Running a Hobby Shop - One Month In

Well, this last weekend was a big milestone for me - it marked the first full month that I have been running a hobby shop. So far things have been going very well, but I have also learned quite a bit.

The biggest thing I have learned is that you can not run a hobby shop for as cheap as I was wanting. I started out with a bit of cash reserves and a credit card, but before the first month was up the cash was gone and the credit card was full. I had kept seeing people saying that it took about $10k to get a hobby shop running, and I thought that was rubbish - I would do it for half that. Turns out they were right. Even a small hobby shop that is just open on the weekends takes tons more money to get up and running than you would think.

The majority of my cost has gone towards rent and product. Getting set up as a stockist with Games Workshop cost me about $2500. I also added the full range of paints and that was another $1500 right there. On top of that I ordered some role playing games, board games, a few other miniatures, and some Magic the Gathering cards.

Most of my sales have come from used product and special orders - so the large investment that I have made in new product is being very slow to turn - I say slow, if you get four turns a year out of something it is successful, the only thin is that I am on my first month.

The first few weeks I was open in the partial month prior to this one I was using personal funds to pay for any shipping that I have done, at this point things have turned around enough that the shop is actually supporting itself. I am able to pay for candy, soda, and shipping out of the stores account, but product is still put on either a personal or business credit card. I have heard that it can take up to a year or longer to actually get all of your inventory paid for.

I am making very slow buy steady progress towards this goal. At this point I am not near as worried as when I started. I sold enough product last month to pay the rent and to pay down a small portion of the credit card debt. The only thing is that there is always another months rent just right around the corner.

So far the store has been an absolute blast. My goal for the store is for it to be a place to game that also happens to sell things. I am doing my best to focus on customer support by making sure that special orders arrive as soon as possible, and to make sure that the shop is a fun place to hang out and game. We have had a few small events so far - our biggest being a 15,000 point per side Apocalypse game that was an absolute hoot. Some people are getting into Malifaux so we will be holding some events for that coming up as well as a few Warhammer and Warhammer 40k tournaments over the next few months.