The store is doing very well. It was unclear whether holiday sales would even hit this year until last weekend. Traditionally, we have above average sales the first two weeks of December, followed by a steep ramp up until Christmas, followed by three weeks of regulars returning. What we saw over the weekend and what has continued into this week is a frenzy of activity, centered partially on the San Francisco Chronicle story on board games. It acted as a much needed advertisement of both our existence and of some good family board games.
What I've noticed about the article is that the tone and intent of the article has had a much greater role than in previous years. Yes, there were board games listed, but many customers came in with the message of the article in mind, that board games are an excellent value and fantastic way to spend time with the family. In other words, the article did the key sales job of selling the experience and not just the product, the sizzle rather than the steak.
It's true that some customers came in and just grabbed the listed game off the shelf, or moved on when we didn't have the exact game they wanted (the elusive Sorry Sliders), but far more than normal were willing to have a conversation with us, ask our opinions, and buy something off-list. That's the kind of interaction I enjoy with customers. In fact, it made me realize what annoyed me most about these kinds of articles; it's ego. It's that customers trust this guy who writes one board game article a year over my judgement, the guy who plays and sells them year round. Once I take a step back and drop the ego, I get out of the way of myself and have a much better customer experience.