Is it really two years since I opened? Time flies when you’re shuffling cards and buying Sin Prodders in foil. It does indeed. I had a great time doing what I do here and working for what I believe is my dream, to be an entrepreneur, self-employed and independent. The first two things are accurate. The third one…isn’t so much. So after two wonderful years I will have to take into account what the future will actually look like for myself and for my business.
I don’t really know where to begin though. There are some things that make my job one of the best jobs that I ever had and probably that I ever will. There are advantages that I have that some people only dream of. The 9-5, 8 hour work days bolted into the weekly schedule don’t apply to me. I can kick back and chill a few days if I want to, locking the door to the shop and posting a message on the window and on the website. Easy life from the perspective of waking up at sometime before noon and getting to work at 1 pm. (+/- 5 minutes). It feels great to be able to choose which days I want to take for myself and which I want to work harder. I don’t have a specific time when I “have to go” on holiday. I can just choose when and that’s that. There’s no boss to tell me when I have to come back to work either. Pure bliss from this side.
Or am I? For every day that my shop is closed I don’t make money. I don’t earn a single cent. My online shop isn’t working, not even remotely close to working. I am actually spending more money on the website than I am making off of it 😀 If I choose to let someone work for me a few days, I don’t feel like I am on vacation. I feel the need to know what is happening at my store, but that’s just my own obsession though 😛 The person working for me won’t do it for free either, which means having to caught up some dough. It should be fine, IF I would be making enough profit.
Speaking of profit…
I make as much as I work for. Depending on my way of “networking” (I really hate this word and everything that is attached to it) I can grow my customer base. I am a gamer, inherently introverted as all true gamers are, and the socializing part with new people isn’t the best for me. I tend to be a blockhead and just stay quiet. For people who know me from the store that might seem completely out of the ordinary. I talk a lot in my natural habitat. I am a vocal person and I fully stand by my opinions, however terrible they may be. But I am in fact introverted when it comes to playing outside of my sandbox. I think everyone is to some degree. This lack of Captain America confidence isn’t great for my business, but it doesn’t hinder it either. At least not as much as I like to believe. But enough about me, let’s talk about you! Yes: you! This all has something to do with you, the local community of gamers from and around Ingolstadt.
*Oh no, he’s talking about the community again..groan…rolls eyes, scrolls over*
Do it. Scroll over. That’s the way I feel right now after two years of opening the Arena in Ingolstadt. People scroll over me and my store. The lack of interest in what my shop provides the Ingolstadt gaming community has finally gotten to me. Am I waving the white flag giving up? You could interpret it like that, but that would be jumping to conclusions or scrolling over this specific patch of digital letters. I will be surgically blatant here: dude, you wanna have a store and a great place to play? Support the store by participating in the events, buying products from the said store and, most importantly, GIVE FEEDBACK to your local store. If I would have been a total trash of a person I would have never improved the Arena so much as I have improved it up to now. All of the profit that I have made up to now I have thrown it back into the store:
- gamer clothes that rival fancy firms (the material of the clothes is actually on par and perhaps even better than known clothing firms, but I must be making this up, right?)
- Funko POP! Figurines as one of the most beloved gifts to celebrate someone’s hobby or interest in something that they like and are passionate about
- a ton of boardgames, roleplaying games, card games, playmats, sleeves, etc. Name it. I will get it for you if I can and you want it and if it’s in the gaming area.
- Playstation 4 in the store for people to enjoy while taking a break from playing other games.
- Huge TV for the said Playstation 4 and also works great for streaming big tournaments such as League of Legends World championship and not only
- new, sturdy chairs and tables
Is this enough? Nope. At least not for me as a shop owner. I would love to take my store to the next level: include beer and wine for a pleasant evening of playing a few games together with friends. Some tea and coffee for the morning people and for families when they come together so that everyone can have something to enjoy. Some warm food like Pizza slices to keep the hunger down during long gaming sessions. What a pretty sight, right? Right? Go on then. Scroll down a little.
I want to do this. I want to create that. I already made plans for it. But suddenly life shot an arrow to my knee and I couldn’t plan anymore. I woke up to not being able to afford rent for my personal living space, not making more than 1000€ for myself per month, not having the dream life of “I go to work whenever I want to”, not being able to pay the debt that I still have for opening my store. Look here person who is reading this: I am NOT looking for pity. I am just stating the facts. I am not Timberlaking with crying a river or some melodramatic nonsense. Just putting my thoughts and real facts on digital paper. There is something about this that I want to add here though. It is also a fact that I am responsible for not putting more money into my pocket and choosing to re-invest in my store. I could have grabbed more money. I could still do that. Aaaaand…I probably won’t do that. For the ones that remember the previous game stores in Ingolstadt…do you remember how it was like when the owner didn’t invest into making the store better? Do you remember that? Is my store on a different level? If the answer is yes, then you also understand why I re-invested so much and tried to make this a beautiful experience, not only a crude, raw, retail store that wants your money and doesn’t care about the community or its needs. I believe that I am quite the opposite.
