Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne lists five things for which he’s thankful as a retailer.

Since this is the time of year we set aside to give thanks, I thought I would mention five things for which I am thankful:

Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon.   For most stores in the hobby game industry, collectable card games are their lifeblood with a number of card shops deriving 70-90% of their revenues from the sale of CCG products, while most of the others see sales percentages between 15-40% coming from the category.  Without the sales coming from those product lines, we would see a far different, and I dare to say smaller, industry.  The money that comes into the industry from trading card games allows stores to expand or experiment with other product lines they could not otherwise afford to try.

GAMA Retailer Division and GAMA.  Each year the GAMA Retailer Division and the Game Manufacturers Association put together the GAMA Trade Show, the one trade show that is a must for stores just starting out, and that still proves informative and useful for ones that have been in the business for years.  I know of several stores in operation for over a decade that still trek to the GAMA Trade Show on an annual basis, coming back with new ideas to improve their own operations each time.  GAMA and the GRD manage to assemble a top flight show year after year, for which I am grateful.

Alliance, Southern Hobby, ACD, Mad Al’s, GTS, Peachstate, Magazine Exchange, Golden Distribution and any other distributor I might have missed.  Although stores complain about distributors a lot, our jobs would be a lot harder without them.  I will happily sacrifice a few points in margin for the convenience of not having to call or contact each manufacturer individually.  Instead, with one call or email, I can order products from Fireside Games, USAopoly, Steve Jackson Games, Wizards of the Coast, Konami, etc. (Yes, I know there are industry exclusives but I am talking about things for which I am grateful, not things that I can complain about.)

Other Stores.  Most of the best ideas I have incorporated in my own operation, aside from those that I picked up at the GAMA Trade Show, I stole, err borrowed, from other retailers such as Gary Ray, Pat Fuge, Robert Placer, Dave and Kelli Wallace and Marcus King.  I always figure if you are going to copy, you should copy from people at the top of the game, so to speak.  I have learned quite a bit from them and their store operations over the years and am quite thankful for them and the number of other stores I have visited over the years, all of which gave me something to think about.

ICv2.  Not only for publishing this column for about seven years now, but for also providing a one-stop source for information on both comic and game news.  Instead of having to browse a number of different websites (since we have no independent physical magazines, save for Internal Correspondence, in the industry anymore) to find information.  Much like the distributors noted above, ICv2 pulls a lot of information together onto one location.  Milton Griepp and the ICV2 staff don’t get much appreciation for their work putting the site’s materials together so "Thank You."

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of