Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Battle Bunker closing

 It has recently been announced that a local independent retailer in Melbourne, Battle Bunker, is to close its doors. The announcement can be seen here.

It's always sad to see games stores close down, particularly when they seem to be going along well. Battle Bunker has established its own club, which took second place in the 40K event at the Victorian Club Championships earlier in the year. It's possible the club will outlive the store, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

It seems that running an independent games store is a thankless task, as evidenced by the high attrition rate that we see. I realise a lot of businesses don't last long (this is not a phenomenon restricted to hobby stores), but it really does seem that running a games store at a profit is an uphill battle. This is probably especially the case nowadays, with the rise and rise of the internet as the cheapest source of so many things.

Viv mentions that running the store has killed his passion for the hobby, which is perhaps the saddest part of all. Most people who start a games store are likely to do so because they have always dreamed of turning their hobby into a full-time job. The thought that realising a dream can actually suck that enthusiasm from you is a bit scary. Hopefully closing down the store will give Viv a chance to rekindle his passion for the hobby.

I feel a twinge of guilt whenever a local retailer disappears, knowing that I am one of the many who take most of their business online nowadays. Unfortunately my main consideration is always going to be price, especially when the difference is significant (thanks largely to the exchange rate at the moment). I have spent far too much on my hobby already to be knowingly handing over extra cash on a regular basis.

I don't imagine it's possible for a store to remain open if its sole source of income is from club meets and hosting events (and in the case of some like Battle Bunker, producing and selling high quality custom terrain), so it's hard to imagine a different fate for anyone game enough to try to turn their hobby passion into a viable business in the current environment of a strong Australian dollar.

Thanks for trying, Viv. Sorry it didn't work out.

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