Jun 052017

After a long hiatus, I thought it time to once again start posting here on Starbasegeek.com. The first topic I want to write about is a tale concerning the hobby/game shop (FLGS) I owned for  just over 10 years and specifically focus on the very beginning. My friends and I had always dreamed of owing our own game shop, and the chance to do so came about quite suddenly.

Warhammer Quest

First, some background information. I started role-playing back in 1981. The very first session I ever played was Star Frontiers, and I was immediately hooked, I was the youngest member of my gaming group (being 11),  with the rest of my friends ranging from 1 to 3 years older. We kept in touch after graduating high school, and it was when I was in graduate school when one of my friends, Pat, came up to talk to me about opening a FLGS. He and another friend, Rick, had full time jobs and wondered if I was interested in being the manager of the shop. As I was burned out on school, not to mention the fact that I was looking at roughly two years before I got my degree, I said yes. We went back and forth about our FLGS, and Pat came up to visit me once again to finalize some of the details. Unbeknownst to us, Rick had already taken out a $5,000 loan and signed a lease for a shop. I moved back home (which was not fun), and we began to work in earnest.

If we knew what we were getting into with the FLGS, it’s likely we would not have done what we did. Opening a business with just $5,000 and using credit cards as a reserve is certifiably insane, but we managed to do it. We had talked to a few retailers in my college town of Tampa and had gotten the contact information needed to begin setting up accounts with distributors. However, it would take some time, which we used to clean up the store area, slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls, create a corporation, and had my father cobble us together some shelves and other furniture. Everything we had in the FLGS was either built by us (or my dad) or was second-hand. The final name we settled upon was Sorcerer’s Tower,  which was something we would have problems with later on.

Needless to say, we jumped into the fire with both feet. I had no retail experience, and my two partners only had commercial retail experience with a soft drink distributor. They had not kept current with gaming, but I had, so I knew about all the latest fads and games, such as Magic: The Gathering. We were fearless, not to mention extremely hopeful as well as naive. From the initial discussion of whether or not to open a game shop to our actual launch was less than two months. We set up accounts with several distributors as well as one manufacturer, Games Workshop. In the late summer of 1995, Sorcerer’s Tower opened its doors. We were three crazy gaming kids with a dream, and we were not fully expecting the reality shock that was to come.

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