[Archive] Need help brainstorming for my store

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Hi everyone!

I’m trying to breath some new life into my old, tired, recession beaten store and I’m looking for some help from everyone here in brainstorming up some ideas for gamming events, lessions, etc.

Here’s what I have been doing so far in the last month or two, and what I am thinking of doing staring this month.

1.) As per my GW rep’s suggestions (And free Demo Sets) I’ve begun to give some BFSP demo’s and painting/modeling lessions for my customers, based on painting my mini’s. So far these have been sucessful as new players are getting to know the basics of Fantasy and older customers are also getting more involved in playing, even if they are dusting off their dormant old models, or buying new ones. I have a 40K set that I haven’t built up yet and an unopened Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria set that I am debating opening up, but so far Fantasy has been the #1 seller in my store and that’s where I’ve devoted the most time to.

Right now, the painting and modeling aspect has been a little “Fast and Loose and Random” to what I’d normally want to teach, so I just finished writing up a 7 page mini-book on building GW figures which includes a lot of pictures, my model building know-how and Autobody Collision Repair know-how that has helped me in building model cars. All skills are transferrable, right? Anyway, I hope to use this little mini-book as a guideline to teaching the kids and for them to have something to keep after the lessions to reflect upon.

2.) Some of my customers who have been playing Warhammer Fantasy with me have been looking into other Fantasy based GW games like “Skirmish” and “Mordheim”, although no one has played Mordheim yet. (To be honest, I’m more interested in it! :D) i’m thinking of having days dedicated to those games.

3.) There’s a small group interested in playing Warhammer : Ancient Battles due to it’s lower figure cost - I.E. using Imex historical figures - 50 men for $10.00. Promoting that game could be a good way to lead into other GW games for those players later on.

4.) After writing my basic building guide, I am thinking of getting the tools, etc, from one of my non-GW wholesallers and making up tool sets to sell along with the mini-book and some lessions…something simular in theory to the GW Academy courses.

Tool sets would inclue : Files, Glue, Clippers, #11 blade and Hobby Knife, Sand Paper(s), and a paint brush (or 2). I’d probably get 10 boxes made up to begin with and see where the interest lies.

The course would be something like :

Buy the tool set, paints and your models - lessions are free. (These should cover all aspects of Mini’s.)

Week 1 - Assembling the Models

Week 2 - Painting and Basing

Week 3 - Gaming intorduction (BFSP, 40K, etc)

Week 4 - Army Lists

Week 5 - Building Scenery (Primarily a cardboard Empire Style building of my own design - 3 designs to choose from.)

5.) Our local Domino’s Pizza has a “Monster Monday” deal where a large pizza with 5 toppings is only $9.99 CDN. I just wonder if I can get people in on a Monday Night though, some time like 7:00 pm and go to 9:00 pm? If not, then maybe do the same thing from 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm when the store officially closes. It’s an option that may or may not work.

6.) I’m in the process of writing up a brochure letting people know times and in-store events as to when to have game days, build days, and paint days. It will also include special events. However, at this point, I don’t know what they are.

7.) I’ve finished building approximatly 1.5 styrofoam 4’x4’ tables in the form of interchangeable gamming squares (24"x24" each).

8.) I am thinking of including a “Bits Swap” day and an upcoming painting contest…once everyone is skilled enough in model building.

Anyway, I know this is a lengthy post. Please let me know if I should add anything or if I’m even on the right track.

Thanx again!

Trevor Ursulescu

Monster Hobbies

P.S. I also want to include Magic : The Gathering in here too.


I would suggest having a specialist games night for things like Mordheim, Bloodbowl, Man-o-war, Inquisitor or anything else similar for costumers to play and try out.


