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Formerly a PC-exclusive gamer, Kae was introduced to the tabletop world by gateway of the World of Warcraft TCG. Since then, her interests have broadened with her favorite games including Battlestar Galactica, Pathfinder, Lord of the Rings LCG, WarmaHordes, and more. Kae is willing to try just about any game and loves learning new strategy.

Why Supporting Your Local Game Stores Is Important

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Seeing a game store with an “out of business” sign is one of the saddest sights in the gaming world. The solution to this problem is so simple, but so many gamers do not see where the root of the problem is. With so many games available for purchase online, it isn’t too hard to see that online business has the potential to kill small businesses. While I cannot say that all game stores are capable of getting in every game that you may want, they should at least be given the chance.

Most game stores thrive on the business of those around them, but if everyone is exclusively getting their games online, then the store suffers. When you go to visit that store and find it out of business or struggling and you ask “why”, the answer is probably among online purchases that may have been a few bucks cheaper. Is that to say that one should never buy games from online sources? No. On occasion, I will get an Amazon gift card. I can’t use it at a local game store, so in that situation, its possible that I would order something offline. Personally, I usually only buy games or items that are more difficult for stores to get, but never something that I’ve already requested a store to order for me.

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Not only are local game stores important to keep the spirits of the gaming community thriving, but they provide important social aspects as well. I’ve met so many great people over the last couple of years through these stores that I would not have met otherwise. The same applies to being introduced to games that I may not have heard about. Local game stores provide a key meeting point for seasoned gamers as well as newbies to convene, share knowledge, and add to libraries by the in-person recommendations of the other shoppers!

The owners and employees of these stores have bills to pay, families to provide for, and a passion for gaming that they want to spread to the community. Supporting them also supports tabletop gaming as a whole, and I don’t think that anyone would want to see this wonderful hobby sink. So, if you frequently buy games online, consider giving your local game stores a chance at ordering in the games you need. They provide so much more than games, and only customers can keep them alive!

13 Comments on “Why Supporting Your Local Game Stores Is Important”

  1. Sean Ireland April 18, 2013 at 3:03 PM #

    Loyalty is a two way street. I’ve seen stores that send people online are the ones who don’t support the hobby and give customers no reason to support them.

    • Kae April 18, 2013 at 3:15 PM #

      I agree, and its unfortunate that some stores do that. The ones that do care about their customers are the ones worth supporting. I know what you mean, though. I’ve seen some shops make no effort to assist their customers, which is saddening.

  2. AdInfusion April 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM #

    local stores should work hard to provide value. give gamers a decent reason to come in and pay the extra 5 bucks

  3. Gabe April 20, 2013 at 8:50 PM #

    Local games stores are still corporate companies!!!

    • Seatbelt April 22, 2013 at 12:40 AM #

      No. They are by definition not corporate companies. The Game Preserve, Heroes Inc, Hall of Heroes and and The Common Room are all operator owned. I don’t know a single one that is a corporation or even a franchise.

  4. William Z. Cohen April 21, 2013 at 1:57 AM #

    Gaming stores will NEVER be able to compete against the monster that we know as the internet because I can list over 3 dozes sites (and I know there are more) where one can buy their gaming needs and desires for over 40% off and shipping is free over a certain amount. Gaming stores cannot compete and will never be able to compete against such adversaries.

    Customer loyalty is awesome but when the economy sours, the loyalty can only go so far. The prices of miniatures from certain companies are outrageous. The prices of board games in general from certain companies are outrageous. RPG supplements from certain companies are outrageous in prices. Then you have Kickstarter that also undermines gaming stores. You have some companies who sell product through subscription offering not only 20-30% discounts but also offer free PDF’s. Another source of people undercutting gaming stores are individuals who have stores in their homes or other area (they are not brick and mortar) and sell product with up to 40% discounts utilizing Craigslist and other forms of advertisement in the local area. This is just a few issues I have with the “war” against gaming stores in general.

    One has to be realistic. I support my gaming store not only by purchasing product there but by advertising it as much as possible. I also attend gaming conventions and support the store there by demo’ing games and other services so sales are high.

    • Seth Lustig November 22, 2015 at 6:26 PM #

      You’re right, of course. We will NEVER be able to compete.
      And yet, here we are competing for years and years.
      Guess we could accept reality and close. Or, we could pretend to continue to stay in business for another decade or so, paying our bills, writing paychecks, donating to charities, giving out dividends some years, and adding to the quality of life on Main Street, USA.

  5. Evan J. November 22, 2015 at 7:21 PM #

    Good FLGSs do provide value by offering things players can’t get on the net. Amazon doesn’t host Magic events or have open gaming where players can play with the items they bought. The internet doesn’t encourage community by supporting new players who want to learn how to play. Or show existing players new games they may not know or had a chance to play before. These are all services stores provide which players seldom if ever put any value, but show up to play weekly at store events like FNM. Take away those weekly events and players have no way of testing their decks/armies/fleets/etc at larger events. What happens then?

  6. Bryan Lemke November 22, 2015 at 11:54 PM #

    My problem with every game store I’ve been in is this: If you don’t play Magic and/or Warhammer, you are a second-class citizen to them. If you only play board games, they send you to the shelf of board games with faded boxes and leave you to figure things out on your own. There was a store I visited years ago that was different and would treat you as important as the Magic players, but he sold the shop and the new owner decided Magic was #1, Warhammer was #2, and everybody who didn’t love them wasn’t worth anything more than a greeting and a snubbing when they entered the door. I’m not going to pay almost twice the price to be treated like dirt. So…I’ll support BGG and Amazon until game stores recognize that not all customers like Magic and Warhammer…

  7. The Big Mek (@TheBigMek) November 23, 2015 at 7:21 AM #

    Compete on pricing? No way. But there’s more than one way to compete. Game stores that foster true organic growth do it by being the foundation for their local community. When a game store is truly on its “game”, nobody has to whine about supporting the local business, because it is already happening. We are all busy creatures of habit. Stores that are convenient to get to, pleasant to be in, and almost always have IN STOCK what it is I need are always going to get my hobby budget. It’s a no brainer. Build the community, carry the product, don’t be a dick. Success!

  8. Matt November 23, 2015 at 11:46 AM #

    So as I can’t afford retail price for gaming products and it is morally wrong to buy online, I guess I should no longer consider gaming as a hobby. Reality sucks.

  9. Marc S November 23, 2015 at 2:07 PM #

    A $5 difference is one thing, but in most cases it’s $15 or more. I desperately want to support my local game stores, but I also like buying as many games as possible.

  10. dragonlancelegacy November 24, 2015 at 12:55 PM #

    I buy almost everything from my FLGS. I did buy my 5e stuff from Amazon (at least the core) because I only paid around $100 for it (considering that before taxes it would have been 150$). Every time I go to my FLGS I try to pick something up, no matter how small. This article is important, mostly because it is true. There is never a reason for you to ignore your FLGS for purchases and then use them for other things (i.e., playing at the store, participating in tournaments, ect).

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