I'm opening up a brick and mortar this year and want some advice!!
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Genesis Comics   
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After years of talking about it, dreaming it, and wishing it, I'm finally doing it :cloud9::whee::eek:

Shop will be located on Long Island, NY in Suffolk County...still scouting out some locations...

 

I'm hoping with the collective knowledge on the board and lot's of hard work I can make it successful! I'm prepared to work 10-12 hours a day 7 days a week and I don't expect a vacation any time soon...I'll be starting off solo, but I have a kid I trust who's going to help out with running the magic tournament scene...I'm not looking to make a killing...I'm looking to eventually make 50-75 a year after I get established...If I can make more, great...if not that's OK too...I just want to do what I love...

 

I have a few questions that hopefully I can get some feedback on!

 

First a little bit about what I want to do/sell:

1) Comics, both vintage and new...discount boxes (50 cent or dollar boxes)

2) Magic the Gathering, new product, old product, tournaments (both casual and competetive)

3) Pokemon/Yu-Gi-Oh/Vanguard and maybe some other games...whatever catches on...

3) I'm thinking about toys (vintage-Star Wars/LJN/Mego type stuff) and newer stuff...I don't have a lot, but that's mostly because I never had the space...I have an acquaintance that "rents" out wall space at different shops to sell wrestling/sports figures etc. So not entirely sure on that...really depends on how much space I have)

4) Autographs/Art...my father is/was a big collector and has accumulated a lot of nice pieces(Olivia painting/frazetta sketch and a few original pieces as far as art) and some presidential autos/marilyn/elvis/cast photos etc)...he has lost the passion and is just looking to move on so I figured I'd help him out and give him some "space" in the shop...doesn't hurt to have some nice looking pieces on the wall either...

 

I'm open to adding items that fit in with the stores theme

 

Currently 90-95% of what I have is comic or MTG related. I have about 5-10K to buy more inventory/supplies which will leave me about 40K in the bank at opening...people have told me it's not enough and people have told me it's more than I will need...truth is it's what I got and what I'm going with...

 

I want to be a place where people want to come and hang out and "talk shop" play games etc...It will be well lit and CLEAN! I hate those dark danky shops with dirty bathrooms...ugh...

I want it to smell good lol.

 

All that being said, I have a few questions for you good folks!

 

First and foremost, if you've ever opened an LCS or gaming shop any advice or adversity you faced that you did not expect would be helpful! Either by PM or in the thread!

 

 

1) What do you like about your LCS? What qualities does it have that makes it a place you want to go and hang out at each week?

 

2) What do you expect to see when you walk in a "good" comic shop...this answer will be different depending on what you collect of course...

What I mean is if you are a silver/bronze/copper/modern collector what keys do I need to have on my walls (I don't have a ton of silver...best books are TTA 59/60 both in cgc 9.4)

 

3) Comic clubs...what discounts are expected for "club members" and how does yourLCS deal with the short printed variant covers?

 

4) For you games...tables and chairs...are the fold up tables/chairs OK, or would it be better to invest in "nicer" stuff...is this something gamers care about?

 

I have a bunch more questions, but I guess I'll start with these.

 

Thanks for reading this and thanks for taking the time out to answer...I appreciate any and all feedback...I'll keep you guys posted (if you want lol) on how everythings coming along...in a perfect world I'd like to open before free comic book day this year...but that all depends on whether or not I find the right place at the right price...wish me luck :grin:

 

Bill

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nochips   
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I hate to crush the dream......................I would not do it, honest...Unless you are an expert at modern books and how to order and stock a retail store, with games, cards, statues, and the like in the 21st century it's very difficult. My local guy just "sold out" to a gamer, no comics, but losts of game tables....he told me he took a job to make the bills of the comic store......Ask Moondog or Bedrock City ( Richard) what he thinks.....Ask a store owner or former owner for the real skinny.

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batman_fan   
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First let me wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

 

I like a one stop shop meaning I can get supplies (bags, boards, boxes, Mylar, dividers), comics especially older ones, and various misc stuff.

