Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Post Comic Expo 2012 thoughts

Is the week over? Dear Jebus it feels like I've been run over by a herd of nerds!

On April 27-29 was the 2012 Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. We have been at this event for 5 years and have seen it grow! Our booth has went from a single table, to double, to corner and then the past 2 years a full End Cap. This to me is quite an acomplishment. It's not cheap to say the least, but what we get back from it is sooooo worth the cost.

I need to start by thanking Gwen, Andreas and Tracy for working my booth with me the entire weekend. We got to the BMO center at 9am on Friday morning for set up and left Sunday at 6:00pm. There are a lot of hours involved in the convention and through years of experience we have learned that chair cushions and floor mats are keys to comfort!

My minions were at the store all weekend working their collective asses off to run pre-release events for MtG as well as taking shifts at the convetion. I have always been proud and happy with my staff, but their level of commitment to the store went above and beyond this weekend. I'm sure they are all still trying to catch up on sleep, I know I am.

This year was an added twist to the chaos, a second booth! I purchased an "economy" booth for our Alliance LARP. We stuffed all the LARP gear into it and we had several dedicated volunteers manning it, JP, Keith, Shauna, Abbey and Lorne! Those guys again went above my expectations and really helped push our little LARP into a spotlight I did not expect (more on that next week).

We also had the privilage of selling Expo tickets this year. I have been bugging the Expo folks for a couple years about this. We are the only NE store and getting tickets over here was a big thing. We make no money off of the sales, everything goes back to the Expo. But what we do get is exposure! Getting the Myth Games name 'out there' is very important and this advertising let many people know about us that had not heard of us before. We are on their website a few times, and with links back to the store the click throughs were huge.

We must have fielded dozens of calls per day leading up to the event from people wanting tickets. Many came in and grabbed up their tix, but even more wandered around our store, grabbed a game or two, then picked up a ticket as well.

The Friday was as expected. Lots of people, lots of fans and lots of sales! We handed out coupons to the store, spoke about all of the events we do and really pushed some information out there. It was a long day for us as it started around 6am and after the convention was over I had to head to the store for our Midnight pre-release. The low-point of the night was getting in line for a Wil Wheaton photo op and being turned away because they undersetimated his popularity. Geez, you think a guy with 2M Twitter followers may be considered popular? Oh well, there was a 10:30am Sunday Photo OP scheduled so I had to wait. Thanks to my wonderful minions, I was able to head home and get some sleep while they ran the 70 player event (2 off of a full event!).

Saturday was the "day from hell" as many poor convention goers found out. Lots of overcrowding, long lines etc. Luckily our vendor area was not the crush of people in the Photo/Food area. Minion A and myself pushed our way through the throngs of people to get a couple autographs (hey, I'm a fanboy just like the rest of you!) and I got Katee Sackoff to sign her Starbuck card for my Battlestar Gallactica board game. Then I realized that Richard Hatch (the original Starbuck) was across from her and I had a game piece for him as well. It took me longer to get back to my booth and grab the card than to get his signature. The day was very busy. Lots of sales, lots of flyers and lots of walking between the LARP booth and Myth Games' Booth.

Saturday was also a pretty bad day emotionally for me. Many of you know I have cats. I love my boys. My youngest, Loki, was battling Amemia. He had been on some steroids and his red blood cell count was back to normal and so was he, or so he appeared. Unfortunatley he took a turn for the worse during the week and when I woke up at 5:30am I decided to go check on him. He couldn't move. When I picked him up he cried. I have never heard him meow like that before and I knew something was terribly wrong. So off to North Animal Emergency. After a couple hours I received the news that his condition was critical and just the diagnostics alone (just to find out what was wrong) would cost close to $3,000. As much as people believe that owning a store means you have tons of disposable cash, this is not the case. So with a very heavy heart I had to put my boy to sleep. Saturday and Sunday were VERY hard days to keep my composure. I did not tell anyone because I knew that if they were to give me a hug, or try to console me I would have completley melted down.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! I met up with Shauna at the Will Wheaton line and so the wait began for photos. Once the line started moving it was pretty quick to get in take a snap and get out. It took longer for our photo to be processed as the machine printing them had a problem. Oh well. Then it was into the line to get his autograph. He was genuine and engaging. It was pretty cool. I offered him the store to play some games at, but he was exhausted and was heading to bed after his grueling weekend. His schedule was insane, but he still managed to keep smiling and chat with everyone. That is the mark of a true professional.

So the day went along, more photo ops for the staff and my freinds. Luckily we can all take turns "roaming" the convetion floor and get out of the booth. It helps to break up the days. The highlight of the event for me was getting in line to see John Noble (Walter from Fringe). We overheard him commenting on his lollipop he had. It was such a "Walter" moment that both Gwen and I started giggling. His line was full, but we arrived early enough that once they started to sign there was not a huge wait. Again, we were happy to find him very engaging. He chatted with everyone and really was just a great guy. I asked him if we could snap a quick photo with Gwen's iPhone and he obliged! What a great guy. It's great when you really like an actor (or any "famous" person) and you find out that they are genuine and nice in person. It just maked the weekend a bit better.

Sunday night was unpacking the truck, grabbing some food and collapsing on the couch. Monday was putting everything back on the shelves, re-ordering and gearing up for the next big event: our LARP weekend event!

No rest for the wicked!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some days I really love my store!

As many people know I always wanted to open this store. Yup, I am a true geek. I have wanted to open my own store since I was in highschool (and let's not start counting candles)! When I was growing up being a geek was a stigma. We had to endure "Mazes and Monsters" (kids ask your geek parents), "devil worship" and even more. My how things have changed!

Years later I got the store up and running! My main goal was to give us geeks and nerds a place to congregate and not be judged by the non-geeks out there. So each day we try to set up an event (or two) with a variety of different things for each person to try out. We have RPGs, Board Games, Minis and more scheduled.

We come to Easter Friday. I really did not know what to expect. It was a holiday afterall and that can mean we are either busy, or we are dead. You really can flip a gp and have a shot at figuring it out. So I got in right around noon. Minion C had opened the store and set up the day. We had a daunting task ahead of us. A SEALED MtG event. Now the problem was that we had been shorted by one of my suppliers on MtG product. It happens. I order it and they do not have it in stock. They did try to get me some other stuff, but with the holiday and shipping being down for the day I was not expecting anything. So we had enough Core 2012 boosters for only 15 players. Again a dilema as we could (and have) go well over that number. We had a lot of Dark Ascension and some 2012, but neither had enough to create a sealed event for over 20 players (something we have been hitting regularily for many weeks). EEP!

So as we my Minion and I were banging our heads together wondering what to do one of our regular players, Stephen overheard our problem and said "just combine them". I, not really being an MtG player asked "will that work"? "It will be interesting" was his response. So we went with a mash up of 2012 and Dark Ascension. The players all thought it was a weird mix, but it seemed to work. 20+ players arrived, grabbed their packs and made it one helluva fun event! It went from a disaster in the making to a really fun event that everyone seemed to enjoy! A huge relief!

Some days, I just love my game store! It's the players that make me truly proud of what I have worked on for 5 years. Sure, we get the occasional ass-hat, but normally 99% of the players are freindly, helpful and a ton of fun. It makes my 70 hour work week easier to enjoy.