Tuesday, August 7, 2007


The latest head scratcher is the sudden realization that all local competition is disappearing. The local Games Workshop store is closing the week before we move into the new place. The employees are supposed to keep it quiet, but they had to learn about the closure from the mall security guard! They're not exactly motivated to keep secrets.

Safe Haven Games closed last month. Games of Concord (Gamer's Sanctuary) closed their Clayton store the month before. Games Unlimited is rumored to be on the fence. Ian's Games in Vallejo closed last fall. That will leave, let's do the math ... hmmm ... carry the one ... zero game stores except ours.

There is lots of indirect competition. For example, the local comic book store sells some games (and now we sell comics to their dismay). Barnes & Noble sells some RPG books. There are a couple card shops in the area. Target and Wal-Mart sell some of my board games. Then there's the Internet and the many game stores in Oakland and Berkeley.

Nevertheless, the list of "exclusive" (Contra Costa County) products we carry continues to rise: Flames of War, Warmachine, and eventually Warhammer, board games and puzzles. Ironically we're expanding into toys at a time when we may dominate locally in games if we keep our focus. Time will tell if our toy section survives or if it's taken over by games. For the time being, we need to push toys to the limit.

One of my toy reps made the observation today that most of my toy purchases are along the lines of collectibles anyway, very much like games. Schleich, ERTL, Thomas all have collectible aspects. Much of the other stuff I consider toys are actually games outside the distribution channel. Some are chemistry type craft sets. Only my Mellisa & Doug stock will be strictly toys, and that will be 10% of my inventory (a good bit of it puzzles).

Warhammer Update: Silver was the color of the day: Swords, armor, bracers, shields. My wrist is sore from painting my Tyrant - heavy!


  1. "...and the many game stores in Oakland and Berkeley."

    There are exactly 70. Be more precise next time.


  2. Well, I'm looking forward to seeing the new store when it's done. It's sounding better and better everyday.

    It's a tough business. I've seen a few go under. There was one by Brenden a couple years ago. Nice place too.

    I hope both you and Games Unlimited can survive. I made my first D&D purchases (Basic/Expert, & Modules) at the store they had near Clayton some 25 years ago.

    Seems like you have a good idea of what will work and have a good plan, so you should do just fine. I'm hoping for the best.


    I'm on a pl;ane to Indy tomorrow, so I'll see ya in a couple weeks after Gencon.

  3. Maybe some more news?

    Clayton Sportscards (where my friend runs Friday Night Magic/Summer of Magic) might be closing with the owner retiring. Right now we play drafts at my apartment in Walnut Creek. I'm pushing him to move the games to Black Diamond when the new location opens :)