Baltimore Suburbs Game Store: Games And Stuff

Baltimore suburbs game store, Games And Stuff, at its new location in the town of Glen Burnie, Maryland. Photo credit: Games And Stuff Facebook page

In the Baltimore, Maryland suburbs is the town of Glen Burnie where Games and Stuff resides. It’s one of two game stores in the area, according to Wizard of the Coast’s Store & Event Locator. Glen Burnie is the store’s third location in its lifetime with the latest sporting a 14,000 sq. ft. sales floor. He says that store owner, Paul Butler, made the move due to outgrowing the previous location. He believes the store size may be the second largest in the United States right after Millenium Games.

Paul also happens to be the co-owner of Free RPG Day with Millenium Games owner, Travis. Additionally, Paul mentions that he now has space to stock more products. With a background in retail and a passion for merchandising, Paul can now experiment with additional product lines. Due to his experience his retail, he served as the GAMA retail board Secretary for four and a half years.

The Beginnings of A Store Owner In The Baltimore Suburbs

The new store is three and a half sizes larger than the previous location. Albeit, it’s worth noting that Paul was not the original store owner. He was a part-time board game specialist early on. While Paul has always enjoyed board games, working part-time in the store he saw major growth opportunities. The owner negotiated a salary allowing Paul to quit his previous job and work for Games And Stuff full-time.

In 2010, he became the store manager, made several changes, and tripled sales. Additionally, Paul took a “big swing”, as he put it, with the game Ascension in its infancy. With 18 copies in tow, he was already restocking in week two after selling out the first batch. As the store grew, the original owner had not intended to run an operation of this magnitude, Paul says. This would lead to Paul buying the store and becoming the new owner. He would also put together a design team for his new store in the Baltimore suburbs. It so happens that Paul’s passion for board games also happens to be the most important aspect of his business. However, his passion for retail overall is due to his enjoyment of talking with people who come into the store:

The Innovation of A Game Store Owner In The Baltimore Suburbs

These days, Paul focuses on product buying and vision for the business. His girlfriend assists in the marketing endeavors for the e-commerce site and branding. Overall, he has 26-27 employees which include a Store Manager, Assistant Managers, and Director of Operations. Those who are part-time employees tend to perform your standard game store retail tasks. However, others specialize in their duties, reminiscent of Paul in the early days before owning the store. Currently, Paul is building a tournament organizer’s desk as well as building out the gaming space.

One of the goals Paul has for the store is growing the customer base nationwide. He likes that the store is close to Baltimore/Washington International Airport because it’s “top of mind” for customers passing through. Furthermore, he wants to build on his reputation of being the store that has hard-to-find products. The goal, Paul shares, is for customers to know that if Games And Stuff doesn’t have a product, nobody does. 98% of the store’s business is in-store, he says. However, one of the things he doesn’t do is discount online. He feels competing with Amazon as this he says is a losing battle.

A Game Store That Looks To Offer More To More Customers

With foot traffic for the first time, Paul is looking to bring in more kids’ games and books. He now has two private game rooms that customers can reserve for a full or half-day. Furthermore, there’s now a warehouse and loading dock for handling new product arrivals. Customers are also free to use the game room if they spend $10 on merchandise. Moreover, they can also give $10 to the store in exchange for $10 in store credit. Either option provides customers access to the game room.

Managing the products and business is the new real-life “resource management game”, Paul shares, reflecting on his limited gaming time. He puts his efforts into growing the customer base nationwide. He does so by curating products that a customer’s local game store may not have. Customer, Jayme Calaman Smith, shares in a review on the Games and Stuff Facebook page:

“I just ordered a game you can’t find anywhere else. It arrived very timely. Great packaging. And I was super surprised to find the presale only expansion pack included- I had no idea! Super happy with our purchase. Would order again.”

Jayme Calaman Smith, Games And Stuff customer

Dealing with the supply and flow of products is one of the challenges of the new store. However, Paul does not lack innovative ideas. For example, as mentioned earlier, he looks to get in front of the eyes of other markets. One way he has done this is with the board game, Ark Nova. As noted previously, while he doesn’t try to compete with Amazon, he decided to sell the board game at MSRP. Amazon was selling it for $150. This decision resulted in his stock of Ark Nova going viral in his Facebook group.

Adding The WOW Factor To Draw In A Wider Customer Base

To make Games And Stuff stand out, Paul purchased a full-size bust of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. It stands at 9.5 ft. tall positioned at the center of the store. Additionally, he bought door knockers from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. His vision is to create a place that exudes the “wow” factor. To do so, he works with third-party marketing companies to assist in bringing these visions to life. Pauls says conventions are beneficial to attend when the event is the right fit. This decision factors in the impact it will have on the e-commerce side of the business, he says. In addition, Paul shares that he likes to highlight relationships with brands in-store. Finally, The Baltimore Brawl is an event that draws people from all over the East Coast.

You can follow Games And Stuff on X (Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

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