Launching a board games store in Canada – Part 2

In our previous post, we talked about initial discussion over Japanese food to open a full service, retail store. We stopped there, before I blathered on too long.

So what happened next?

The next step was to take all our calculations off the back of the napkin and put it on paper. That’s right, we started writing an actual business plan. Part of the process was so that we could look at the facts and figures ourselves, part of it to do the proper market research that was necessary.

A note about the general board game industry – we couldn’t really find much in the way of concrete numbers. But what we found was that the numbers are bad out there. Really bad. Games Workshop was/is losing money on their North American stores. There’s been huge closures of gaming stores all across North America. Yet, strangely enough, the entire industry seems to be growing in terms of sales.

Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, we wanted to see if we could become eligible for a few grants.

Any grants at all?

Not really, at least, none that we were comfortable with. The fact is, if you’re looking to start a non-tech company and if you’re not a sole proprietorship owned/run by a female, there really aren’t any grants in Canada. Loans yes, but not grants.

Obviously, we might have missed / are missing out on some and if you know of any, feel free to give us a shout.

The fiinancials

After all that, we really started putting together the numbers for a 3 year period to see when a mixed gaming store became profitable. Here’s a quick idea about the numbers we were looking at – rental of a location, especially in the areas that we were looking at was easily in the $2-3 per square foot range. Since we wanted a location of reasonable size so that we could have a place for people to test and play, that’s a minimum cost of $2-3,000 a month just in rental. And then there’s purchasing of the various cabinets and painting and the rest of the interior design bits. All in, we figured it’d cost between $5,000 to $15,000 to set-up the retail store itself and that would be without professional help.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that just incorporating the company in BC cost us nearly $2,000? Yeah, those lawyers are really swimming in cash for the amount of actual work they do. I swear, they must just cut and paste the same thing.

Then there’s the other major cost – wages. With a retail store, you need to have someone there all the time, which means you need to pay or at least, be able to not get paid for a while. At a minimum wage cost of $2,000 a month, that’s another on-going expense. We haven’t even gotten into stock just yet – that’s easily another $10,000 to just get a reasonable quantity in.

The bottom line?

Fact was, we just couldn’t be certain that we could put the retail gaming store together, get enough financing and revenue in fast enough for it to last more than a year. And since most people say you need at least 2 years funding…

That’s why an online board game store for now. The current plan is to make this store profitable, provide sufficient revenue to pay ourselves a minimum wage and then we’ll revisit the idea of an actual physical store.

The dream is still there, it’s just got to take a back seat for now.

So that’s the end then?

Not really. Now we get to talk about the actual nitty-gritty of putting together a web business, specifically an online board game store in Canada.

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