Are you ready to build your successful FLGS?
Good, then you’re in the right place. Welcome to Manaverse Saga. My name is Thomas Traplin and I will be your guide on the journey to creating a successful and profitable LGS business selling Magic: the Gathering.
Why Magic? What about comics and board games? You know, the other aspects of a typical Friendly Local Game Store?
Magic: the Gathering is one of the best games in world. And besides that, there are only a handful of individual games that can single handedly support a successful business. The bottom line is this.
If you own a Friendly Local Game Store and don’t have MtG as part of your business model, you’re leaving money on the table.
Just so you know a bit about me… I’ve been involved in the Magic: the Gathering community for nearly 20 years. Almost as long as the game has existed. As a player, as a tournament organizer, as a game store owner, and as a writer. I’ve talked to some of the best entrepreneurs in the industry to find out how they built their businesses. I’ve also seen first hand what doesn’t work. In doing the research to build this site I’ve learned many things.
A big one is this.
The one thing nearly every major player in the FLGS industry has in common is Magic.
Another big one is game store entrepreneurs are generally a technophobic bunch. Perhaps it’s because we favor real world game play in our hobbies instead of the digital version but as a niche industry, we are behind the times.
It’s the internet age and if you want to succeed in business today you need to be online.
Website, social media, eCommerce. A Facebook page is no longer enough (I would say it was never actually enough). If you want to make it big in the games industry, you need to get into the game and get your business online.
If you want to build an FLGS that can sustain your lifestyle, build an avid community of passionate customers, and grow into a successful and profitable business, Magic: the Gathering is the most effective way to get there.
But, that’s enough about me for now. If you want to learn more about me, you can read my story here.
This is about you. This is about your FLGS.
Question: What’s the difference between a Black Lotus and a Grizzly Bears?
The answer is about $20 000.
The reason the most successful game stores make Magic: the Gathering part of their business is that there is serious money to be made selling the cards themselves. In order to understand the secondary market for Magic, you first need an understanding of how the game works. Check out this page to learn the basics of gameplay.
There are two approaches to how an FLGS can sell Magic. The half assed way, and the right way.
The half assed way:
Open up a shop, clear out some shelf space and get a selection of sealed Magic products from your distributor. Customers come in, buy some booster packs, and then they leave. No connection, no reason for your customers to stick around, no sense of community. Magic becomes just another item on the shelf next to the RPG’s and board games and you completely miss its potential to transform your business.
The whole assed way (the right way):
Open up a shop, clear out the same shelf space, but now set up the gaming tables and get your display counter ready. Magic tournaments are going to super charge the sales of your Magic inventory. Using the MtG triforce of sealed products, individual card sales, and consistent events your game store will properly harness the most profitable game in the industry.
I also call it “the right way” because it actually works. Magic can transform your game store and your life. Some will say that you won’t get rich owning a game store but many have created a successful and profitable business using the model above.
It IS possible. And it can be done with your game store business. It is all a matter of how you approach it.
The Manaverse Model
Magic is an engine. Once it is set up properly it will continually generate sales and create new customers for your business. When combined with great customer service and people passionate about games, you will have the makings of a successful FLGS.
This model is the result of trial and error, research, and 20 years of experience in a variety of positions within the Magic community. Learning how the best LGS’s operate and dissecting the strategies, tactics, and systems that work.
So, here’s the big picture…
This is a bird’s eye view of the whole thing in its full form. And I want you to see what we’re shooting for. After all, you can’t reach a destination if you don’t even know what it is.
The benefits of this model are:
- It will allow you to keep your margins high by focusing on the secondary market
- It allows you to build dependable, recurring income because we have a plan that keeps players involved
- It allows you to control both the supply, your Magic stock, and the demand, the tournaments you organize
- It makes growing your business into a simple matter of knowing your numbers and some basic math. Focus on a few key metrics and watch the Magic side of your business grow.
- It is a system of progressive growth which will allow your store to climb the WPN ladder rapidly.
A Few “Rules” Before We Begin…
Like any good journey to a destination, there must be boundaries. We’ll never get where we’re going if we don’t set a few expectations up front. So, let’s do that now…
- This isn’t a “get rich quick” kind of thing. Running a game store is not sure fire way to make a million dollars. The owner of the game store I spent most of my highschool years at once told me that “Running a card shop is a labour of love.” You have to love games and the people who play them. If you don’t you’re better off looking at another business opportunity or sticking to your day job. That being said, you can certainly create a comfortable lifestyle by building a successful game store.
- You need to really want to help people. While I am going to be talking about making money and building a business, you also must understand that money is a natural result of helping others and delivering real VALUE. I am not a believer in simply extracting cash in any way possible. I believe money is a fair exchange for giving immense value to your customers.
- You should be prepared to take responsibility. YOU are the only driver of your own success. And you make your own decisions. I can be your guide along the way, but some decisions have to be made by you. Many of the things we talk about may not work for your particular community. You will have to discover what will work best for your business and tailor to fit.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Traveling down any road requires that you keep your eyes straight ahead. Building a successful game store is a long process. Doing anything well requires the persistence and fortitude to keep working despite setbacks and failures and there will be plenty of both. Stick to the plan and stick to your guns.
How We’re Going To Do This…
The material that I am releasing to help you along this journey is divided up into 2 main areas:
1 – The Blog
The Manaverse Saga blog is a growing archive of strategy and discussion. I’ll be honest… my posts have gotten better over time. Most of my posts today are quite developed and over 2,000 words apiece. They normally get into the nitty gritty details of a specific tool or system. I don’t have a regular posting schedule, although it averages once
per week per month (hey, it’s a lot of work being a dad!) or so.
2 – The Podcast
The official podcast of Manaverse Saga is called The Manaverse Podcast.
Each episode is an interview with a successful game store entrepreneur. We discuss their motivation, their shop, and the things that made the business so effective. We go into detail about how they got started and how they built a great LGS.
I hope to be your guide through this journey. I’ve been a part of the Magic community for 20 years or so, and I believe that Magic is a great game to build a successful business around. While others may be talking about the latest decks or the latest tournament result, my goal is to earn your trust by keeping you on the right pathway, out of the weeds, and working based on real strategies that have been proven to work over and over again.
So… once again… welcome to Manaverse Saga.