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Posted on Sep 2nd 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (Crabmaster2000)
Posted under Game Quest, Blog Quest, Game Store, Moving, Business, Video Games, Reseller

After a great showing at our local fan convention and nearly two years in our tiny downtown location, we were starting to feel more cramped than ever in our store. It had felt small very early on, but it was just getting worse and worse as we had more customers and product coming in. Especially, since we wanted to add tabletop games in a significant way and didn't have the space to do it properly. It was feeling more and more like it was time to start shopping around for a new home for Game Quest!

The search actually started in late 2014 with us just seeing what else was nearby downtown. There was one storefront that was still vacant from when we were initially looking in early 2013 for our first place to open. We went and checked it out once more and it was roughly 3 times the size of what we were used to. We had initially passed because we felt it might be too expensive for us starting out. We felt more confident that we could handle the increased rent this time and made an offer that was $300 per month smaller than the listing price. Since it had been uninhabited for over 2 years, we were confident the offer would be accepted. Much to our surprise, we received a counter offer that was $200 MORE than the listing price. Apparently, we had offended to owner with our offer. We quickly decided to walk away from that one.

With what we thought was a sure thing shot down and nothing else near our current location that screamed out to us, we took some time to evaluate what we really wanted in our new store. We wanted as much space as we could afford, we wanted a space that parents would drop off their kids for an afternoon of fun or that they could bike/skateboard/walk to, landlords we were comfortable with, more parking than our current meager offering, synergistic neighbors, and high visibility. After reviewing our list, we decided that we should expand our search out of downtown, since the only criteria that were possible to meet, were the affordable and trustworthy landlord (and even that was seemingly difficult). We also talked with the head of the Downtown Business Initiative as she had assisted us in our secondhand bylaw troubles. I told her what our plans for the store were and she agreed that if we wanted a safe and friendly environment for kids to hang out, we should probably look out of the downtown core. It was a tough choice for us, since there was a big push for revitalizing our downtown area, but it was a long way off from where we needed it for our growing business.

My wife took the helm of scouting out new areas for us. We put the word out on our Facebook page and in store for people to keep an eye out for what they thought would be suitable locations for our new store. We were hit with a plethora of potential new areas to look into. We called around and got square footage and prices for different areas to narrow our search. It was easy to drop a lot of strip malls and anything off of the highway as the space we required was too far out of our price range. The most promising areas looked like they were tucked away into a small neighborhood shopping center. It would be out of the way for some, but with such a thick residential community close by, we felt that it would be enough to support us day to day while the rest of the city could come and visit us on weekends.

We found an open spot with a lot of parking in a residential shopping center. It also housed a 7-11, doctor's office, laundromat, pizza place and liqour store. The space was gutted, but the landlord seemed confident he could have it down and ready for us early in the summer (We wanted to be operating in our new place on July 1st). He also alluded to the fact that the store directly next to the vacant space was about to move and he would be willing to rent the additional space to us also. With the one space we would have been at just barely less than 3 times our size and nearly 5-6 times our size with access to both spots. It was very tempting and both my wife and I could see ourselves there. Everything seemed good.

We had not yet signed anything, but we felt confident that if we wanted this to happen it would. We took one more sweep of the city and were feeling confident with this neighborhood shopping center. A friend of mine called me up and said his uncles were looking to rent out a building of theirs just off the highway. We checked it out and the price was right, and it was about 4 times the size of what we were used to. We weren't sure about the location though. It was on a side road with only a few other businesses such as a little ice cream shack, a building supplies store, a sign/decal shop and a vehicle auction place. The road led to a thick residential area, but it wasn't as close as we'd have liked for kids travelling. It was however very visible and between our local Costco and Walmart, which most people travel to at some point each month.

We had two viable options to choose between and we were definitely leaning towards the neighborhood one. We talked with the landlord a couple more times and started to ask customers about each of the locations. We got positive responses from both potential places, but when we started talking about the neighborhood one, we started hearing a lot of horror stories about the landlord there. That was odd we thought, he was always very pleasant when we spoke with him, "must have just been a bad experience" we thought. Then we heard another story, followed by another and another. They started flooding in. The entire time we asked people about him, we hadn't had a single person speak highly of him. That got us worried. We called up my friend and asked him if his uncles still had the place available. Unfortunately, while we were deciding, it looked like they had promised the place to another tenant for November and since they gave him their word, they were not willing to break that just for a few months of extra rent.

This left us in a weird situation where we had a place we liked a lot, but were not comfortable with the person who owned it. We started going back and forth with the paperwork to make sure we had an iron clad lease in case there were any issues. Luckily, after a week and likely just a day or two before we signed any paperwork, we got a phone call that the building my friend's uncles owned was once more available as the potential tenant had backed out. At that point, we were relieved to step away from the neighborhood shopping center and were excited to make the building off the highway our new home Smiley

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Glad to hear it!  It sounds like you guys will have further success.
Keep up the amazing work Crabby!
Holy cow!  Canada had a Costco AND a Walmart!  Oh yea, looks like you guys got lucky!  Everything happens for a reason.
I always look forward to hearing about your store and community's progress.  Great work sir!
An 'out of order' Operation Wolf, no matter how fickle a machine, is almost a crime. Hopefully you are giving out a good Canadian "sorry" to everyone who looks disappointed at this.

Other than that, looks like you are doing pretty awesome and learning lots. Keep having fun Smiley
It's always fun to hear the synopsis after getting the play-by-play as it happens. Really glad this came together for you.
Stores looking great Crabby, had an opportunity to stop by during my vacation this year. Heading your way again this winter for a couple of months , see you again then.

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