Discussion How Often Do You Support Your Local Game / Hobby Store?

Discussion in 'Pokémon Trading Card Game' started by Card Slinger J, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. Card Slinger J #BringBackNationalDex
    Card Slinger J

    Member

    I don't think this question gets raised enough though I am a bit curious. Before the COVID-19 Pandemic I've always tried to support my Local Game / Hobby Stores once every weekend. I have been buying more on TCGPlayer than I have on eBay since the proceeds go directly toward Local Game / Hobby Stores. I refuse to shop on Amazon unless it's an emergency situation. With a lot of these stores opening back up again I started noticing small Organized Play events being brought back though I'm not sure what it will look like given current social distancing guidelines. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, it's probably going to look a whole lot different.

    If anyone experienced any differences to what their locals does now compared to what they did before the pandemic feel free to let me know. Has there been a recent uptick of players being required to wear masks and gloves? How are these businesses doing financially? Are they doing enough to get more customers into their store? How is the local community? Do you buy or sell Pokémon TCG singles at your locals? As for myself there are people within my local community who refuse to get a part-time job to financially support their Local Game / Hobby Store because of scheduling issues with having to work during the weekends which is when they want to play.

    So they tend to rely on other people that do have a part-time job with weekends off to help pay for their cards, decks, and sleeves though it depends on how much disposable income is being made to help compensate for it. The people who do have part-time jobs would still need to support themselves aside from other people in their playgroup (two would be the max IMO). E-commerce has made it a whole lot easier which is why I'm a bit surprised that the Comic Book Shop that doubles as an Game / Hobby Store in my area hasn't expanded past their eBay Store.

    Thoughts?
     
    Dravinator likes this.


  2. Dravinator Poké Fanatic
    Dravinator

    Member

    Being as young as I am, I often found myself at my local game store multiple times per week before the current pandemic. Business used to be slow but steady, and I would always buy something , even just a little something, from them every week to support them. (mostly packs, they don't sell Pokemon singles, another local store sells them)

    Now, during this pandemic, their business is definitely not kicking as well as it was before. We had about 10 people a day/night playing MTG or Pokemon, whether it be trading or playing. Those events are currently cancelled and will most likely be cancelled for a while, and there are only allowed a certain amount of people allowed in the store at once (I am pretty sure it's 3 customers allowed, but it barely reaches that anymore). Business is not booming. I can't support them nearly as much, and as such they are not getting the support they need.

    I am not sure that this is the issue for everyone, as for every city there may be a different situation, but the truth is that local game stores are not getting the support they need. Things aren't looking great for them, but I am sure when this is all over everything will be back to normal. I for one have been dying to play a few games with my pals.

    I would say your views are quite similar to many others, and that you have taken some of the words right out of our mouths. I'm glad you raised this topic, as I think we all need to realize the impact this has had on our local game stores.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
  3. Card Slinger J #BringBackNationalDex
    Card Slinger J

    Member

    Sadly I think we're all severely underestimating the possibility of another future pandemic similar to what we've already experienced with COVID-19. Even with a vaccine or proven treatment methods, social distancing protocols will still linger long after. Even with COVID-19 under control, how can any small business owner expect to rebuild within the same industry that can be wiped out overnight by a Government Shutdown? Years after this has all passed we will have ANOTHER public health crisis similar to what we've already experienced with COVID-19 and we'll be shutting down all over again because this is apparently the new normal in our society. If a small business owner has the strength to rebuild, they'll be rebuilding into a pandemic proof business model that is completely void of ALL public interaction. We are literally heading full speed into a digital space against our will.

    Tournaments small and large will be forced to be held digitally where no social distancing and geographic restrictions exist. If COVID-19 hadn't occurred there's a good chance that Pokémon TCG in it's Paper form could've kept going on a large scale for awhile longer. With COVID-19 there's no traction for something like Worlds at least not for many years to come. If Pokémon Company International plans on keeping Pokémon TCG going in the meantime then they HAVE to push digital events and sadly that's the only thing they can really offer at this time even though they continue to print new Paper products for the game. There's more support for offline Pokémon TCG than there is for PTCGO so how do you continue to cater to the offline demographic If the cards don't sell with nobody having a Local Game Store (LGS) to go back to just to even play with the paper products?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
    Dravinator likes this.
  4. FourteenAlmonds NTernetttt ERXploerer
    FourteenAlmonds

    Member

    Even since before the pandemic, my LGS has been looking to sell up shop. Fortunately they've been looking for a buyer who will be able to keep the existing community together, but it is looking somewhat grim. While business is certainly not booming, product releases and preorders seem to still be bringing in enough numbers to keep the store afloat. They've been getting products a bit later than usual (since postage is delayed for pretty much everything) but most of the regulars have been waiting it out rather than going to some of the larger chain stores which get them in on time.
     