Gamers like free food! Get the word out about a game night with free pizza. Do a demo of a game. For Magic the Gathering, have some sample decks out for people to play with. People will sit through a demo to get free pizza and the demo should start to hook people. If the first one goes well, do a second. Eventuallly you’ll have an established “game night”. Run some tournaments and give out some low cost prizes. It’ll catch =)


Do you run any campaigns? Some of the best times I had in local GW stores was when a good group of gamers ran proper campaigns. You could find out what the most popular game systems are and organise one. The old Mighty Empires books had loads of stuff for running campaigns, might be tricky to get hold of but it isn’t hard to get one going yourself. If you start it at a low points cost (maybe 500pts for Warhammer Fantasy) it allows people to try new armies, and they can paint up new units ready for the following week’s game, and so forth.


Gambatte kudasai! I’m back from a Japanese study session :wink: translation: come on!

I strongly support you to come out recession. Yes it has been had even for my job. Do not worry I think 2010 will be the starting of recovery for North America :slight_smile:

You have a lot of nice ideas. I strongly suggest you to keep on with painting courses. One of the most disocuraging things in the hobby for newbies is how hard is to have a painted army. If you teach them it is possibile to have an assembled and painted army in a reasonable time it’s really positive.

A campaign as Suggested by Baggronor is a good idea.

Magic the Gathering? Ouuuuuuch, I hate that game! But, hey, for your business vould be good. Just pay attention to not transfor your lovely hobby store in an area for card trading… I hate those places!


�’張ってくだ�.�"! :slight_smile:

This message was automatically appended because it was too short.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

I take it the above comment is in Japanese…or it could just be a bunch of square boxes…I don’t know.


Tarrakk, I’m going to be in your neck of the woods this coming Sunday and Monday, but sadly the timing isn’t going to work out to make the detour to High River for a visit to your store (heading to U. Lethbridge to see some friends and give some seminars).  Anyway, perhaps another time.

One option might be a series of games and hobby nights with prizes. You could do one of these a week with small prizes like a blister pack where the winner gets their choice of one new fig (maybe from 3 that you choose, maybe based on cost?).  Then after 3 weeks the fourth week could be something slightly bigger like a choice between a set of hobby tools, a book or a box of figs. If you were to charge a modest entry fee for the hobby sessions but provide pizza and some basic supplies (maybe a mini or two that will be judged at the end of the night), by the end of each night you might be able to cover the cost on a blister and after a month hopefully the cost of something larger.  If you have a secure display cabinet you could also offer to display the winning piece in the shop for the following week or something until they turn up to use it.

If you went the Mordheim-themed session for one month you could have people pick a theme and purchase the models they want, do any mods, then at the end of the night do a quick and dirty run-through of the basic rules using any of their finished or in-progress models. Then do a prize for the best overall band (maybe play with different weights for having it finished, good theme, well painted, uniqueness, etc. and let all the participants vote too). The following week you could do a few terrain pieces and maybe give away a piece of GW (or other company) terrain. If you broke open the Fortified Manor House and split up the parts you could do a 1st place and a collection of some of the bits for a runner-up or 2nd and 3rd place… probably saving other bits for future events or just random grab-bags for participants. Again, at the end of the night do some more basic Mordheim gameplay using the terrain people have build as well as their bands of characters, building on the rules complexity.  Maybe the 3rd session would be a foam modelling session (if it was me there’d be no way I could finish one piece in an evening)… where you supply a stack of pre-cut base boards (maybe 12"x12" or similar) with the basic rule that their piece must meet those dimensions and must be the 1" height at the edges of the board, but can be any height within the foam board (so they can have big hills or a pond, but it must come back to the same level at the edges so that they can all be joined up (hope that makes sense). By the 4th session you could just have one large Mordheim game where you supply the main gaming terrain but participants also bring their band, terrain bits and foam terrain. Perhaps you could join in as one of the factions (The Crypt Keeper and his Restless Undead?) and do a sort of timed ladder match where each table of 2v2 or a 4-person FFA get 30 mins to kill the other bands, reach an objective or just be last one standing… In the end you could give out a Mordheim book (or something of equivalent value to the winner) and to every participant who completed the whole thing a $5 gift voucher for the store.

