Thursday, August 19, 2010
Repost Editorial: How Gamers are Killing their Hobby Stores
Hey everyone, so this a repost of an editorial I wrote towards the beginning of the blog, but I figured it was such a big point that I’d repost it now with the blog a little bigger and more popular than back then.
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.