Retail game stores haven't had an easy time of it with the introduction of internet shopping and the standard 30% discounts avaliable there. They just can't complete with those sort of prices as well as pay their overhead. Some stories, those that haven't ended up closing down, have shifted to running more events like CCG tourneys and whatnot in order to make ends meet. They can charge for the tourneys and people are more likely to splurge on product which has a better profit margin. Boardgame King has taken that sort of idea and shifted it even further. The entire place is not so much a store as an open gaming location with a store tacked on. They supply the location as well as piles of board games and you pay a daily, monthly, or yearly fee for the privlege of playing there.
All of us (Bernie, Karen, Matt, Joyce, Bill S, Vaughn, Lori, and I) met up at the Panera and carpooled up to the store. We stood around gossiping and otherwise talking smack about various people from the Meetup until everyone arrived. You know, pretty par for the course really. It was a rough start as people battled their GPS's to figure out how to get there and the fact that Lori insisted on driving at what seemed like 20 mph on the turnpike. We ended up staying around 4-5 hours and tried a variety of games. Lori had been planning to pay our way in, but we got comped. All in all, it's not a bad idea for a buisness, but the only problem is that you really need a critical mass of people in there at all times. People aren't going to be willing to pay money to sit in an empty store by themselves. Unless there are 6-8 people around at all times playing games, it might be hard to convince others to purchase memberships. It's also sorta funny that such a store would open up in an area practically crawling with game groups and local gaming conventions. I guess it's still good for the locals or those won't don't have a car or perfer not to travel about. In the end, I didn't actually try any games I liked and a couple of people picked up what I chalked up as pity purchases.
Most of us went out to dinner at Bennigans upon getting back and the other Bill M as well as Lori's husband joined us. I ended up leaving my cell phone in Matt and Joyce's car, so I won't be making any voice posts until I get it back next weekend. I had no real problems on the trip and was able to keep things under control with the judicious popping of pills.