Saturday, August 18, 2007

Straw Stores

The local Games Workshop store closes in less than a month and we noticed that they didn't include us on their flyer for other local stores. All of the local stores listed on the flyer were at least 20-30 minutes away, so we figured this was a simple oversight. I personally brought them flyers with our information on it, including a map to the new location, since we're opening up a big store with a game center shortly after they close.

Today I learned the district manager tossed the flyers. Not the employees or the manager, but the district guy. This was after my GW sales rep said he would pass my info on to him so they could add me to their listing.

The most logical reason I can think of is that they plan to re-open nearby sometime in the future (true) and that they don't want to advertise their future competition. Instead they advertise "straw stores" so far away that they know they'll be able to drag back the faithful. Of course, Games Workshop insists that local stores aren't competitors, that they work hand-in-hand with locals.


  1. I'll be nice and not take shots. This is a family store after all. Seriously, thought, I thought these guys dealt mainly in Warhammer. I've only been in the mall to see that place once and wasn't impressed. I know you have Warhammer, but that's only a part of what you have.

    If they are reopening elsewhere, I guess I understand, but if not, they are pretty lame. Did they mention Games Unlimited?


  2. I gotta tell you, I am seriously not happy about this. Not only does it affect you adversely, affects their customers, and the "GW Hobby" too. By ignoring your new location, with expanded gaming space, they are potentially denying people a place close to their homes, to play and buy their own games. Concord to Oakland is a haul. I hate making it. Personally, I would not make that drive to Oakland on the two weeknights we offer to play GW games. That becomes a helluva a long night. SO if those people have just lost their only convenient space to play...maybe they just don't play. The GW Hobby community has just lost both a consumer and participant. Asinine on all fronts.

  3. GW US has a corporate culture that is based on all decisions being top-down, and not the other way around.
    Low level employees taking initiative is often seen as "heresy", and viewed as a threat to their superiors.

    I wouldn't be shocked if GW opens another store in the area - possibly a "battle bunker" - in a non-mall location (where the rent is more affordable).

    I know that Sun Valley did very well for them at one time, as did the San Jose store (although it sounds like their San Jose customers have been flocking to the Stoneridge store for some time now).

  4. Games Unlimited doesn't sell GW, so they weren't included. They have a bitchin' Thomas the Tank Engine selection though. ;)

    We sell Games Worshop now and the local GW store knows that.

    The GW employees are great to us, no question. Every one of them shops at our store. EVERY one of them. They are gamers first, and they buy supplies, dice and several are big Warmachine players. Whenever someone in the mall asked about a non-GW game product, they would direct them to our store. You can't ask for more than that.

    At this point all I can do is use this opportunity to put extra effort into supporting the GW community, while they decide when or if they're going to re-open. They intend to re-open; they've made that clear.

    We're starting a Warhammer Fantasy campaign the first day we open (beware the ogres) and we already have a big 40K club planning events.

    At the same time, GW direct sales sent us a big box of terrain for our Warhammer Fantasy event. We asked for some stuff and my rep asked if we wanted buildings or trees. We chose buildings and they sent both.

  5. I honestly can't say enough good things about Travis. He goes above and beyond most sales reps I dealt with even in Hi-Tech...

  6. Travis has been very helpful in many ways. I'm not sure how long he's been there, but I can't imagine someone so good working for GW when they were in their "bad" phase.

    We started carrying GW last year when they changed their policies and they've been nothing but great.

    The only disappointing thing with Games Workshop for me is that they have no pre-order system. They might send out a solicitation a couple months ahead of time, but I can't order it until it's about to be released. Our GW sales are modest (getting bigger), so it's hard to devote that amount of attention to just another product line.

  7. I have an interview pending approval with GW on 2d6feet. He talks about his history there, and some of the changes that were made. As soon as Steve Morgan approves, it will go live...

    This is where you also get to find out Travis is a long tome Story gamer too :)