Anubis Games & Hobby In Lafayette, Louisiana
Per Wizards of the Coasts’ Store & Event Locator, Anubis Games & Hobby is one of two stores in Lafayette, Louisiana. The store’s owner, Darnel Sonnier, a former welder, started Anubis Games & Hobby selling on eBay and in flea markets. The inspiration to launch a store originated with the affinity he had for a game store in Georgia. That affinity inspires Darnel to support the games store he visits and learn from their experience.
With limited money, the initial seven months of his brick-and-mortar store required Darnel on-site seven days a week. He explains that a store in Lafayette offered big city amenities except with a lower population.
Along with his wife, Darnel shares that he had to learn the business of running a game store. He found himself sleeping at the store and putting all the money made back into the business. While he regrets not paying himself in those first seven months, he decided to see the store through. The people were his motivating factor. As Darnel shares, he wanted to see the store’s success for his customers. The effort Darnel has put forward for his customers has not gone unnoticed. Emily Touchet shares on the Anubis Games & Hobby Facebook page:
“The store is clean, well lit, and organized. They have cool board games and minis. Their dice are cute, too! The owner is super friendly, knowledgable and chill. Most importantly, their cards are neatly organized. Anubis has spoiled other local card shops for me.“Emily Touchet, Anubis Games & Hobby Customer
Learning What Anubis Games & Hobby Needed
Unfortunately, he is still feeling the side effects from those first seven months of opening the store. These challenging times offered a reflective moment for Darnel who shares, “Make time for yourself”. He recommends those with aspirations of owning a game store to diversify their products. Moreover, have a plan to scale and pay yourself immediately, Darnel says.
In the early days, he did everything. However, these days his primary responsibility is paying the bills. He credits his employees for carrying out the vision of Anubis Games & Hobby. He also pays special recognition to his store manager. This involves giving leeway to his manager to experiment with ordering products that could prove beneficial for the store. Overall, he wants his employees to feel a sense of ownership which includes ceding some control.
The location he’s in now covers all the requirements that Darnel was looking for. Those requirements included foot traffic, existing anchor stores, and being off a busy street. The first location didn’t have everything he was looking for. Additionally, due to high rent the store’s location moved to where it resides now. Darnel says that the current location of the store was important and changed the business. He noted that Anubis Games & Hobby has one of the best Yu-Gi-Oh players in the southern region. However, the store mostly consists of casual players.
Building Out The Store & A Profitable Business
Encapsulated with an Egyptian theme, Darnel’s WPN Premium store provides its customers with a free space to play. Due to the long-term lease structure he negotiated, he could offer this amenity to his players. The store’s name, “Anubis”, is attributed to African influence and “a cool word”, as Darnel says. Furthermore, Niles, the mascot, appears in everything you’ll see when inside the store. The hieroglyphic signs showcase various product sections throughout to further the Egyptian theme. While the journey to become a WPN Premium store was expensive, he felt it was worth doing.
When it comes to products sold in the store, dice offer the largest margins, Darnel says. Outside of dice, he tries to sell products at a 40% margin. If a product with the margin desired is not attainable, he won’t bring it into the store. On the other hand, booster boxes he’ll sell at a 30% margin. The challenge arises when competing with Wizards of the Coast and their direct sales through Amazon. Additionally, Darnel references the overprinting of products as its own set of challenges. If there’s a product he’s having trouble moving, he’ll bring those products to conventions. It’s his way of determining if there’s any interest in those products from an audience outside of his store.
A unique feature of the store is their video game selection, Darnel says, as well as their Pokemon Training Camp. One of Darnel’s desires would be to one day have the space to add a LAN center. He also envisions a small micro-center offering computer and 3D printing products.
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