Show Some Love

Posted on Oct 31st 2014 at 12:00:00 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Blog Quest, Game Quest, Game Store, Microplay

Why would a person want to open a video game store and how does that idea go from conception to reality? That question has a nearly endless amount of possible answers. But here is one answer to that question.....

Young Crabmaster getting his first dose of Nintendo

As a young gamer, I grew up in southern Manitoba. It wasn't a large city, but it had pretty much anything a kid could want: playgrounds, bike trails, 7-11s, and video rental stores. Aside from biking to 7-11 with friends to indulge in our nearly daily brain freeze ritual, I would often get my dad to take me to my favorite place in town, a store called Microplay.

Microplay was just a magical place to me as a child. They had shelves significantly taller than me, which brimmed with all sorts of different games, many of which Iíd never even heard of. Its where I used to rent many of my childhood favorites such as Karnov, Totally Rad and Dash Galaxy.

Fast forward to around grade 5 when we moved to a small northern city in BC. They still had slurpees and bike trails, but there was a distinct absence in the video game department. The only options for games were a Zellers and a locally owned video rental store that mostly dealt with movies; games were obviously not a priority. One ray of sunshine opened up when I started Junior High though. It was a hole in the wall game store run by a passionate gamer called Damonís Games. It had a very small selection, but it was stocked with games I'd never seen or heard of before. His idea was to cater to a niche market and get all the RPGs, Fighters and puzzlers that the 2 other stores in town were not willing to stock. I was intrigued and after chatting with the owner, I was turned onto some of my first RPGs and Fighters such as Lunar 2, Final Fantasy IX, Chrono Trigger, Marvel vs Capcom, Killer Instinct and King of Fighters. Much to my dismay, he was out of business in only a couple of years. So back I went to not experiencing too many interesting games.....

Close to 10 years ago, I moved to my current home of Prince George. I was actually pretty thrilled to just have an EB Games to shop at, since I wasn't accustomed to the type of selection they had available. Like many others, I eventually grew tired of what they had to offer and longed for something more. As I talked to others and traveled to new cities, I discovered many fantastic stores that specialized mainly or solely in video games from all generations. It brought back memories of Damonís Games, but these were even better as they didn't just stick to a few gaming niches. I started asking around town and heard about a few gaming stores that used to exist in Prince George, but the last of them had closed down prior to me moving to town.

First World Problem: Everyone should have access to a dedicated game store!

"Why had we gone for nearly a decade without a game store when gaming was supposedly more popular now than ever??" This question bothered me for years as I continued to abuse the only avenues available for me in town, places like pawn shops, Kijiji/Craigslist, garage sales, and online purchases. When talking to others about it I got answers like: ďThere is no market for it or we would have one," "this city isn't big enough to support it," (population around 80,000), or "youíd need to specialize in other products as well as video games to survive." None of those answers sat right with me. I couldn't be the only one in the city craving a place to expose my passion for gaming. There HAD to be others like me.

Eventually, I got to the point of serious consideration and ran the idea of starting such a store by my wife. She was encouraging and so we started planning it out. We had originally planned it to be years from when we actually opened, but some unforeseen circumstances stepped on the gas pedal and we changed a 5 year plan into a 1 year plan.

As soon as we had decided it was something to pursue, we moved forward at full force. We met with realtors and landlords to look at potential storefronts, bought up large varied lots of video games to be used for stock, talked with banks about opening new accounts, learned some fundamental bookkeeping, wrote up budgets, looked into different advertising options, and took advantage of closing out sales in order to get shelving and display cases for as cheap as possible. Since neither my wife nor I had any experience or training in running a business, we decided that we would not be taking a loan to start the business. If we were horrible at running the store and it fell flat on its face, we didn't want to be stuck with a sizable chunk of unwanted debt. A few personal items were sold to fund store related purchases and a relatively large portion of my personal gaming collection was gutted to be used for store inventory. The months of hard work seemingly paid off as we were ready to open right on schedule for our September 1, 2013 date.

The short answer to my original question is that I saw a need for this type of business in my community and decided to take a risk and see if there was enough demand for it. The longer version is that Iíd like to make a few bucks doing something that I enjoy, while hopefully creating that special place for people that they canít wait to visit each time and will eventually reminisce about long after Iím done with it.

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Great story.  I wish for the same exact thing.  I wish I had the support you had.  Great job!
Cool!  I've added this to my "Watch Later" list for tonight when I try to get my kids asleep.  I've also subbed your channel.

Civ is a series that I've always wanted to get into, but for some reason it's never happened, even after that story ran about the ten year-old Civ II game broke out (The Eternal Way, I think it is called).  Still, every six months or so I install Civ IV (I think that is the version I own) and give it a go.
I read the whole thing but the last line really resonated with me. I am an extremely nostalgic person, and I love what you say about creating memories for people when you are done with the store. I have many memories of my childhood and what made it special to me. While I am certainly no child anymore, (at least not physically) I still feel a bit of that sense of wonder every time I get a game that I have always wanted to play. I also feel like I am part of local history every time I go hang out at Game Quest, remembering previous stores I have frequented in my lifetime. Even if you close your doors next month Crabby, you will have at least made an impact in our little community, and gave people in our city something to remember fondly.

Thanks again sir. Its been a great first year.
@bombatomba: Lol.  Don't know how that ended up here, but...

In short, yes, I do believe everyone who cares should have access to a "local" game store.  When I was a kid you went to either a local toy or department store or a rental ($3 for one day) and had to love it.  More than likely you played a lot of arcade games with your friends and talked about how cool it would be to test out games before you played them (I'm looking at you, Ikari Warriors!).

What you are doing is such an awesome thing, Crabby.  Kids in your area will reminisce about hanging out at your store for years, swapping stories between each other (even between generations, think of that!).  That's pretty special, man.  If I was the mayor I would give you the key to the city, or something.
Congrats on the store, Crabby! You have achieved a dream held by many, and I hope it continues to be as fulfilling as we'd all want ours to be! Smiley
Crabby congrats on the store.  I have been listening to collector cast for a while now and I always love hearing about how the store is doing and how the game tournaments are doing and such.  Hopefully the store is doing as fantastic as it was when you opened the store.  I know you mentioned you underpredicted demand and it is fantastic that it has been such a success for you.

When you first started I believe you were working one job in the morning and closing at the store at night.  Are you still doing that or has the store been good enough for you to part ways from the other job and focus directly on the store?
@Tadpole13: I'm pretty sure that Crabby is still working the other job. A few months into opening his store, I got in touch with Lestat down in the Big Easy and flew him to Canada to turn Crabby into a vampire so that he wouldn't have to worry with sleep. Seems to have worked out well. Smiley
@Tadpole13: Still working both jobs. Every 90 days I can swap positions with a fellow co-worker and that drops me down to 2 days a week at my other job. Right now I'm back to doing fulltime hours at both places. Gotta put in my time to get the store moving at a good pace. I have no actual plans to drop my other job as I really enjoy it. My plan is to eventually just own the game store and have others run it and work my older job for the most part and maybe part time at the game store.

@singlebanana: Lestat??!!? Really?? Louis can bite my neck any day of the week Wink
@Crabmaster2000: Well that is great Crab master.  has your wife been picking up on a lot of gaming knowledge and skills to hopefully help take over the store when you transition to only working the other job.  Or would you prefer to just have other passionate gaming individuals run the store?
@Tadpole13:My wife has her own job and close to no interest in gaming. It would be someone else taking the reigns.
@Crabmaster2000:I'd volunteer myself, seeing as I did that exact job for several years at another mom'n'pop game store, but that commute would be a stretch even for me. Wink

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