 

Well light, well organized are important

 

Consistent organization. Don't keep moving things

 

Friendly staff. Welcome to xxx. Anything I can help you find. I like a shop where I develop a relationship with the owner and staff

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aardvark88   
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Don't do it. Find a bankrupt or closed comic shop of which there are several. Buy all the inventory for peanuts, add :hi: your own collections and just sell on weekends at local cons or flea markets (lots of families walking around), and /or sell online rest of the week. Sorry to report that comic centric stores are becoming dinosaurs since the average price per floppy comic is $3 US after subscription discount, and awash in shiny Variants every single Wed. :wishluck:

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shadroch   
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Go for it, but I would stay away from New comics for awhile. Make your shop into a giant man cave with lots of unique items. You can get two or three huge old fashioned tv's for next to nothing and show off beat dads that you sell.

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SquareChaos   
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Disclaimer: I have never run a shop, but I've talked to lots of owners - hopefully you can get some actual professionals in here to advise as well.

 

 

I'm with everyone else I guess... I wouldn't do it.

 

If you absolutely must do it, then try to make sure it's in a college town, and preferably, near a few high & middle schools. As best I can tell, just from observation and talking to some owners... you need the MTG money to even have a shot at staying afloat.

 

Back issues... fewer and fewer people buy and collects runs these days. It's all about keys, keys from every era. But still, this is almost besides the point, as you'll live and die by your steady, monthly income and that means pull lists. If you can't get a good number of these, even with MTG, you're probably hosed.

 

If you do get that college town location, make sure you keep trades in stock, titles they'll recognize - I know several people that would answer "no" if you asked them if they read comics, but they regular buy TPBs.

 

Good luck!

 

 

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Bills Comics   
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I ran a shop long ago. It takes time to build a reputation and for people to know of you. Maybe with social media it would be easier today. You need to plan to lose money early while you build inventory and for people to know you are there .

Prepare to at best start breaking even by year 3 . Now you might do better , but prepare to be worse. If you arent prepared to lose money for quite awhile . I suggest you not going forward .

Now a days you need to not just sell comics and toys, but you need to sell the magic cards and do the whole gaming thing . Which means you need empty space for tournaments .

There is so much that goes into starting and running a shop . If i were you i would find a local shop and offer to work cheap and learn the ins and outs .

Like the people above I also suggest you forego this .

Buy inventory and set up at shows and see how much you like it . Learn to sell online . Learn to do that then see how much you want to invest in doing comics and related items 24/7 . Because a brick and mortar store is 24/7 . Even when you arent there it will/should be on your mind .

When a hobby become a business you might quickly lose your love for that hobby and want to run as far away as you can .

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Mercury Man   
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I would like to echo what other people have told you, I don't think $40K in the bank is enough. You will burn through that quicker than you realize. It will take you time to get established, get your clientele, figure out what sells, and what happens if an unbelievable collection or some serious Golden/Silver Age books walk through your door and you want the inventory?

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fmaz   
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I don't want to say "don't do it"... but I want to suggest you do a lot of additional preparation and research... which I assume will lead you to the conclusion that you shouldn't do it.

 

But if you're undaunted by the long odds, here's two things I'd strongly encourage:

 

 

1. It's great to come on here and ask people what they think, but I'd get out and hit as many LCS as you can find in a 100 mile radius (road trip if you want to go further) and talk to those folks. Ask them what they wish they knew when they started out? What they'd do if they were starting from scratch today? And .... would they? And then ask them for the suggestion for another LCS owner to speak with. You'll need a network of support if you do end up opening so build it before hand.

 

2. Speaking of building up a network beforehand... I'd start my business as an online venture first. Get a nice website, sell books online if you want. Give great customer service, Sell at local shows and promote your appearances there (maybe have discount coupons people can print from the site and bring)... do whatever you can to get your name out there. And obviously it would help if the "name" you're using is the name of your eventual store. That way, if/when you do open a physical location, you'll have built a reputation.

