Decks And Dice: Seneca, South Carolina Game Store
Located in the rural area of Seneca, South Carolina is Decks And Dice. After selling the land he owned, Jared McKenzie opened his store with his collection providing the initial store product. He also focused on implementing a family-like environment. Located outside of Clemson, Decks And Dice is a less rigid business. Jared says his customers can haggle and go behind the checkout counter to browse the binders of trading card games.
Jared always wanted to open a shop. Growing up, going to his local game store and playing games was a way to escape the negativity at home. With that in mind, Jared wanted his store to be the same escape for someone going through similar circumstances.
Jared notes that carving out a niche with event scheduling in his area is a struggle, but doable. He shares that he’s been denied the designation of a WPN Premium store by Wizards of the Coast three times. Competing with WPN stores that can offer the prize support that he currently cannot is where the struggle lies. To achieve the designation, Jared says that he would need to fix the floors. Unfortunately, this would require closing the store for 2-3 days. Between the costs and the loss of business, he says it would be counterintuitive to the business.
Forming The Decks And Dice Business Philosophy
When Jared first opened the store, he worked 80-85 hours a week. This consisted of a full-time job and Decks And Dice. Before the help of his cousin and two customers volunteering their time, Jared handled all aspects of the store. Now he only works a part-time job in addition to running the store thus cutting down his work hours significantly. From a business standpoint, he likes to try and price match for his customers where possible. If he’s not losing money on the sale, he’s willing to be accommodating. Jared allows the rules to be bent but not broken when it comes to his store operations. His customers resonate with this sentiment due to the lack of rigidness. Customer, Quinton Moss shares the following sentiment on the Decks And Dice Facebook page:
“Excellent selection, fun environment, fair prices — what’s not to love? I’m especially fond of the convenient downtown location. Keep your eyes on this shop, folks. It’s gonna get big — fast!“Quinton Moss, Decks And Dice Customer
The store is open Tuesday through Saturday during the week. However, Jared notes that he wants to take care of his employees first before he benefits financially. He doesn’t run Magic: The Gathering drafts due to demand. However, Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh are the two most popular games and events held at Decks And Dice. August through April sees the majority of the cash flow due to being located in a college town. Moreover, free play has always built in for customers visiting the store, Jared says. He shares that, “free play…just helps get butts in the seats and then sometimes the flowers just arrange themselves.” This alludes to getting people in the door with a greater possibility that they purchase something.
Local Businesses Supporting One Another
Jared also offers Cornerstone memberships via the Decks And Dice website. Customers who pay $10 per month to support the store receive incentives. Incentives include a members-only Discord server, monthly discounts, a permanent 10% discount off Games Workshop products, trade-in deals, etc. Moreover, Jared doesn’t only seek support from his customers. He also supports local artists in the area by carrying their dice bags and scrunchies. The one business philosophy that Jared doesn’t subscribe to is the “buy singles” mantra. As a reference, he notes that Magic: The Gathering Play Booster boxes cost $120 per box from the distributor. Selling a box at $150 – $170 would be open market price, he says. However, he notes that if you only “buy singles”, then booster boxes will remain at a higher cost. The fewer boxes opened results in single card prices increasing, says Jared.
Having Fun While Marketing The Store Simultaneously
Jared enjoys creating fun videos for the store’s YouTube channel. Some of the topics include “Ramblings of an LGS Owner” and “Cards After Dark”. He also allows customers to create videos for the channel if they wish. Additionally, Jared runs Facebook Ads and relies on word-of-mouth to bring more customers to the store. Word-of-mouth is particularly beneficial on the Clemson University campus due to the store’s proximity. When it comes to Facebook Ads, he tries to avoid targeting near Georgia. He shares that there is a WPN store in the area that already targets that market. A successful venture Jared participated in was the “Welcome Back Students” event at Clemson University. Jared says this has brought a lot of foot traffic to his store.
One of Jared’s goals would be to bring Commander League Fridays to Clemson University. He aspires to one day bring a satellite shop to the Clemson campus as well.
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