24 episodes

Showcasing local game stores and their owners throughout the United States.

The Match Slip Frank Angelone

    • Leisure
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

Showcasing local game stores and their owners throughout the United States.

    Dice City Games With Store Owner, Jimmy Cooney

    Dice City Games With Store Owner, Jimmy Cooney

    In episode 23, we're talking with Jimmy Cooney, owner of Dice City Games. Originally from Montgomery County, Maryland, now living in Fairfax, Virginia - Jimmy first got involved in gaming at seven years old. It was at that young age he bought his first Warhammer miniature.



    Although he quit gaming in his teenage years, he would find himself working in restaurants, grocery stores, retail, and filmmaking. However, that gaming spark would be reignited after a meetup with some friends to play board games and Magic: The Gathering.



    In 2015, Jimmy would write a business plan for Dice City Games. The store name would become a moniker representing the Washington D.C. area even though the store's location is in Silver Springs, Maryland - a D.C. suburb. Before the store's official location was launched, he spent 2015-2016 with pop-up stores.



    Jimmy estimates that the store is 1/5 Washington D.C. players and 4/5 Marylanders. However, the store has attracted visitors from Sweden, Lithuania, Peru, and Japan. With a global appeal and a passion for branding, Jimmy sponsors competitive players in the Magic: The Gathering scene. Additionally, his store attends conventions such as SCG Con where he features a "Show & Tell" concept - like bringing large Magic: The Gathering cards - to make an impression on the players in attendance.



    To facilitate his operation, Jimmy has an Inventory Manager, a Buyer, and a Magic: The Gathering Sales & Inventory representative. He also has 12 part-timers who assist with conventions and events, however, no more than 10 employees are working at the store.



    Jimmy aspires to expand the brand of Dice City Games in the future while doing large off-site events emulated after the "North American Old School Cup" which runs every Thursday night leading into Eternal Weekend.


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    • 1 hr 15 min
    Gamers Geekery & Tavern With Store Owner, Lance Shrader

    Gamers Geekery & Tavern With Store Owner, Lance Shrader

    In episode 22 of the podcast, we're talking with Lance Shrader, owner of Gamers Geekery & Tavern in Cary, North Carolina.



    Growing up in the mountains in Virginia, Lance didn't have a game store to go to. However, being a board game fan, Lance found himself wanting to build a game store. In Cary, a game store featuring what Gamers Geekery & Tavern didn't exist and Lance wanted to change that.



    In 2014, his friend's wife was looking for something to do, so they partnered up and opened a retail space. However, Lance knew he wanted a bar, but couldn't do so within the confines of his first lease. Fast forward to today, the store in Cary features a 12-tap line bar as well as serves food. His business partner handles the game store end while he focuses on the restaurant.



    Lance currently has 14-15 employees servicing both the game store and restaurant. Since the 2021 COVID pandemic, staffing has been the most difficult challenge. However, Lance notes after 2-3 years later things are feeling better on that front.



    Customers on the other hand are not a struggle for the store. Additionally, there are times when Lance will have to, unfortunately, turn people away due to being at capacity. This while both good and bad can occur on Tuesdays and Saturday nights. It's one of the reasons why Lance is having an extension built across the street from his store.



    The majority of the business sales is about 53% food and drink and 47% retail. One of the luxuries afforded to Lance is that he hosts team-building corporate events about once a week which has been a boon for the business.



    With about 620 board games available to choose from and a unique appearance that doesn't just appeal to gamers, Lance has built an establishment that has people coming back along with repeat business from corporate events. His goal is to create a comfortable and hospital place for anyone walking through his doors.


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    • 59 min
    Dragon's Lair With Founder & Franchisor, David Wheeler

    Dragon's Lair With Founder & Franchisor, David Wheeler

    In episode 21 of the podcast, we're talking with David Wheeler, the founder and franchisor of Dragon's Lair.



    Dragon's Lair in Austin, Texas is the original store location dating back to 1986. It is 10,700 sq. ft. After selling ownership of this location in 2015, David decided he wanted to help people open stores and utilize his contacts in the industry to help others succeed.



    With a wide variety of interests and not wanting to remain a game store owner forever - having done so for more than 20 years - David intentionally wanted to change professions. In taking steps to become a franchisor, he didn't think he could simultaneously be a game store owner. However, he wanted to help prospective game store owners find locations, negotiate with landlords for leasing agreements, build out store design/layouts, and build a culture.



    As of the release of this episode, Dragon's Lair has locations in Columbus, Ohio, Houston, Texas, two locations in San Antonio, Texas, along with the original Austin, Texas store. Additionally, David is working on opening a store in San Marcos, Texas. As long as the prospective franchisee is qualified, David is willing to open two new stores a year at most.



    Each store averages about 10 employees except for the Austin store which has 18. A unique touch of each store is what David calls a "Lair Beast".


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    • 50 min
    Decks & Dice With Store Owner, Jared McKenzie

    Decks & Dice With Store Owner, Jared McKenzie

    In episode 20, we're interviewing store owner, Jared McKenzie, of Decks & Dice located in Seneca, South Carolina, outside of Clemson.



    After selling the land he owned, Jared opened his store and immediately implemented a family-like environment. Operations are conducted less rigidly at Decks & Dice. Customers can haggle and even go behind the checkout counter to browse the binders of trading card games.



    Jared always wanted to open a shop. Growing up, going to his local game store and playing games was a way to escape the negativity at home. He saw the game store as an escape and wanted his store to be the same escape for someone going through similar circumstances.



