Today was the Grand Opening of the Games Workshop store in Columbus, Ohio. It's a pretty small store in one of the strip malls along Sancus Boulevard in the Polaris area. But, small though it may be it was packed full of product and excited fans this afternoon when the doors opened early just before noon.
I arrived about a quarter 'til noon on this unseasonably chilly and wet April morning. But there were still about 30 dedicated GW players huddled in line waiting to check out the new store and meet the staff there. That number increased once the doors opened and soon the place was just packed. It made it a bit difficult to move around and check out the various offerings, but it was great to see so many folks come out for the opening event.
With several items only available online currently, this is a very handy service offered by the store. You can order your online items, and come in and buy them together with in stock items at the store in one handy transaction.
There were several events scheduled to take place today. There was a Conversion Contest to test your model making skills and creativity; a Space Marine Painting Contest and scenarios for Warhammer Fantasy, 40K and Lord of the Rings.
Speaking of Lord of the Rings: one of the reasons I'm excited about the store is that other stores in the area don't carry much of the Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Strategy Battles Game line at the moment. I expect we'll see some upswing as we get closer to the release of The Hobbit (pt 1) this December, but right now it's difficult to find product in stores. So, seeing shelves full of LOTR models did my heart good. I'd love to get into this game. Ironically, they did not have the core rulebook for the Strategy Battles Game in stock. They did, however, have the recently released army books as well as the other previously released supplements.
I'm really jonesin' to pick up the Mines of Moria set soon.
There were three tables set up for games. These aren't full-sized tables. I expect these will utilized more for teaching new players how to play, or possibly some small in store gaming events. Either way, it's great to see some playing space given the relatively small size of the shop.
Merchandise surrounds you on the two side walls and the far back wall (the storefront, of course, is dominated by windows). There is a display case just inside the front door containing a variety of painted models. Some beautiful work there.
In additional to models for the three core games, there was a large selection of paints and hobby supplies. There was also a nice selection of Black Library novels (which seemed to skew more towards 40K, but I expect those novels are bigger sellers than the Fantasy ones). I even saw some books from Forge World, which should make those a bit more obtainable for local players.
I'm sure there's the question in the minds of some players and retailers of how the presence of this store will affect other local game stores. That's a valid concern and one that, as a former game retailer myself, I get. I think, however, that the location is far enough from existing shops that it shouldn't adversely affect sales in the area. The limited playing space means that players will still be hitting thier usual haunts for regular games and tournaments. Hopefully the store can be a place that helps to create new players to feed into the local gaming communities of Central Ohio.
As a newbie Games Workshop player, I'm pretty excited to see this store open. I'm looking forward to getting in there soon and speaking more with the manager, Josh, about the store and what he hopes to see in the future.
Games Workshop is located at: 8653 Sancus Blvd, Columbus, Ohio. Their phone # is: 1-800-394-4263. Like them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/GWCapellaCentre
And, tell 'em The Rural Gamer sent ya!