|Fantasy Flight Retailer Spotlight | Published 11 August 2011|
All over the country retailers are working hard to build up the hobby game industry. Last week we introduced you to a Missouri-based game store; today we’re traveling to California and highlighting Gary Ray’s store, Black Diamond Games!
Black Diamond Games is a store where anyone can go to dive into hobby gaming and become part of a great community. Let’s hear from Gary!
Black Diamond Games
Support for everyone
Black Diamond Games grew organically based on the needs of the local community. The first store was a pilot effort, determining the games people played and the space needed to play them. The current store is three times larger, with twice the inventory, built from the knowledge gained from the first store. Besides the extensive retail selection, we have a dedicated game space supporting seventeen gaming groups that meet during the 85 hours a week the store is open.
Where some stores might have the luxury of supporting just a particular type of game, like CCGs or miniatures, we support the full hobby game spectrum. Our CCG selection includes the usual suspects like Magic: The Gathering, Yu-gi-oh! and Pokemon, but we also provide events and products for our more fledgling games like Naruto and Redakai. The LCG model also does extremely well for us, and our A Game of Thrones group meets every week.
We don’t pick sides in the Dungeons and Dragons version wars, instead we play “arms dealer” and equally support both Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons at the same level, carrying every product and providing plenty of game nights for both, along with an RPG club for our other roleplaying games that number a couple dozen. You can almost always find a Deathwatch game during our RPG club event.
While Warhammer 40,000 dominates our miniatures like in most stores, we support vibrant communities for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Warmachine, and Malifaux, with an additional game or two “on deck” for those looking at dabbling with the next thing (currently Dystopian Wars or Hell Dorado). We make a point of structuring our events for casual play and making them beginner friendly. Our job is to promote the hobby and bring in new people.
A night to begin
Board gamers are usually happy with our selection of over 1,000 board games and several hundred card games. Our selection includes a wide variety of Euro style games, including children’s games and plenty of American style games, including most offerings from Fantasy Flight. The FFG Media Center does a great job in matching customers with the game that suits them best.
Board game night usually attracts a diverse crowd with casual gamers, serious strategy gamers and plenty of people in between. It’s probably the easiest group to get involved in, since most people are learning a new game when they play during board game night.
Besides the usual hobby games, we also provide the kinds of classic games you expect to find in a game store, like Chess, Backgammon, Poker, Go, and Mah-jong. We also carry four lines of jigsaw puzzles, something we’ve decided to expand on substantially over time. We’re also dabbling with geek toys, like MetalKit and Nanoblock constructible toys from Japan and giant microbes.
Become their star
The key to the success of Black Diamond Games is professionalism. Sure, the staff knows the latest games, and of course, the newest releases are always on the shelf, but we have stellar customer service that includes everything from cleanliness to atmosphere to proper game matching with the needs of the customer. The retail space is like a stage and everything needs to be perfect for the star of the show: the customer. It’s about getting what you want, when you want it, with as pleasant an experience as possible. Isn’t that what a retail store should be?
For the hundreds of people each week interested in gaming at the store, Black Diamond Games is more than just a retail store, it’s their community. It’s the community. Virtually every popular game played in Contra Costa County has a group that meets at Black Diamond Games. The goal is to bring younger kids into the hobby through events tailored to them and to keep them engaged throughout their lives. Hobby gaming is a lifetime activity and you’re never too young to start or too old to continue. Bringing as many people as possible into a positive gaming experience and retaining them is our core business goal.
Thanks, Gary! 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, or see if a local store has already been mentioned. 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 [email protected].
Yeeee Yeeee! This is my meta's store and it really is the best. Awesome space, amazing staff, Gary really does run an A+ boss shop. Props to Mike for getting his picture in the blurb!