Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Store Layout

This is a basic layout using Visio. It's mostly to see if things will fit in the store. As we're going from less than 1000 square feet of retail space to 2000, I'm thinking we'll be fine. However, we're adding 60% more inventory, so maybe we want to map that out.

The quick tour: You've got your front door on the left side. A suit of armor looks out from a window on your left. As you walk in, you're completely oblivious to the four gondolas (racks) directly in front of you, comprising mostly of game listing boards, free flyer's and various flavors of Monopoly (skip the monopoly, it's for your own good). As your eyes adjust to the light, your ears and brain register a rousing fantasy film soundtrack playing in the background. You look to your right (everybody seems to do this naturally).

At the right front of the store are toys. There's a Thomas the Tank Engine rack, bright blue and framed with track pieces. At the front of the store, facing the window, is a Thomas play table and a tall rack full of various bits of track (from Melissa & Doug). You also see before you a rack of ERTL cars and trucks (don't step on the young'ins playing in front of it) and a rack of Schleich medieval, fantasy and Wild West toys. Racks and book cases full of colorful toys fill this quarter of the store.

To your left are board and card games, filling the front quarter of the store. You'll notice what you think are many new board games. They're probably not new, only displayed so you can actually see them! We also have puzzles in this section for kids and adults (I may move the kids puzzles to the kids section). We have around 500 board games now, the top 200 from boardgamegeek and a bunch more. We also have over 300 card games. We're adding maybe 50 or 60 more games with the move.

In the middle of the store on your left is a small lounge area with a couple of chairs and tables. In this little nook resides our comic book racks (two of them). Take a load off your feet and check out our trade paperbacks and weekly comics. Right now we stock the top 100 comics of all time, with plans of expanding that section with new books as they're released. This section is also a likely "mom lounge." We'll make sure to have a little table here with something other than just comics.

In the very middle of the store is what's called the "cash-wrap" or register area. Here you'll find helpful staff who always greet customers as they arrive and offer their expert services (they better!). The cash-wrap area will feature snacks, CCG binders, and wondrous items in display cases that beckon you to fondle them. Hey, it's my dream store; I can dream! The reality of store display cases is that they're a dead zone. Customers want to touch things and pick them up. Put something behind the counter, or worse, behind glass, and you cripple sales. Yet, we have display cases because they're convenient for store owners.

In the general area around the cash wrap will be collectible card games, card game supplies and dice. I'm a little fuzzy on how they'll be arranged as I want them to a) be accessible and easy to find/grab and b) not get stolen when I turn my back. These are competing priorities, but I think we can figure it out without a camera system (another post for later).

The back left quarter of the store is devoted to role-playing games and collectible miniatures. It will be slightly larger than what we have now. Hopefully the layout will allow a bit more room for browsing. After we open we'll have to set up a clever RPG display, possibly a cool Dwarven Forge setup.

The back right of the store is all about miniatures. The space will be expanded but the inventory will be much the same. The space will be spread out better, using more racks. We're just flat out of space right now, so it's often hard to navigate the miniatures section. We're going to try to re-launch games like Warhammer Fantasy and 40K. If they take off, mostly due to events in our larger game space, we'll expand our offerings. We already have the entire lines of both Warmachine/Hordes and Flames of War.

Towards the rear of the retail space we will have drink coolers. We'll still have our funky vending machine, but I'm also trying to get coolers from Coke and Pepsi for larger bottles, more variety (including water) and things like energy drinks. We'll have plenty of snacks as well, both Japanese and your typical game store fare (ala Costco). The funky vending machine will be devoted to one-off drinks Coke and Pepsi don't sell: Canada Dry, Dr. Pepper, etc.

So that's a skeleton of the store. It's really boring and desperately in need of some fun displays. Maybe we can make a cool Thomas display, or break out the Miniature Building Authority and build another village. We plan on having a number of miniature game demo tables as well.

The Game Space: I count 10 standard 3x6 tables and 2, 4x8 tables. The 4x8's will have tall wooden stools instead of folding chairs. If you count up all those chairs and stools, I see room for 60 people! Will all those tables fit in there? I'm guessing we'll lose a couple when it's all said and done, realizing it's a bit too crowded. We already have events scheduled for the space: World D&D Day and an auction in November. Also be sure to save the date for our Grand Re-opening on November 4th.