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.
Epic Loot Games in Ohio is an oasis of friendship and community. At their 5 year anniversary (last year), their Facebook page was flooded with well wishes and thanks for giving their customers a place to meet new people and form new friendships. The owners asked some of their customers what they love about the store specifically, with many excited and varied responses. Andrew, an 11-year-old customer loves the variety of game types and age groups, and especially likes the board game library. Steve, a 48-year-old patron thinks the selection and staff are all great, and Greg, a 53-year-old customer, is particularly fond of the energy and activity level in the store.
Beyond the customer accolades, Epic Loot Games has also earned some serious industry awards. According to Allen Burkes, one of the owners, “I’m also very proud of the recognition we’ve received in the industry. We’ve won Golden Meeple awards from Game Trade Magazine for Best Gaming Area as well as Best Miniatures Section. Last year we were awarded Best Store Design and Best Overall Game Store power retailer awards at the GAMA trade show.”
The other interesting part of Epic Loot Games’ story has to deal with its owners. The store began with Allen and his vision. Growing up with his own FLGS he called home, Rob and Peggy’s Comics, and getting involved with CCGs like Magic and Overpower, Allen had this to say: “After graduating from high school the real world started to get in the way of my dreams. I quickly realized that it would be awhile before I would truly be ready to take on the task of opening my own business, and I would need to find something to support myself in the meantime. I went down several different career paths always feeling that there was something missing for me down each path. At 25 I joined the Air Force, only to become medically retired 3 years later.”
That’s a tough break but Allen approached the situation with a really great attitude. “Although I did love my time in the Air Force and would have loved to have stayed, I viewed this as the universe telling me that I should finally follow my true dream and and open my own Rob and Peggy’s Comics.”
“I developed a 5 year plan in which I would educate myself as much as possible on running a business and on the gaming industry as a whole. I would also need to find financing and knew I would need to save up as much money as possible during this time. Later in the first year, I was with my normal gaming group and had mentioned to them my plan for opening a store. A few days later two of them approached me and asked if I was able to come up with financing sooner would I be interested in bringing on partners and turning my 5 year plan into a 1 year plan. I had always imagined taking on this venture alone, but they shared in the same vision and passion, so I decided to change my solo adventure into a multiplayer experience and took on partners. We spent the next year attending as many business seminars as we could, educated ourselves on the industry, and negotiated through several leases until we found the right location and finally opened our doors of Epic Loot Games and Comics in July of 2011.”
When hearing Allen’s story, you can’t help but feel that this upbeat attitude has helped shape Epic Loot Games community that is beloved by customers.
You can visit Epic Loot’s two locations at 1475 Upper Valley Pike, Ste 654, Springfield, OH (in Upper Valley Mall) and 9130 Dayton-Lebanon Pike, Centerville, OH. You can also find them online.
When have you taken a setback and turned it into a positive opportunity? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Epic Loot Games