The NWX gaming lounge profiled in the Bulletin today is actually the 3rd gaming lounge in Bend. Along with Cat6 there is a new lounge in the east of Bend called Dark Horse Games.
I have no idea how viable one of these places are, much less three.
About mid-summer, we got a visit from a couple of bookstore owners from back east, who were taking a booktour of the west. They were blogging it on their website, cathysbooks.com, The Book Traveler.
So I read all their entries as they wandered the west, until they got to Portland and Powell's books. Next up.....Bend! Since they took a picture of my store (we're not sure if they got to Linda's store, or not...) I kept checking....and checking....and checking.
Been a month and a half, now, since their last entry. Since they were running more than a month behind already, it's now been about 3 months since they visited.
As Linda said, "They got eaten by bears."
Also got a visit from a guy who does lots of sportscards over in the valley. He's like the antithesis of my store, opening case after case of cards chasing the autograph and memorabilia cards. He obviously has a lot of fun doing it.*
He said he could afford it -- it's what he does. He was thinking about opening a store, and I advised him to think about it long and hard.
His site is fascinating in how many good cards he seems to get. He just does it in massive volume -- searching for the cheapest prices he can get on the web, and then opening entire cases. Amazing.
He also took a picture of me, and I kept checking his site to see if he mentions me. Even though we have different approaches, we did seem to agree on an awful lot of what's going on.
Anyway, last week I decided that maybe I could venture back into singles. Buy some cheaper boxes, or open some overstock, and see what happens.
It didn't turn out well. I opened one box of baseball, one box of basketball, and one box of football. By adding up the 'special' cards and the superstars, neither the baseball or the football really paid for themselves. The basketball box did, technically, if I actually had activity.
So -- the way I see it: I need two things to make this work.
1.) An active singles customer base.
2.) Brands that produce enough salable cards.
It's a bit of a Catch-22. I won't get the singles customer base without lots of singles, and I can't afford lots of singles without a customer base.
It would've been easier, though, if the boxes had actually produced something.
I suspect that it only works when you do plenty of volume, cases rather than boxes, but then the whole thing ramps up another level and so on. Either I would need to go online or have a much bigger customer base to draw on. (Either a larger town or a larger percentage of available customers....)
Like I said, it's a Catch-22.
A 100k square feet of retail on the corner of Columbia and Simpson?
I'm trying to imagine what Bend would be going through if all the retail that had been planned was actually built. The Mercato? Holy crap.
Sometimes a economic 'correction' really is a correction.
I want you all to notice I actually linked my references this time. Liz is paying off...
7 hours ago