About a year and a half ago our local GW store closed down. Fortunately, our gaming community continued onward with games being played in basements and garages across the greater Richmond VA area. While there were a few game stores in the area, most were small stores with limited gaming areas. This month a new game store opened up in the Richmond area, FTW. FTW stands for "for the win" and their website is here. Here are my thoughts.
The store is rather spacious, with 8 4x6' tables with terrain to play on. This will easily accommodate most gaming nights and even a tournament of 16. There are also about 3-4 smaller tables that are meant for card game plays. Without these they probably have space enough for another 2 4x6' tables.
The variety of games and hobby supplies is good. There is Spartan games stuffs for Uncharted Seas as well as Firestorms. There is Flames of War, Confrontation, Warmachine, Infinity, as well as a few board type games as well as a few other such as Ultra Forge. Naturally there is a wall of GW products from 40k to Warhammer and LotR/WotR. There are also GW gaming supplies, along with Gale Force 9. Aside from the variety the amount of materials seems small for what i perceive as the more popular product lines: GW, FoW, and Warmachine/Hordes. As of this posting there is also not much in the way of card games, general board games ,or video games that might appeal more to the general public.
Customer Experience: A
Rob the owner is young but very friendly and seem like a good guy and an obvious gamer. He is friendly and will easily engage you in conversation as well as respond to your inquiries. There is a large couch in front of a large flat screen for video gaming. For 60 US$ a year you can also become a member of FTW gaming club, where you get 10% of your main product line. In my opinion 60$ is very affordable as this translate to only 5$ a month. You would easily spend more than 5$ at a matinee any random weekend.
I want this store to work out and stay past their 3 year lease. I believe they can expand into the empty space next door but in my opinion this is really unnecessary at the moment and for a long while. My greatest concern is that there just isn't enough products on the shelves. The store part of the space is at most 25% of the total space. The store caters to gamers by providing gaming space, but will gamers buy enough to make the store profitable or will they just game with what they have, and add only a few models here and there. The FTW membership could be and should be more perhaps (i understand the membership is to build a customer based community of sort rather than to provide income). And will the gamers be enough of a customer base or should the store also make an effort to appeal to the general public? I am glad that he does sell food and drinks but he should expand more in this regard.
Rob gets it as a gamer but will he get it as a game store owner? If not now, I hope he will be soon. The Richmond gaming community really needs this.