So tell me what you want, what you really really want 😀 (did you just sing that in a Spice Girls voice? 😀 ). Because I will listen and I will make changes accordingly. Right now I feel like I am in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t even there. Help me to help you to help the future community to help each other.
Where is this all heading? Why am I writing this and why now?
I want to continue working in my shop and doing the things I love. I enjoy being in this atmosphere. As I said before, I am a gamer and I won’t stop being a gamer. Impossible. It’s a lifestyle, not just a hobby for me. The evenings when I play that turn into nights that I play, the just one MtG match for Standard that turns into a few hours of playing the same match up to understand it, dissect it again and rebuild from scratch over and over until the tiny voice in my gamer head says: you got it, you got this down, now go find someone else to crush with your obnoxious self-built deck. *sInProDD3r4liFe 😀 * But regardless of what I want, the truth of the matter lies with YOU! (are you done scrolling over by now?) There is a relationship we have going on here. It’s been a while now, 2 years already. I feel like we should either take it to the next level and get serious or drop the whole thing and we each go our separate ways.
Let’s be adults about this and choose wisely here.
My renting contract for this location will come to an end on the 31st of August 2017. I need to know if my shop is wanted here before May 2017. Getting another place in Ingolstadt isn’t easy, nor is it cheap either. I realize that there is no more brand loyalty anymore. People go where it’s cheaper or better, or where there’s some sort of cute bling-bling going on. There is no more stability for a shop like mine. But I still need to know if a shop like mine can get through this and go the distance. I need to know this because I have to make up my mind about this from a financial side as well. The internet has taken over most of my sales and the tiny dot that I represent in the online world is more insignificant than the tiny dot that I represent in the entire universe. At least that’s how it feels to me when I think about it. What the internet hasn’t taken away from physical stores though are events! I can organize a million and one of these. But where dem peoplez @? Nobody shows up to premium events like MtG Game Day or Grand Prix trials. I was nice with the Game Day and Trials…it’s difficult as hell to get 6 people, correction, 5 people because I would almost always be the 6th, for a booster draft. It is mind-boggling that a city with over 130,000 inhabitants can’t get 6 people together for a weekly tournament. On the flip-side though there’s the weekly Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament that bring together around 15 people who play on a regular basis. I don’t really get how that is possible, but somehow they show up. For the FNM though…* cra cra *
But anyhow people of Ingolstadt. It’s been a great two years. I have no regrets about this. Maybe not making things even better than they are. Because in hindsight I could have done a much better job, but this is how one gets more experience. I will leave you with a positive note though about some other projects that I have started working on.
Fire Djinns is a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team that I want to start sponsoring. At first I can only sponsor them with giving them my store on weekends to practice in a LAN environment. There will be a tournament called Synergy LAN (click here for link) that is in Großmehring. They will have my logo on their Tshirts and of course I want to be there to support them even though I will probably just sit around and look confused at everything since I don’t play CS:GO anymore. I do get the basic concept of it though: kill the enemy team or plant the bomb as the terrorists and win. It will be fun anyway. If you have nothing to do on the day of the tournament, join me there 🙂
Another project that I am working on will have a more visible effect on the Arena Games page on Facebook. I have started working with Pascal Maurer Illustration who will provide a weekly comic about my store and my life here in the store, with different happenings and situations that either occur constantly or very rarely.
The comic will mainly be posted on the Arena Games Instagram page but also shared on the Facebook Page and Twitter Page, so be sure to check it out every Monday for another comic. It would be great if you could also share the comic if you liked it to spread the word about both Arena Games and Pascal Maurer Illustration. I know that first comic seems a bit dark and gloomy, but it kind of is the reason why Mondays are now closed for the Arena. It was too much for me to deal with after a year of working 6 days per week. Exhaustion was getting the better of me and I had to do something about it 🙂 So I did. Nothing bad happened. I am still here and I would really like to continue being here, doing this and much, much more. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future brings.
Oh yeah. I will definitely frame the main picture of the article in the store. I won’t lie here man… I had a tear in my eye when I looked at it and realized that I did that, that I brought people together to share their hobby and have fun. It is a great feeling to see so many people having fun and seeing so much fair play and all that. Really man…This last Prerelease was so incredibly awesome. The one things that makes me sad is that this happens only once every three months instead of monthly. But maybe we’ll get there, right?
Two years. Two wonderful years. Two god damn awesome years man…
See you in the Arena!