What’s in Store: Owning Your Own Local Game Store

Hi Everybody, Maria from Magic The Amateuring here and lots of Magic players dream about one day owning their own local game store. Unlimited Booster Draft! All the sleeves money can buy! Cleaning the toilets?

I wanted to know what it was really like to work unbelievably hard, to wake up every morning and walk into a store that you helped create. So I went to Lodestone Games in Minnetonka, Minnesota. [Mike] I’ve had people ask me since I was 18 years old, “when are you gonna open a store?” Because I’ve always been the guy that has Magic cards. It’s just a really cool feeling like if you walk in the door, and they see Lodestone for the first time they get this look, non-Magic players, Magic players where it’s kind of like an “I’m home” feel.

So I’ve been playing Magic for about 15 years after a while I realized that it was something I was really interested in. I decided that owning a store is something I really wanted to do. Probably 2 years of just planning, and trying to keep it a secret. Overall super rewarding. No matter how much hard work it took to get to this point, it’s all worth it. [Ryan] Even when I’m not doing work, this is just where I hang out and it’s really awesome.

You talk about running a game store the idea is that it’s a lot of fun. And it is a lot of fun but the most important thing to remember is that it’s a lot of work too. Owning your own Magic store is a challenge in every way. The tough part was mostly just… everything. I thought I was going to get to play a lot more Magic than I do making sure we have inventory, making sure we have singles, making sure my employees get paid. I am here on slow weeks 40 hours, on busy weeks, 70-90.

You have to love everything about everything you do. I wanted to open a store that my mom wouldn’t be embarrassed to go to. And I wanted to build a store that my fiancé and my mom and dad could come to and say that they want to hang out. [Megan] Lodestone is really a place where people feel comfortable. People want to sit at our tables, they want to spend time here and it’s a really great place to learn a new game whether it’s Magic or one of the board games we have on our demo shelf, and they feel welcome. [Mike] So our first FNM I got a little emotional in the back room.

I came in and every seat in the entire store was full and it was breath taking. I just didn’t have any words. Coming to Lodestone for work everyday, I get to come in I get to see people that are my friends the regulars in the store they all know me, I know them. I’ve been hanging out in game stores forever and now I get to hang out in a place that I get to be proud of.

[Ryan] It’s indescribable the way that it makes me feel. Before this I was middle management for a corporate retail chain and going from that to this is just indescribable It’s the fact that I can come here any day of the week and this is just where the best people in my life hang out. [Mike] My hopes for the future of Lodestone would be to keep growing never stop growing.

We never stop pushing forward we fail forward, we make decisions that if they don’t work we just keep going. People love being here, I see it all the time. I see these people come in I see the look on their face, and the smile as they leave and they come here because it’s home . I’ve never felt any connection to a non-living thing like I do the store and so it makes it living, it brings it alive and it gets a soul from every person that walks in the door and it’s incredible.