 

Edited by fmaz

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DeadOne   
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His last update, only 10 months after announcing that he was opening a store, really does speak volumes:

 

I'm tired.

I work everyday.

That's the update.

 

I wish you the best of luck, BigHulkFan.

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SquareChaos   
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I don't want to say "don't do it"... but I want to suggest you do a lot of additional preparation and research... which I assume will lead you to the conclusion that you shouldn't do it.

 

But if you're undaunted by the long odds, here's two things I'd strongly encourage:

 

 

1. It's great to come on here and ask people what they think, but I'd get out and hit as many LCS as you can find in a 100 mile radius (road trip if you want to go further) and talk to those folks. Ask them what they wish they knew when they started out? What they'd do if they were starting from scratch today? And .... would they? And then ask them for the suggestion for another LCS owner to speak with. You'll need a network of support if you do end up opening so build it before hand.

 

2. Speaking of building up a network beforehand... I'd start my business as an online venture first. Get a nice website, sell books online if you want. Give great customer service, Sell at local shows and promote your appearances there (maybe have discount coupons people can print from the site and bring)... do whatever you can to get your name out there. And obviously it would help if the "name" you're using is the name of your eventual store. That way, if/when you do open a physical location, you'll have built a reputation.

 

One of the guys that I know that started a pretty small, but successful shop, did the booth and con thing for literally *years* before going all in. He had a client list and pull list immediately on day one. It seemed to pay large dividends, but as in everything, YMMV.

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jhutton2   
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Before you do anything in terms of brick and mortar, hire a good accountant and get them to work some numbers with you so you know what you are really looking at, particularly cash flow as even knowledgeable folks get caught in the crunch in an unpleasant way because of inadequate planning.

 

Getting a solid online business established is one strategy to have in place that will help float the brick and mortar dream eventually if that is what you really want.

 

Warmest Regards,

 

Jason

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Genesis Comics   
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That was a good read...thank you for posting it...he never really gave much information about why it wasn't doing well...he seemed to pick up some great collections along the way though...place seemed nice but we never saw the "finished" product...would really like to have more information to see what bumps in the road he hit...maybe I'll send him a PM...

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SquareChaos   
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That was a good read...thank you for posting it...he never really gave much information about why it wasn't doing well...he seemed to pick up some great collections along the way though...place seemed nice but we never saw the "finished" product...would really like to have more information to see what bumps in the road he hit...maybe I'll send him a PM...

 

Had the same exact thoughts while reading through it all. Not a ton of information, but the overall tone didn't seem positive.

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Genesis Comics   
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First let me wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

 

I like a one stop shop meaning I can get supplies (bags, boards, boxes, Mylar, dividers), comics especially older ones, and various misc stuff.

 

Well light, well organized are important

 

Consistent organization. Don't keep moving things

 

Friendly staff. Welcome to xxx. Anything I can help you find. I like a shop where I develop a relationship with the owner and staff

 

Consistent organization...hadn't thought of that...makes sense...thanks!

I planned on stocking supplies as well (thumbs u

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Genesis Comics   
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I expected a lot of "don't do it's" so I'm not surprised by this...this is something I've been thinking of doing for the better part of 20 years...I didn't mention that I sell magic cards out of a showcase in a sports card store and do pretty well (singles and boxes)...the issue with the store is he's not with Wizards of the Coast so he doesn't do pre-releases AND he stocks all the new stuff...so I don't "get to sell it" until he doesn't want to anymore...there is a small group of kids that come in 4-10 on average that would be looking for a different local shop...

 

For the people that said "don't do it", I ask if you have tried this before (Opened a brick and mortar)? Or if you just think it won't work? Or if you've had a friend that tried and failed...respectfully asking, not challenging :foryou: ...really trying to understand why you (as in most of the group) feel strongly against it.

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gorgoguy   
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His last update, only 10 months after announcing that he was opening a store, really does speak volumes:

 

I'm tired.

I work everyday.

That's the update.

 

I wish you the best of luck, BigHulkFan.

 

I thought the same.

 

Good luck BigHulkFan!

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