Thursday, July 8, 2010

Editorial: How Players Kill Their Hobby Stores

So no picture updates today, but I wanted to talk about a subject that I have argued with friends at my local hobby shop. It seems like everywhere I look, local hobby shops, FLGS, and CLGS all over the country are closing. Some of these stores do nothing for their patrons, and some do a lot, such as providing their patrons with a place to meet, play, etc.

During my first year of college, the closest hobby store to campus was a 30 min drive into Aztec, New Mexico. The shop, Pass-Go Games, was in pretty bad shape financially when I started to go, but they had a 40k community of over 20 people, so I started to go down every Saturday.

However, I started to notice that stock on the shelves were never replenished, and that the shop wasn't doing as well as everyone had hoped. I also noticed that despite having a place to play and meet, the other guys weren't doing anything to help keep the shop open. Everytime I went down, I'd pick up some paints, brushes, occasionally a model or two, something to justify me using the shop for games and a place to hang out for the day.

Talking recently to a friend from the shop, I learned they were opening a shop in nearby Farmington, NM. I also learned that in order to use the gaming tables, it costs a dollar or two, depending on how busy the shop is that day.

Is this the route hobby shops are having to take? In the case of the shop in Aztec, the owner just never had the ability to replenish his stock, and that hurt him saleswise, but could the weekly players had helped keep him alive by spending, say, $10 a week at the shop? Was it worth even trying to keep him alive? The shop in Farmington might have the answer in the short-term, but requiring a fee to play on their tables will keep players away.

Are players killing their Hobby Stores? I believe so. Its worth their time to drop the owner some cash every time they play to help keep the store running. Its not worth their time to stay open for 8+ hours if they have 10+ people in the store, and yet make no money.

Note: I'll have some more pictures up tomorrow, not only am I almost done with the Scout squad, but I finally broke down and finished another project I had lying around.


  1. It's a disappointment every time I try to buy something from my LGS (I no longer put an F in front my LGS). Inventory is small, and ordering sometimes takes weeks. I've been trying to get him to replenish his stock of Blood Red for three weeks. It's like the guy doesn't care about selling me stuff and that he's not trying that hard to keep his gaming customers. I don't know how he stays in business.

    Now, on a good traffic day, there is a great FLGS about 40 minutes south of me, and a decent one north about an hour. Regrettably, weekends are not good traffic days, so I don't frequent either.

    So, I think shop owners are just as responsible as players for killing their Hobby Stores. A well run store will stay in business. A poorly run store won't. I do think players can make a difference for a store falling somewhere in between.

  2. Shop owners are definitely responsible for killing their own stores as well as the players. I've watched two hobby shops shoot themselves in the foot and run themselves out of business, its a total shame.