person to buy a game you enjoy playing yourself?
The person buying a game for a child who you know isnt old enough to pay it but the parent is sure that they are.
but i`ve only ever had one of those.
Can I have a job?
Can you work for free? :P
How long did it take you to start up the shop. From idea until opening day?
I`ve had the idea to open one for 3 years before i had the chance to do so. I originally worked for GW in their Livingston Shop essentially from when it first opened to near its closing. Working for GW made me think "yeah i totally want to run my own shop" so i tried hard to get on their management program. Unfortunatly life got in the way.
years later i now own my little slice of geekdom :D
Its an amazingly addictive game! I love it! As long as its in small doses.
Like almost any competitive game ever it suffers from the bad eggs with loud voices that try to tell you how to play, what do do, when to do it etc .
Do you like Arab strap?
I met Aidan once. Solid guy and their musics cool :)
Has Buckfast legitimately affected your business in anyway? Be it customers, staff or even yourself?
Buckfast? not at all. Everyone who steps through my front door is sober :)
So would you say you're behind the proposed banning of the sweet elixir?
I`m honestly not too fussed personally.
Have you ever tried Infinity, the table-top game from Spain? Relatively cheap, great system (ARO is brilliant!), superb community and incredibly detailed figures. It's a big hit in my town where there's nothing but 40k, Warmachines or FoW.
It a great Game! :D I stock it too!
Do you get to play New video games early (before release) yourself. Open the COD,BF, GTA, etc when you get it shipped,
if it has a single player yes i do. i usually make sure my console/pc is disconnected from the interwebs when i play it though. too many games send feedback to their developers for me. ;)
That's pretty cool actually, how early do you get them.
Normally 1-2 days before release.
Oh wow not as early as I thought.
Unless your a major retailer like Game or HMV you can`t get directly from source and need to go through distros who need to make up orders and ship them out to smaller shops.
Hence why Preorders are really important to small shops.
ARE ALL YOUR CONSOLES POWERED BY HAGGIS?
we have specially design generators for our machines to run on the fabled Haggis power.
Do people play MTG there?
They definitely do :)
My friends and I regularly enjoy the Game of Thrones boardgame (v2) and Battlestar Galactica (without the pegasus expansion, so far). Would you have any boardgames you could recommend to us, based on that? Also, I was thinking of getting Eclipse - should I?
Shadows over camelot is a brilliant game. more players the better as theres more chance someone is a traitor. ;)
Chaos of the Old World is also a really nice (and pretty) game. sort of Risk but in the Warhammer Fantasy Universe.
What kinds of Whisky do you serve?
Sadly we do not serve the firey necter of manhood
Were you born in Scotland or did you move there to set up shop
I was Born in Lanark :) got fed up of having to spend most of my money getting into glasgow to spend more money getting the stuff i liked.
Seeing Hamilton, Lanark and Bathgate all on a Reddit thread somehow makes me feel so much more Scottish. World domination, oh and GTA V, you're welcome world.
Its rather refreshing knowing their are redditors in scotland :P
As a slave a to the retail big corporation I really admire you for going out there and achieving your goal. I too would like to have my own business like yours one day so thanks for all the info and advice. Just wondering if as an independent you have any difficulty in getting the popular new release? e.g. How many PS4/Ones will you have to sell on release day?
its really down to how much money your willing to invest in a new release. hence why Preorder are such big things for small shops. you don`t want to get £1000+ worth of stock for a release and have no one buy it.
but then again if you don`t order enough it might be hard to get a very popular brand because all your suppliers are sold out and ypu have to wait for the next run.
Retail is one big juggling act :)
Are there any games that are weirdly popular that you didn't think would sell as well as they did?
And what's the best part of running your shop?
Lava lamps. I thought id get a few non gamer stuff to keep the mums/small children occupied. i never thought id sell so many :D
Its hard to describe but ill try. every morning I unlock the door and step in. After i reset the alarm etc i take a moment to just look around and think "this is mine" and i feel satisfied. Like my actions have real meaning behind them.
I know its probably stupid and sentimental but i take immense pride in my shop as its a far cry to what i was doing only a few weeks before opening.
How much heroin do you do on a daily basis?
I prefer plastic crack. nothing sets your mind at ease like the long wiff of freshly moulded plastic out the box.
I'm surprised I haven't found a comment about Dota 2 in here. Is it popular in Scotland?
yes it is but not as popular as league. I remember playing the original Dota map on warcraft 3..... simpler times
What type of vacuum do you use?
A Truvax International but i can`t find the model number on it :S
Did i decide to do this AmA for pure advertisement? no. Its sunday, the shop is quiet and i`m waiting for WoW to install.
If i make more money out of it. yay more money ;D. Though i know this essentially broadcasts me world wide rather than locally.
What i would like to do it help people who are thinking to open their own shop. be it in california or cuba. Shop owners in the niche market will face the same challanges and the more advice and stories of experience the better people will be equipped when they dive into the shark pool of business. :)
do people still play the starwars card game?
yes they do :)
Do you have a snack bar? Does it serve beer and haggis?
its serves fudge, marsbar (not deep fried), harribo and space raiders. I also have chilled cans of coke irnbru monster and powerade. :)
the haggis are used exclusively to power my machines ;)
what's the most expensive ting you sell? sorry, I just have this question about every store.
tings? tings?! i don
t sell tings! you think im some back alley sweatshop with ting prozzies on the side!?
hahahahha damnit XD
what's the most expensive THING you sell?
The Warhammer 40k: Horus Heresy Boardgame :)
Where in the store is it located? Do you have it locked up? What time do you go to lunch? Do you arm the alarm ALL the time?
you...... i like you
What is the most sold game in Scotland at your store?
Munchklin, Netrunner, Star Wars: X-wing and pathfinder RPG are all immensly popular off the top of my head.
Alot of the teens like Warhammer 40k as well though the older guys like FoW and Warma/hordes
you can come and play it if you want :D
I'm from Scotland. Guess my name...
Iain.... we have far too many Iains :P
Do you have battletoads?
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