Summer is an interesting season for Magic. Interesting can sometimes be read as pretty bad.
Historically summer means warm weather and fewer players coming into your store to play Magic. School is out and many of the customers that fill your gaming tables each night are on vacation, or spending that time with friends and family. The release schedule didn’t do much to help the situation either.
Wizard’s has seemed to realize it this year with their decision to release Magic: Origins instead of Magic 2016. Core sets were boring.
Don’t get me wrong, the last few core sets were designed extremely well and were a lot of fun to play with. They just weren’t exciting. No Magic player would be pumped to open another Nightmare or Mahomoti Djinn.
These two factors come together to make the summer months some of the worst in a game stores calendar. So what can you do to turn this summer around and make it one of your best seasons?
The abstract answer is:
There are two ways to approach this. The first strategy focuses on filling those gaming tables during the quiet afternoon periods.
During the early months of the summer, begin promoting your store as a day camp. Offer your store as an option for parents to drop their kids off in a safe environment where the kids will learn skills like problem solving, lateral thinking, and cooperation playing Magic and other games.
An example of this is Dragon’s Lair in Austin, TX. The Dragon’s Lair offers multiple one week camps over the course of the summer, each camp runs from noon to 5pm and focuses on a specific game or genre. During the course of their Magic: the Gathering camp, the children learn how to play Magic and receive cards as part of the package.
The campers get cards of their own to build decks with while also being introduced to the tournament scene. As you can see on the Dragon’s Lair Summer Camp page, this is a popular option for kids and parents alike. As of the middle of May, three out of the five camps they are offering this summer are already sold out.
Besides being a great way to generate extra revenue, the day camp is also a way to create new players for your store. By teaching the younger kids how to play, you are introducing them to a hobby they may continue playing for the next ten years. As long as they play Magic they will think of your store as the place to go for their hobby needs.
So what’s the second way?
Go to where the kids are
Instead of creating a day camp in your store, you can design an after school program and start getting the kids involved well before summer hits. You can also set up programs that can be run over the course of the summer vacation.
Talk to the elementary and high schools in your local area and see if they would be interested in a Magic program or club.
It should be an easy sell. The positive aspects of Magic are obvious to anyone who is involved in the community. Magic teaches strategic thinking, literacy, and creativity. It promotes friendship, teamwork, and sportsmanship. It’s not hard to see how combat math can improve a child’s number skills.
By going direct to the school, you get the advantage of making it easier to get paid. In exchange for some product and your services, you charge the school a flat rate and the school decides how much they want to charge the parents of the students. It’s a simple way to earn your LGS a little extra income during one of the slowest seasons of the year and build up your community at the same time.
How are you going to use this summer to build your Magic community?