  5. Card Slinger J #BringBackNationalDex
    Card Slinger J

    Member

    Does your LGS have an online presence via e-commerce like an eBay store or being partnered up with TCGPlayer by any chance cause that could be a major factor as to why the business isn't running as smoothly. Of course there's other factors pertaining to an LGSs success such as geography, marketing / advertising campaigns, as well as streaming services via Twitch with community of course being the most important aspect. One big problem I've recently been noticing due to the pandemic is that a lot of LGSs have stopped publicly accepting buylist orders for selling card singles out of fear that the cards may contain traces of the virus which means that they're stuck having to sell sealed product that they can't even sell because it's either too expensive, you can get it for much cheaper online, or it doesn't have anything worth of value to the consumer. Manufacturers like Pokémon Company International, Wizards of the Coast, and Konami really can't afford to be hit or miss with their products in a business that runs on very thin profit margins. That's why they rely more on big box retailers like Walmart and Target where the margins are a lot higher and safer.

    I've rarely come across people who were willing to sell their Pokémon TCG collections to their Local Game Store (LGS) for them to try to flip the cards to help support their business when the game mostly thrives on set rotations as opposed to Magic: the Gathering where there's still a market for non-rotating formats like EDH / Commander and Modern to help LGSs stay afloat. It seems to me that these LGSs don't want to run the risk of having to carry so much inventory of card singles for various Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games because they're afraid they aren't going to sell in the long-term or be forced to liquidate what they have by putting it up for an online auction by getting less than what they paid for. That's why I mostly see card singles for Magic: the Gathering being sold more than for it's competitors like Pokémon TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh! especially when it's too dependent on that LGSs demographic of players for each game. The more you know your demographic of customers the better idea you have of what sells at your LGS.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  6. FourteenAlmonds NTernetttt ERXploerer
    FourteenAlmonds

    Member

    There is no Twitch channel or anything like that. It has a decent Facebook presence, though, and that’s probably a good thing.

    They make most of their revenue from MTG singles, and since non-sealed product isn’t really selling recently I believe they’re just trying to wait the pandemic out. They’ve only been open for about three hours a week, which has been tough on them, but I think they’ll be able to pull through.
     
  7. Card Slinger J #BringBackNationalDex
    Card Slinger J

    Member

    Well keep in the mind the most important thing to remember is that while a Local Game Store (LGS) might not always be able to sell you cards, they will always sell you an experience you'll never find from big box retailers like Walmart and Target and that's community. That's why In-Store Play is so important for this Trading Card Game / Collectible Card Game business model to thrive especially when it comes to Organized Play.
     
    FourteenAlmonds and Dravinator like this.
  8. SableyeGuy Aspiring Trainer
    SableyeGuy

    Member

    I have been supporting them. I have been buying stuff from them online instead of buying them from big stores like walmart or target or whatever. I play in their online tournaments. They have a discord server and frequent twitch streams and make sure to be active in those. Hopefully phase 4 happens soon and they will reopen. Still, **** you @Card Slinger J .
     
  9. Card Slinger J #BringBackNationalDex
    Card Slinger J

    Member

    I don't know what I said to piss you off when I was just wondering how often players continued to support their Local Game Stores (LGSs) so they actually have a physical place to play instead of being forced to play online. Everyone has their own preference of how they want to play their favorite Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games whether If it's Paper or Digital. If someone wants to enjoy Paper they shouldn't have to go out and buy a $400 webcam to live stream their games with other people online when they should still be able to hang out with their friends at their Local Game Store (LGS) to play their favorite Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games there with them as long as they're congregating with small groups of people instead of mass gatherings like in movie theaters and sports stadiums where it's much easier to spread the virus. With small gatherings at LGSs it's much harder for the virus to spread.

    Now I understand that's difficult to do nowadays with social distancing as COVID-19 continues to run rampant while at the same time there's people out there such as myself who have a normalcy bias who refuse to accept this new reality we've been thrust onto (oh but Card Slinger J you're going to get people killed with this mindset...not really If you take the necessary steps to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19). So unless If I'm mistaken, what you're trying to tell me is that there's no point in supporting Local Game Stores (LGSs) anymore due to how toxic communities can be which is a fair argument however not every LGS is like that. If you want to solely play your favorite Trading Card Games / Collectible Card Games online via Twitch with a webcam then that's your prerogative. Just remember what you're missing out on by playing Digital over Paper when you don't get to have the kind of face-to-face public social interactions with other players at the game table.

    Just out of curiosity does your Local Game Store (LGS) actually get paid for these online tournaments or are they free cause I feel like it'd be a major cop out If they didn't. My biggest concern is that Local Game Stores (LGSs) might try to take advantage of this situation by running demonetized online events to further push themselves more into a digital space instead of charging for paid entry fees in the happenstance that they're able to fully open back up again or at least minimize player attendance to a level that makes it more difficult to spread the virus. As crazy as it sounds why would Local Game Stores (LGSs) want to bankrupt themselves on purpose unless their local community is toxic and are seeking retirement which is obviously the end goal for ANY LGS owner, though of course trouble with keeping up with their finances may be a deciding factor in this as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2020
    Dravinator likes this.

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