Game Stores In Virginia: Star City Games
Star City Games is one of two game stores in Roanoke, Virginia, per Wizards of the Coasts’ Store & Event Locator. The second of the two game stores in Virginia is Blade Gaming. Blade Gaming was a guest on The Match Slip podcast (episode five) with General Manager, Mike Hall.
The owner and President of Star City Games is Pete Hoefing. Pete entered the industry with a love of comic books and still does to this day. His journey in the business started 30 years ago. The store has been one of the mainstay game stores in Virginia since its inception. The store was 800 sq. ft on opening day.
In the early days, Pete enjoyed attending one-day comic conventions as a kid. This became the catalyst for drawing Pete into the comic book and soon-to-be gaming business. He would soon find himself vending at these weekend events while he was in high school. He would drive to these events by himself and sleep in his van. Later in life, he would run the largest single-day comic book conventions spanning 7-8 cities at a time.
From Comics To Magic: The Gathering
However, an early interaction with four kids visiting his store would change the trajectory of his business forever. With continued requests for Magic: The Gathering products, Pete would eventually budge and purchase products he had never sold. Doing so was a great decision, Pete says. As more people showed up to his story looking for said products, it solidified the decision. The kids in the store that day purchased one pack of cards after another. Pete hired one of the kids as an editor of content for Star City Games. That kid later went on to work for Wizards of the Coast (Wizards). Eventually, Pete made the decision to turn Star City Games into a full-blown game store. Shifting from comic books to Magic: The Gathering, he would find himself qualifying to play in two Pro Tours. These two Pro Tours occurred in Dallas in the ’90s and later, Hawaii.
Within the entire company, Star City Games employs 130-140 people. 6-8 of those employees work in the brick-and-mortar store, Pete notes. Initially, his lead role with the store was being the sole buyer. Nowadays, he helps his employees to the best of his ability with the resources they need to do their jobs.
From The SCG Tour To SCG Con
The Star City Games (SCG) brand is synonymous with large tournaments. These events include the SCG Tour of years past to current, SCG Con. SCG Con’s run 10 times each year throughout the United States. The primary focus of the conventions, Pete says, is to promote the store’s website. The initial goal with the SCG Tour was to purchase large quantities of cards to help fuel the website. He didn’t like relying on events created by other people to acquire cards. With that notion in mind, he set out to do it himself.
The SCG Tour started with 5K events and Pete would eventually become a Wizards Premiere Event Organizer. Grand Prix events Pete helped organize at the time of their prominence. Pete says that the SCG Tour was a compliment to what Wizards was doing. He laments that this is a lot more difficult to do now. This is especially true when it comes to scheduling and working around events put on by Wizards.
When it came to commentary, Pete shared that one of its successes was due to its broadcasters. Those SCG Tour commentators displayed more personality compared to a more corporate broadcast, Pete says. He credits the overall team effort for the event but makes note of contributions from Patrick Sullivan and Cedric Phillips. In addition, Pete shared glowing recommendations regarding Cedric and his commentary skills:
“I personally think Cedric is the absolute best commentator in Magic’s history.”Pete Hoefling, President of Star City Games
Fans of Star City Games coverage echo the same sentiment. Even though it’s been a while since the last SCG Tour, the quality of the broadcast resonated with people:
“Nothing in competitive magic has been as good as Star City Games commentated by Patric and Cedric, even though its been years at this point.”Elias, @opsichangedmyat on X (Twitter)
Game Stores In Virginia Face Ups and Downs
When it comes to a unique aspect of the store, Pete points to their online catalog. Their online inventory ties back to the brick-and-mortar store. If there’s something you see online, you know they’ll have it if you were to visit the store in person. When it comes to challenges, the number of Magic: The Gathering variants poses the greatest difficulty. Pete shares that this challenge for the store is greater than the number of products Wizards releases a year. Additionally, Pete shares another challenge that stems from the demand for Disney’s new Lorcana tradeable card game. The demand is so high but not enough product is available.
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