Happy New Year! Let's start there, and build from that! The new year means new goals, and for aspiring entrepreneurs around the world sometimes that new goal is "I'm finally opening that game store I've been talking about!" If you've been in this industry for any amount of time you've had other aspiring store owners come to you and ask you for advice. My advice almost never changes.
"You need another zero."
I've been approached by people who say they have ten thousand dollars, and I've been approached by people who say they have twenty thousand dollars, but among the dozens of people who have asked me about opening one of these things I've only one in my life spoken to a person who understood they needed at least a hundred thousand dollars, and had it. In every other case I've been appalled by the idea that people thought they could open on ten thousand dollars or less.
Recently a 'Go-Fund Me' post came across my desk with someone attempting to crowd source the ten thousand dollars they believe they can open a store on, so today I find myself laughing at the appalling low standards of our industry if someone believes this is a real life monetary figure. Today, we'll do a thought exercise to see where that $10,000 goes?
Ready? Let's start with our theoretical retail space. We'll start with a modestly sized store, 2,000 square feet, approximately half my current space. The national average is $17.67 per square foot in retail rent. That means our 2,000 square feet will cost us $35,340.00 annually, not counting any triple net fees that get added to this. We'll be nice and pretend they're included, so our monthly rent is $2,945.00. You're going to have to pay first month and last month on most retail rental agreements, so let's take that out of our ten grand.
$10,000 - $5,890 = $4,110
Starting at the back of our theoretical retail space we'll want to build some play space, because butts in seats and all that. (Despite the sarcasm in that statement, play space is vitally important in building the 'third-space' that makes the modern brick and mortar game store successful.) We'll start off with seating for 24 players, meaning six Lifetime tables and 24 Lifetime chairs.
Six tables at $48.00 each = $288.00 Twenty-four chairs at $20.00 each = $480.00
So we've spent $768 on the bare minimum, barely acceptable, industry standard tables and chairs, and can now seat twenty-four players for card events.
Take that from our $4,110 we have left.
$4,110 - $768 = $3,342
Now, we need to be able to display the merchandise we want to sell. To do that we'll need slat wall, gondolas, display cases, and a cash wrap. We'll start on our walls, where we can get 4'x8' slat wall for about $50.00 a sheet. That means we need $100.00 for each eight foot tall by eight food wide section. If we do the first twenty-four feet of each wall in that slat we need twelve sections of slat wall, at a total of $600.00.
Then we need some floor displays. I'm partial to the Maple slat wall display gondolas, which cost about $200.00 each and are 2'x4'x4'. We can go with only four of them and provide nice wide aisles to start, but we've spent another $800.00 here.
We still need a place to check people out, and glass display cases to build a counter with. Two maple display cases at $300.00 means we've spent $600.00 more, and a maple cash wrap large enough to hold our POS computer and check people out will set us back another $200.00. So we're out $800.00 for our cash wrap area.
Now that we have shelves and gondolas we need to be able to put things on them. We're going to need hooks for things with hang tags, and shelves for large boxes, as well as brackets to hang those shelves.
The 12"x 24" maple shelves work perfectly for most of what we do. We're going to need to build multiple rows of shelving, and we've hung hundreds and hundreds of inches of slat wall. Half of our gondolas will be boxes, so we'll need 16 shelves for our gondolas. Then if we're being way conservative we'll need half of our slat wall to be shelves as well, so let's call it 48 more shelves for the slat wall.
64 shelves at $9.00 each = $576 in shelves
Each of those shelves will need at least two brackets, but with the weight of much of our product I use three. Sixty-four shelves at three brackets means I need 192 brackets. They come in 12 packs for $29.00. Sixteen boxes at $29.00 means I'm spending $464.00 on brackets.
$576 + $464 = $1,040.
$1,142 - $1,040 = $102 (that's what I left of my $10,000, if you're keeping track).
Now we need slat hooks for all those hanging items, expansions for certain