Brothers Grim Games: A Long Island Game Store

Brothers Grim Games
Brothers Grim Games is located in Selden, NY. Photo credit: Brothers Grim Games Facebook Page

Brothers Grim Games is located on Long Island, specifically in Selden, NY. According to the Wizards of the Coast Store & Events Locator, it’s the only game store in Selden. In 2007, store owner, Gil, bought the store, originally named Monkey Head. He keeps the store open 7 days a week with at least two daily events. An interesting tidbit Gil shares is that he’s open later during the week compared to weekends. The store is open until 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 7 p.m. on Sundays. He attributes this to other activities people may have planned during the weekend.

As a store owner, Gil says that one of his biggest challenges is knowing how much product to buy. This incorporates recognizing when a product has plateaued and is about to decline. Moreover, there are no restocks after the initial order from a distributor. Furthermore, Gil does not like discounting products. He prefers to hold onto products and it has paid off. He’s well aware of speculators driving up the market to resell boxes.

Customer Loyalty At Brothers Grim & Overcoming Online Retail

While competing with Amazon is challenging, Gil says customer loyalty is the best way to overcome that. That loyalty has resulted in a few thousand regular customers. Moreover, new games entering the market bring in new players. Nowadays, he’s seeing customers bring friends, families, and parents. Additionally, sets like Universes Beyond from Magic: The Gathering have brought new players in.

Great group of guys working here – very helpful and friendly. Fair prices, big selection.

Mike Hanley, Customer review on Brothers Grim Facebook Page

Gil says One Piece is the most popular card game since Magic: The Gathering. However, he says Disney’s Lorcana has declined since its initial hype.

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Gil always strives to make his store nicer. An example is the expansion of the store’s square footage. Over time, the number of units his store has amassed has grown. In the early days, Gil would work 100 hours per week but is now down to 30 hours a week. Having four employees on board has allowed him to cut back. These days his focus is the store’s financials, purchasing, and insurance. However, he does not sell online for the most part. Gil sells old miniatures, old Warhammer 40,000, and old Dungeons & Dragons products online, but that’s it.

Gil feels there are too many Magic: The Gathering products released. The pace of release between products he says is too fast. To provide feedback related to issues such as this, a Facebook group exists for store owners to share feedback with Wizards of the Coast. However, he doesn’t feel Wizards of the Coast listens to the feedback shared by store owners. With that in mind, he suggests that these company decisions have led to the birth of new card games. Developers are trying to capitalize on decisions made by Wizards of the Coast that are unpopular with game store owners and players alike.

The Importance of Captial & Marketing When Running A Store

Gil stresses that it’s important to have capital when opening a game store. It’s an underestimated factor by new store owners, he says. For example, Brothers Grim needed a government loan to get through COVID. However, sales skyrocketed when people could return to the store. While sales increased, margins for game stores and Magic: The Gathering products are notoriously low. Gil shares that a Magic: The Gathering box sold at $10-$15 over the cost results in “no profit”. On the flip side, One Piece is profitable. Gil can sell the product at full retail price. The difference is MSRP. A solid profit is important when considering utilities, employee wages, and rent. Gil’s rent for the store is $7,000 a month.

To continue getting the word out about the store, Gil attends conventions. Likewise, he advertised his store in movie theaters which proved beneficial. One of the local conventions he attends to market his store is the Long Island Tabletop Gaming Expo. Gil runs game demos during the expo. In the past, he would travel outside New York and attend conventions in about 20 states. The networking opportunities are valuable to him, hence his attendance at local conventions. In addition, the money made at these events is through buying card collections. However, the networking opportunities have proved fruitful. Gil told The Match Slip that people visiting from New York stop by Brothers Grim. For example, he notes that some people visited from Maine.

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