Gaming in the Desert
A spotlight on the Little Shop of Magic, a Las Vegas retailer
The hobby gaming industry is filled with hard-working retailers who strive to bring the very best experiences to their customers. Last week we introduced you to a Colorado Springs-area game store; today we’re spotlighting a Las Vegas-based retailer: John Coviello and his store Little Shop of Magic!
The Little Shop of Magic started with nothing more than a few spare Magic: The Gathering cards from the owner’s personal collection and evolved into a fantastic store that serves its community well. Without further ado, John Coviello!
Little Shop of Magic
- Monday- Thursday: 12pm - 8pm
- Friday - Saturday: 12pm - 11pm
- Sunday: 10am - 6pm
An exciting history
The Little Shop of Magic started as a brick-and-mortar store in 1994 in Flagstaff, a small college town in Arizona. At that time I was attending Northern Arizona University. The Magic: the Gathering phenomenon hit in 1993 and I had been collecting sets. After about a year of doing so, I had an excessive amount of extra singles that I was interested in selling.
I rented a dealer's table at a small gaming convention in Phoenix, AZ and managed to make a small profit. Although that profit was really not much to try to start a business with, I decided to try and open my very own FLGS because even though Flagstaff counted 20,000 students as part of its populations of 50,000, the area was devoid of anything resembling a true gaming store.
Fortunately, two of my friends ran a comic shop in town and they agreed to have me move in. The initial store space was tiny but we rapidly expanded. The extra space was needed in part to expand our product selection, but primarily to accommodate the growing needs of our organized play programs.
In the meantime, I decided to start dabbling in online commerce, and launched The Little Shop of Magic’s website & online store in 1996. The next store 'life changing' event came after some personal events and from listening to Las Vegas players who kept making trips to Flagstaff to play in our tournaments say that they lacked a good FLGS. So we decided to move to Las Vegas.
After a few interesting years trying to make the Las Vegas move work (I was a shoe salesman for about three months), we closed down the Flagstaff location and the Little Shop of Magic became an exclusively e-commerce store. But I wasn’t satisfied with this, as I didn’t feel I was doing my fair share to support the industry and I missed interacting with customers who were passionate about gaming or introducing new customers to the hobby. Then in 2007 an opportunity presented itself and I reopened the brick and mortar store here in Las Vegas!
The Little Shop of Magic is a full-service gaming store that covers all aspects of tabletop gaming. We believe that to be a full-service gaming store customers must be able to purchase their favorite games and accessories from your location, learn about hobby gaming, as well as learn useful skills, tricks, and techniques, experience a level of game play that they can’t at home, and meet new friends.
Organized play is the central focus of what we do at the Little Shop of Magic and play space has been a part of our store since day one. We offer events nearly every day of the month and have a color-coded calendar of events on our website so that our customers can locate exactly the type of event they are interested in.
Serving our community’s interests
Our Pokemon State Championship housed 117 players, and we typically get 40 to 50 Magic: The Gathering players every Friday. Our miniatures tournaments also have a good turnout, depending on the system.
We also try to tap into our community's interests that cross over into gaming. We had a WWII Living History Day with bona-fide WWII vehicles parked in our parking lot for people to see and ride in. We’ve also had Charity Food Fight Tournaments, a Toys for Tots drive, Flea Market Days, boardgame auctions, and more. Additionally, we’ve hosted demo game nights or featured certain titles during our weekly Saturday board game nights. The Little Shop of Magic also sees a lot of different types of gamers in our store. We have Dust Tactics players every Wednesday, Magic: The Gathering players every Friday and Saturday, local board-gamers and the meet-up groups of Saturday, and Games Workshop players every Sunday.
All in all, the Little Shop of Magic is a place for our community to come and play and an opportunity for us to promote and expand the hobby, as well as serve the industry as a whole. We are the only dedicated game store in Las Vegas: we're not a video game, comic or book store that also sidelines games, we are 100% dedicated to tabletop games.
Lending a hand
The FFMC is a great way to engage our customers with top-notch video presentations. We’ve used it as an ice-breaker and to lend us a hand when we find ourselves swamped with customers. While we still provide great customer service, the videos can help our customers help themselves until we are able to catch up and answer any remaining questions they may have.
Thanks, John! 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 [email protected].