With International Tabletop Day around the corner, we’re counting down the days to the big celebration by highlighting friendly local gaming stores, their owners, and their awesome stories. Be sure to find an ITTD event near you so you can enjoy the festivities in your community.
Millennium Games in Rochester NY is unique for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious as soon as you walk in the door, the store itself is huge, coming in at a touch under 11,000 square feet. Boasting an impressive, and mind-boggling 2100 different board games, as well as FLGS staples like card games, miniatures games and roleplaying games. Even more impressive is that they are a nexus of geekdom: offering comics, graphic novels, puzzles, vinyl toys, and t-shirts. They even break the mold of what is expected of an FLGS and stock disc golf. Let it never be said that geeks do not have varied tastes.
This huge amount of space also allows Millennium Games to really serve their community. Travis Severance, the owner of Millennium Games, talked about the importance of their gaming community, and how that lets them best serve their customers. “We host events every night of the week. We have a private play space that allows customers access to our board game library and is perfect for special events. Along with those, we have 8 demo tables on the floor that rotate monthly offering customers a different experience each time they visit.”
Travis’ journey to own Millennium is just as remarkable as his store. No stranger to all things geeky, Travis started playing D&D when he was 7 years old. Eventually, he started playing Magic during roleplay sessions while the DM was setting up the adventure. Before taking a trip to Cancun he picked up some White Dwarf magazines for the flight and this led to his playing Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
His journey with Millennium started with a feeling many of us can relate to, “I started working part time 15 years ago. I was just a cashier on the weekends. I had a full-time job in the financial sector that I didn’t enjoy.” Being enterprising and a hard worker (as every successful store owner is) he was able to turn this part-time role into something so much more.
“One day the store owner’s Point of Sales system blew up and he asked if I would take an active role in getting a new one up and running.” Travis continued. “I did that relatively well so then he asked me to handle ordering a few product lines. Slowly but surely I took a more active role in managing the store.”
It didn’t stop there, as Travis eventually found himself in a place where he could buy Millennium. “My eventual business partner opened a LAN center in the same plaza as our store is today. We became fast friends and after knowing each other for about 6 months, bought the business from the former owner.”
Travis himself is a thought leader within the tabletop industry, curating some the most interesting perspectives on the gaming industry, including voices from publishers, designers, and consumers on his blog. He also gave me some fascinating insight about the gaming industry from a store owner’s perspective. “These days the largest challenge I deal with is an abundance of products and a shortage of supply. As a retailer, I get solicited for 20-30 products a week. It’s challenging to keep up with everything while making sure we offer solid events and a great shopping experience.” Seeing as we are living in a board gaming renaissance, it’s easy to forget that while the customer benefits from having thousands of options, the FLGS owner has to choose which of these to stock.
That said, when customers walk through the store, they’d be hard pressed to imagine any games missing from Millennium’s shelves.
What is something your favourite FLGS does? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Millennium Games