Time flies, it's as simple as that. It seems like it was just yesterday that I penned my name on the lease for our shop's current home. However, the reality is that almost seven years have elapsed since that day, and that agreement is now set to expire this summer.
Which brings the inevitable question to mind: what's next?
For the past couple of years I've been pondering that question with our Wizards on almost daily basis. Now, I am happy to announce that a decision was made and that new binding agreements are in place as of last month.
Rather than just blurting it out, I decided that it would be fun to play a little game and let you wear my wizarding hat for a bit. Listed below are the top options we considered over the past 24 months. This is your chance to play 'game store owner' and make the decision that is best for your best for your business and your team: which one would you choose and why?
Stay put and renew the lease on the same space: seems like the safest bet. Overhead would not change, we can probably get away without increasing our team size and surprises would be cut down to a minimum. Our customers know where to find us and the location has good traffic, excellent visibility from two major streets, decent parking, ample food choices within walking distance and is easily accessible from most areas of the valley. Trouble is, we're busting at the seams here. Our events calendar is packed and we often have to pass on hosting events due to space limitations. 3,000 sq. feet seemed sufficient seven years ago, but we are now at a point where bringing in new lines or increasing the current depth of stock would force us to cut down on our organized play space. Additionally, our inbound shipments have reached levels that overwhelm our receiving room on a daily basis, forcing us to spill over into the sales floor/organized play areas and presenting our patrons with an unsightly mess.
Stay put and expand: the good news is that our current landlord is vacating the space behind us and would love to see us take it over. We would be able to knock down our back wall and stretch out into and area that would nearly double our current size and bring our store to a total footprint of almost 6,000 sq. feet. While much better than our current situation, the space is not without its issues, as it would require some walling in of roll-up bay doors, major plumbing work in order to relocate our restrooms and force us in a narrow, long rectangle that would move our gaming area towards the back of the store. On the plus side, two remaining roll-up doors would remain in place towards the back of the building, providing great access for inbound and outbound shipments and defining a dedicated room that should (in theory) be large enough to handle most of our receiving needs without a problem. Rent would go up by almost 70%, utilities are likely to climb significantly and we would most likely have to increase payroll to support additional Wizards, Apprentices and Goblins. There is a possibility that, in the future, our current landlord may also decide to vacate the space above the rear of the building, giving us access to an additional 3,000 sq. feet of organized play space: nothing is set in stone on this final point and, quite possibly, the second floor may never become available
Stay put and open a second store: we hear it a lot from our customers: "I love you guys and your store, but you are soooo faaar away from where I live". Expanding into a separate location would allow us to bring our services closer to more of our fans and would expand our geographical reach, but it would also significantly raise both our payroll and leasing expenses, while adding the logistical problems of operating multiple locations.
Uproot and relocate: we've looked around and we've found several prime locations in the valley have reasonable rents, meet the majority of our requirements, are significantly larger, are located in good neighborhoods, feature ample parking and, again, offer a variety of food choices within walking distance. Moving would allows us to really bring to light visions that were only a dream until now, but is not without its perils. No matter how well advertised, a move seems to always leave a few customers behind wondering what happened. Increases in square footage will, of course, result in many of the same problems as above: increased rent, staffing requirements and so on.
So, which one would you choose? If you pick the same choice we did, we'll enter you in a raffle to win your share of up to $250 in Dragon's Dough cards. Give us a reason why you decided on your course of action and we'll enter you in a second raffle of up an additional $250 in Dragon's Dough, even if your decision isn't the same as ours. Enter your submission below: we can't wait to see what you would do with your own store!
Submissions for this raffle ended on 2/27/2016 - Winners will be announced shortly.
Thank you for your participation.