You will probably need to crunch some numbers on this kind of a thing to make sure that the store doesn’t lose money.  In my somewhat limited experience, as long as the participants feel like they’re getting their entry fee back in merchandise and even if the store breaks even, those will be good customers down the road who will be likely to spread good word-of-mouth about the events, and most importantly be return participants and customers who are willing to spend their money on the hobby at your store (instead of waiting to go to Sentry Box on their next trip to Calgary).

The other option too is to have a customer rewards program (maybe you already do this)… but keep a running tally, maybe tied in with customer phone numbers, where if they spend $100 they get $10 off their next purchase.  Comic Hunter on PEI used to do this, and I know Revolution Games in Calgary did/does as well… in the big picture it can really help keep things moving.


Tarrakk Blackhand:

Good ideas there Nicodemus! Too bad you couldn’t visit the store though.

I’m a little too poor right now to offer such prizes, but I was thinking of doing some “Make a building” nights (or days). The buildings would be cardboard.

The idea of the terrain piece makes perfect sense to me. Keep the outer height all the same for interchangeability.

Old One Eye:

My local store has free paint sessions for the local low income families.

And also he has a Friday night tourny kinda thing that people drop by for five bucks and they play from 5pm to midnight, plus the local burger baron supplys the food for the night,

so finding a partnership with a local small business would be a great idea to advertise both yours and the food place/thing

Just some suggestions


Tarrakk Blackhand:

Thanx for more suggestions!

Hey O.O.E…are you still coming down to the shop?


My local store is awesome, and I think they’re doing well financialy too. Here’s some stuff they do:

1. Army building campaigns. IE everyone builds and paints X points per month, and then meet up and play a map campaign with increasingly high points. They did this for 40k and Fantasy last year. This year, it’s Warmachine.

2. Painting table in the store. You can come in and paint, but you might need to bring some own supplies, I’m not sure. I don’t use this, but I always see people do when I’m there.

3. Game tables free for all to use, any game system you want to play.

I imagine their key to success is having people hang around the store a lot. Thay can’t compete with internet prices, but they can offer a whole lot of other things which make you want to go there. Once there, you tend to end up buying something or other. They stock non-GW hobby stuff (Vallejo Paints, Micro Art Studio bases, GF9 tools and materials) and so on. They also have specific days that cater to MtG and other CCGs, and have been making an effort to get official events for various games.

I reckon holding paint and play campaigns is a great way to get people to come down to your store, and once there, they’ll probably pick some stuff up. If painted models is a requirement for campaign participation, you’ll get people picking up hobby supplies for this as well. For me, the great thing about the campaign has been match-making. I don’t know a lot of people around here who play, but I show up at campaign night, I’m getting at least one game in.


I take it the above comment is in Japanese..or it could just be a bunch of square boxes....I don't know.
If it appears as boxes, its probably your encoding :)

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Well, it does it on my home and business computer, So I probably don’t have the language apps it was written in. …MAN, I need a picture! :smiley:


I agree with Ogrob, especially number 2 and 3.  Otherwise you are just going to a store, with tables and the likes it would make your store have a more community feel to it.  That community aspect is what would keep me coming back to a store time and time again.  If there was one here in Pittsburg, Kansas. . . (Sighs and calls for a slave to torture)


�'張ってくだ�.�"! :)

If my Japanese is correct he wrote Gambatte kudasai. Translated Come on!
At least, my kanji knowledge is bad but there are two kanjies followed by -ttekudasai :)

Watashiwa nihongonogakusee desu :P


If my Japanese is correct he wrote Gambatte kudasai.
Yup :)
I imagine their key to success is having people hang around the store a lot. Thay can't compete with internet prices, but they can offer a whole lot of other things which make you want to go there.
Exactly, nothing beats being able to just turn up and get a game. If you can get a regular gaming group going, the rest should follow.

Old One Eye:

Hey O.O.E.....are you still coming down to the shop?

Tarrakk Blackhand
nah man my schedule got a messed and i didnt even get to go anywhere but i will try to stop by someday

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Sometimes that happens.