    When Jared first opened the store, he was working 80-85 hours a week. This consisted of a full-time job and Decks & Dice. Before the help of his cousin and two customers volunteering their time, Jared handled all aspects of the store. Now he only works a part-time job in addition to running the store cutting down those hours significantly. From a business standpoint, he likes to try and price match for his customers where possible as long as he's not losing money on the sale.



    Jared enjoys creating fun videos for the store's YouTube channel with topics like "Ramblings of an LGS Owner" and "Cards After Dark". He also allows customers to create videos for the channel if they wish. In addition to the videos, Jared used Facebook Ads and word-of-mouth to get the name out of the store. One of the most successful ventures he's participated in is the "Welcome Back Students" event at Clemson University. This has brought a lot of foot traffic to his store.



    Additionally, Jared would like to bring Commander League Fridays to Clemson. He aspires to one day be able to bring a satellite shop to Clemson as well.




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    • 56 min
    Atomic Empire With Store Owner, Jennifer Bedell

    Atomic Empire With Store Owner, Jennifer Bedell

    Episode 19 of The Match Slip podcast features store owner, Jennifer Bedell, of Atomic Empire in Durham, North Carolina.



    Before the existence of a retail store, Jennifer and her boyfriend, Mark, at the time would sell duplicate comics he owned on eBay. Eventually, they switched to selling on their e-commerce site. Both have a background in full-stack web development leading to the creation of their in-house point-of-sale system.



    Currently, Atomic Empire is at its second location where the store's rebranded name was born. Jennifer has been running the store out of its current location where her current role involves collaborating with employees to solve problems. With 30 employees and multiple departments, the store encompasses a total of 12,000 sq. ft. with 2,500 sq. ft. dedicated to gaming space and 2,500-4000 sq. ft dedicated to the warehouse.



    With a focus on improving communication through transparency, Jennifer feels this is the best way to explain the realities of the economics as it pertains to a game store with her customers. With a predominantly casual player base, Games Workshop and Geek Garage Sale are the two most popular events the store runs.



    With draft beer on tap for its players, Jennifer hopes to eventually become a WPN Premium Store.


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    • 55 min
    Games And Stuff With Store Owner, Paul Butler

    Games And Stuff With Store Owner, Paul Butler

    In episode 18 of The Match Slip podcast, store owner, Paul Butler, of Games And Stuff joins us fresh off his move to his new location in Glen Burnie, Maryland.



    Glen Burnie is the store's third location in its lifetime with the latest sporting a 14,000 sq. ft. sales floor. Now having the space available for more products, Paul, with a background in retail and a passion for merchandising, can experiment with additional product lines.



    While the store is three and a half sizes larger than the previous location, it's worth noting that Paul was not the original owner of the store. In the early, he was brought on by the previous owner as a part-time board game specialist. While Paul has always thoroughly enjoyed board games since he was a kid, working part-time in the store he saw major growth opportunities. The owner negotiated a salary that allowed Paul to quit his other job and work for Games And Stuff full-time.



    In 2010, he became the store manager, made several changes, and tripled sales. Additionally, Paul took a "big swing" as he put it with the game Ascension in its infancy. With 18 copies in tow, he was already restocking in week two after selling out the first batch. As the store was growing, the original store owner did not intend to run an operation of this magnitude which would lead to Paul buying the store and becoming the new owner.



    These days, Paul focuses on product buying and vision for the business. His girlfriend assists in the marketing endeavors for the e-commerce site and branding. Overall, he has 26-27 employees which include a Store Manager, Assistant Managers, and Director of Operations. One of the goals Paul has for the store is growing the customer base nationwide. He wants to build on his reputation of being the store that has hard-to-find products.



    With foot traffic for the first time in the game store's history, Paul is looking to bring in more kids' games and books. He now has two private game rooms that customers can reserve for a full or half-day, and a warehouse and loading dock for handling new product arrivals.



    While dealing with the supply and flow of products is one of the challenges of the new store, Paul does not lack innovative ideas. He has purchased a full-size bust of Sauron from Lord of the Rings that stands at 9.5 ft. tall to add to the center of the store as well as door knockers from Jim Henson's Labyrinth. His vision is to create a place that exudes the "wow" factor.








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    • 1 hr 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Sedron_Original_Flavor ,

It's a good podcast!

I think it's really easy to take local game stores for granted, but there's often a lot going on behind the scenes to make them run. Frank does a great job facilitating discussion with his guests, and I'm honestly impressed at the wide range of store owners he's gotten on the show. If you're curious what it's like to run a games shop, whether because the thought of opening your own crossed your mind or because you just want to know what it's like, this is the podcast for you. It's entertaining and informative, and I'm excited to see how far it goes!

Joeylikestocube ,

A new type of mtg podcast

There are a lot of mtg podcasts out there but not many that look directly at the stores that fuel our in gaming experiences. This podcast takes an in depth look at the stores that provide us the cards we play with. As someone who’s been in the industry for decades it’s amazing to hear the origins of other stores and see how they do things. Great interviews and alot of great information to be had here. I look forward to seeing where this cast goes as it’s already off to a great start.

chrisgo316 ,

Great Podcast

This is one of the few Podcast that I listen to. Frank is great at getting his guests to speak and he's hilarious as well. This is a great podcast to listen to if you want to find out all the ins and outs of a comic book store or a game store. He has a terrific attitude and his positvity is contagious!

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