|Fantasy Flight Retailer Spotlight | Published 12 May 2011|
All over the country retailers are working hard to build up the hobby game industry. Last week we introduced you to a Chicago-area game store; today we’re spotlighting a Colorado-based retailer: Cameron Crawford and his store Petrie’s Family Games!
Petrie’s Family Games is a store for gamers of all ages to join together, enjoy games, and make friends. Let’s hear from Cameron!
Petrie's Family Games
Address: 3502 Hartsel Drive, Suite 100 Colorado Springs CO, 80920 (Next to Little Caesar's in the Regency King Sooper's Shopping Center)
Telephone: (719) 522-1099
(Subject to seasonal change)
A simple concept
For years, game stores in our town either had no children’s section to speak of, or if they did offer children’s products the store lacked games for teens and adults. Why couldn’t there be a store that’s all-inclusive and provides games for people of all ages?
The answer to this question became a reality in November of 2009 when my store, Petrie’s Family Games, opened its doors. It is owned by myself, my wife, Rebecca Crawford, and my father, Ralph, who want to give our customers the opportunity to know their community and make friends through events, free use of game tables, and the interactive art of gaming. This “community center” vibe, together with our store’s bright atmosphere, offers families and kids a space where they can feel comfortable, as well as seasoned gamers. Play, interact, grow. That’s our model.
Beyond our selection of specialty games for all age groups, Petrie’s Family Games is the place you can go to experience those games. In other words, we aren’t interested in selling you a game and getting you out the door. We want you to come back and enjoy those games, either through casual interaction with other players or through special events and tournaments.
I try very hard to maintain a balance between all four categories of gaming: board games, roleplaying, cards, and miniatures / table top combat. Each month we try to make sure all four categories are covered by events where our customers have an opportunity for fan participation.
Our board game events range from demo days (the Mansions of Madness demo was a huge success for us) to actual tournaments for classics like Settlers of Catan or Puerto Rico. We also try to organize games that don’t get played as often due to the difficulty in gathering multiple people who know the rules; this week we began organizing a Here I Stand group for a GMT war game.
Additionally, we have a Thursday night board game group that is a big draw. People bring in these tubs of games for anyone to choose from. We also have an in-store collection that participants can choose from as well. A single Thursday night can include light-weight games like Talisman or Munchkin and war games or games of intense strategy.
At our store we have an in-house collection of board games. Every month our customers participate in an online poll for a new title that we add to the collection. The board games in this collection are available to anyone to try out before they buy. Or customers can take the game home through our rental program. The rental program allows people to try out the game by taking it home for three days and if they like it, they can roll the rental price into the purchase of the actual game.
Recently we started a new series called "Designer Days," and we want to make this a regular feature. We pick a game designer and play only his titles in an all day “festival” that allows people the chance to see that designer’s range and hopefully helps them make educated decisions when they buy games in the future.
We have a lot of the standard Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder groups who participate in private or public games, as well as demo days. When Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay came out we did a few demo days for it. We also favor small press titles that do not get as much attention. For example, last month we had a Savage World demo day. We like to do anything to introduce new players to this popular hobby and seasoned RPG'ers to new systems.
Once a month we have an event where players pay to play. However, these players are then awarded with “treasure” through tickets. Instead of imaginary treasure won in the dungeon, our players can use these tickets to buy actual products so that our customers can play in a dungeon and take home real loot.
We have the standard Friday Night Magic for Magic: the Gathering and World of Warcraft Battlefields and we just started an LCG Sunday. Every second Sunday customers can gather together and play all four of Fantasy Flight Games’ Living Card Games. So far this has been a big success for us and we want to evolve it into regular tournaments. I think why it’s so popular is that most LCG players play more than one LCG at a time, so having a time and place for them to play the games simultaneously guarantees that everyone has someone to play with and practice their decks with.
Our store and products are more geared toward including families and children into the gaming hobby, so we also include children’s events every three or four months. Last October we had a Star Wars day that included games, face painting, saber fights, a build your own dejarik board, and even a personal visit from the local Squadron chapter. Last summer we had a Curious George day and a Doctor Seuss day.
Our team at Petrie’s Family Games loves planning unique and exciting gaming events for customers and other members of the community. While myself and my wife handle the larger events, we also encourage volunteers to plan and oversee recurring tournaments. In fact, special events are the single most important part of our store’s mission because they foster relationships with the community and provide patrons with opportunities to try new games and have different experiences.
While we don’t have a volunteer program per se, our volunteers are people who come to us with a passion to run a specific game, and we find a place for them. We have a regular group of about fifteen families or individuals who have made Petrie’s Family Games their own store and want to see it succeed. With these people and others we follow the “if you build it they will come” concept. When we set up events we find someone usually comes forward and says they want to help bring that event to life.
Relationships develop during these volunteer programs. The volunteers start out as strangers who have come together for a single mission: form a family friendly environment to practice and teach their hobby. In turn, they become friends and family to each other. We have a high military population here and when people leave due to being shipped out or relocated we have put on some amazing farewell parties, filled with food, tears, and of course, games. This sort of environment is what Petrie’s Family Games is all about, a place where people can come in as guests but leave as family.
Our extra employee
At our store we have a Fantasy Flight Media Center that helps both us and our customers. While waiting for the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, customers began checking in regularly to see if the newest "how to" video had been posted. Our regulars got so much amusement from checking in with each other and the Media Center to see if there was any more information.
The first week we had the Media Center we were particularly busy one evening and a customer came in without our noticing. Completely new to the world of gaming, the customer discovered the machine, watched the Civilization: The Board Game trailer, and walked to the front counter, game in hand. When we hear anyone describe the FFMC as an extra employee, my wife and I just smile and nod.
Thanks, Cameron! Make sure to keep watch for our next Retailer Spotlight article.
If you are interested in visiting one of these great game store locations, keep reading to find one in your local area. If you are a retailer who is interested in participating in our Retailer Spotlight and having your store featured or if you are interested in more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awesome Cameron! Really like this store and always has a great atmosphere!
Great job Cameron!
This is an awesome idea! I would never ever EVER recommend a video game over a board/card game.
Do one on a game store in Southern California please!
Way to go Cameron!! Great feature for the store! :)