Two weeks ago I published a blog entitled You Need Another Zero, when a Go Fund Me came across my desk where someone was seeking to open a game store on $10,000. I tried to build a $10,000 game store in that blog, and ended up with the most shameful looking $40,000 game store I had ever seen.
That led me into discussions all over the internet, and some people encouraged me to write a real budget for opening a game store, so over the last two weeks I have set out to do that. Those conversations lead to this, the very first four-blog week, as Monday through Thursday this week we look at a realistic opening budget for a game store we're not ashamed to own.
Let's start with the space.
How big do we want our fictional store to be? My example store was 2,000 square feet, something I don't particularly like. We're going to go with 4,000 square feet today, the approximate size of my current store. In our last example we used the national average rent for retail storefronts, $17.67 per square. I pay less than that, but the national average makes for a good example.
$17.67 * 4,000 = $70,680 annual rent
The most common CAM fees (Common Area Maintenance, and until you understand that, please don't try to negotiate a lease) are 15-20%. We'll split the difference and call it 17.5% added to your rent in CAM fees.
$70,680 * .175 = $12,369 annual CAM fees
$12,369 (CAM) + $70,680 (Rent) = $83,049 annual building cost
We divide that by twelve and get $6,920.75 per month. When we open our store we're probably going to have to pay first and last, and we want to make sure that the bills are taken care of for some period of time while we build a clientele. Let's go with three months of rent in the bank so that we don't have to worry about it. That means I need to have five months worth of rent built into my opening budget.
$6,920.75 * 5 = $34,603.75 (Building expenses for five months)
We'll call it $35,000 so that we can keep these numbers rounded a little for our readers.
But look! We've negotiated our lease, and we've got space! It's four thousand square feet that used to be a laser hair clinic, but it's ours! Now we have to build it out and get it ready for customers! Most landlords will remove walls, and some will do flooring, painting, etc., but for the sake of ease we're going to give you a 4,000 square foot box that doesn't need walls removed or electrical added. Those things aren't always true, and as I like to say around here, your mileage may vary.
Floors & Walls
We sell a luxury product, and I said it a few days ago in a Facebook group, and I'll say it again here, don't sell luxury products in a dungeon. Just...don't. Please. While the hobby market is growing, it's growing because Muggles are becoming hobbyists. We must make them comfortable in the transition. My current store is carpeted. I hate it. I'll never lay carpet again. We are event centers. We host numerous events in premium game spaces, and carpet, no matter how nice, just doesn't stay premium.
I like wood. I like commercial grade, low gloss, manufactured hardwood. I want it to be a little darker than the fixtures I'll be buying, and I'll be spending a lot of money on maple later in this segment, so we're going with this hardwood, and having someone else install this shit, because while I'm capable, I'll have other things to do during opening prep, and what a team of professionals can do in one night will take me and my poor, over 70 year old father, several long, hard, days to do.
We're going to pay $2.73 per square foot for this, plus the super low price of sixty cents per square foot for installation.
$2.73 * 4,000 = $10,920 (buying the floor) $0.60 * 4,000 = $2,400 (having it installed)
$10,920 + $2,400 = $13,320
I also have to deal with my walls. I'm happy to paint. Because my fictional space only has three walls to paint (the front is all glass, just a little framing to paint at the top) I'm happy to take a day laying down paint. I do a lot of painting around here anyway, because I kind of enjoy it. I'm weird, deal.
But we do need to get two coats of good quality paint on the other three walls. Our fictional store here is 50 feet wide (street facing) and 80 feet deep, the 4,000 square feet we've talked about. The average ceiling height I've seen is ten feet in retail spaces. This means, according to Glidden, I have 2,100 square feet of wall, and each coat will take six gallons of paint, for a total of twelve gallons of paint.
We want something semi-gloss, with a primer. Color rarely affects the cost of paint, so just remember that you don't want to sell luxury products in a dungeon and pick something nice. I've had a lot of luck with Glidden Diamond, at about $26.00 per gallon.
$26.00 * 12 = $312 for paint
We also need to buy the stuff to put paint on the walls. I don't want to bore you with the details of brushes, tape, rollers, etc, let's just plan on another $100 for that stuff, bringing our paint total to $412.