At the end of last year people came out to help AQ with my GoFundMe campaign, which was honestly the nicest thing I've ever had a group of people do for me. I was a day away from suicide when I made that GoFundMe page and instead I went ahead with the campaign and people came forward giving me hope and a better perspective. I didn't expect support, but it came, so I went out of my way to find investors, buyers, or anyone who could get the store to progress forward. Unfortunately after many offers, people backing out, and lackluster investor opportunities I ultimately saw that I was on my own here trying to make it work.
There are too many back bills to be paid and since I haven't paid myself since May of 2015, I feel it is ultimately the right decision to walk away and let someone else try instead. Stores come and go so quickly in Colorado, but hopefully someone out there can make it work where I have failed. My first partner backed out in under 9 months, my second spent about the same doing his best to help, so I'm glad I have decided to try anyway for 30+ months to do what most people would not. I've given my life to this store and met some great people over the years, but what was once a dream must ultimately be put to bed. I feel like it wasn't really my dream anyway, but I'm glad I got to meet as many great gamers as I did.
Advice to OthersIf you've ever looked at starting your own business or wanted to get into game-stores, I feel like I should let you know: What did I do wrong?
If you have a great idea like a game-store bar: Do it. Don't start halfway, waste your initial capital on stock and expect it to work. You have to stock whatever your community wants, so you won't know what they want until at least 6 months of being open in the first place. So start with a secondary revenue stream. Like a bar, cafe, etc.
If you expect to have an online presence with Magic cards: List early, list often. Keep your prices competitive and sell and buy as many cards as you can. It will keep the lights on in between releases of other major products.
If you can get NET terms with a distributor: Do it early. This ruined many sales and preorders the first couple of months having to have money up front. In retrospect though, once you get used to paying bills 30 days out, don't overextend. Start shoring up your bills earlier and earlier so that you don't have to rely on everything you order selling in under 30 days.
Don't waste your time with RPGs if you want to stay in business. Books will sell, drinks might sell, but ultimately the space required and the people that choose to play at a game store don't make a store survive.
Run tournaments for Magic, miniatures, even board games and promos and prize support will always make a night worth your time compared to half the room laughing and rolling dice without a fee. Same with Board Games. Sell them: Don't provide nights to play them. There is nothing more maddening than to hear every week about where the board game group got their great deal online or at Barnes and Noble. Results my vary, but investing in sellable space is always better than playable space.
Thanks so much to people like Jon Conley for keeping my X-Wing and Imperial Assault tournaments running smoothly and the community laughing. Chris swung over from DMG to bring a community into a fun environment to AQ and I can't thank him enough for making X-Wing a super fun game to play at the store.
Thanks to Nate Burg for making Infinity a hit both at my store and others with guys like Shane, Devin and Dexter. If you guys hadn't stepped up and made me support a great game like Infinity I'd have died off much sooner. Hopefully I'll join you at a bar tourney sometime soon.
A crisp high five goes out to the Arvada High School crowd for choosing AQ for a more friendly community that appreciated all their Magic needs and decks. I wish I could've given you folks more to make your Magic experiences even better. Same with the entire Magic crowd really; we had some good EDH nights and some amazing Prereleases.
And to everyone who went out of their way to support AQ at Prereleases, or who preordered product they could've got online, or who decided to keep coming back and shoot the shit with me to keep me sane on slow days: I can't thank you enough. Helping families find board games to play, getting in those weird orders whenever I could to be reliable, or just plain having the right thing in at the right time has been a great experience for me to have every day I was open. Those of you who constantly bought from Adventurer's Quarter, you know who you are, and just know because of you I lasted as long as I did.
Where do I go now?
If you play Magic: Go to Advantage Games up North or Black Gold down South. If you're in the middle: Try Atomic Games West.
If you're playing Infinity, you know where to go: Funtastic Games is the next best thing in the area and I wish them the best of luck as a new business since they're super excited about miniature gaming.
If you're playing anything else, try Funtastic or go to Black and Read like the rest of the Denver area. They've always had 5x the amount of product I could ever hope to have, but without any of the playspace. And surprisingly they have sent a great deal of customers to my store over the years.
So long, and thanks for all the dice.