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Behind the Counter

Another Month at Titan Games

by Marcus King
Jul 06,2005

 

Another Month at Titan Games

Origins Game Fair is always a HUGE part of the Titan Games plan. And this year was no exception. We started attending Origins back in 2001 with two booths, a truckload of products, and an excitement for the convention left over from my years as a Magic and D&D Player. It was a huge part of our retail year, and we have continued to grow our booth, and our presence, each year. In 2003 we increased to three booths, and ran the auction. In 2004, we went to 4 booths, and oversaw the auction. In 2005 we had a 6 booth peninsula, and handed the auction off to Dave and Kelly Wallace (owners of the Fantasy Shops in the Saint Louis area).

In preparation for our increased booth size, we started to shuttle cargo and supplies to Columbus, Ohio, in early June. Taking 4 trips, we filled up a 10x20 storage locker with books, boxed games, dice, cases of water, cash registers, table cloths, huge tubs of dice and much more.

So, all was in readiness for us - or so we thought.

On June 27th, at about 7PM, we headed to Origins. Myself (Marcus King), my wife Laurel, our daughters Katie and Tonya, and our son Max. Brian Collins, a 20+ year veteran of the game industry and convention vending. Allan Dawson, his third Origins with us. And Sarah, a friend of the family who we hired to go along for an extra pair of uh hands.

Arriving in Columbus early on the morning of the 28th, we checked into the Knights Inn for a week. Our rooms holding 4 people had only two towels each. We called the front desk, and after 2 hours or so, we got 4 more towels. The Knights Inn was the worst hotel stay I have ever experienced, and that is saying a LOT. At no time did they take out the trash, you were expected to take it out yourself. Our cleaning staff did manage to go through Sarah's jewelry case. And, we NEVER got enough towels, finally we just gave up and bought some towels locally. Having gone to over 200 conventions, and having been a truck driver previously, I have stayed in over 400 hotels. This was the worst.

Getting to the Columbus Convention Center before Noon on Tuesday, we were of course told to wait to unload. We expected that, so were ready for the wait - we were way early. Getting unloaded that evening, and mostly set up, we had a good dinner and a good nights sleep - one of the benefits of the Knights Inn being such an awful place to stay was - they were not busy. They NEVER ran out of rooms, and it had less than a 20% occupancy rate, so no bustle of cars going in and out, it was very peaceful.

Wednesday morning we got in early, and got right to it. We had our booth all finished, all our product shuttled in from the storage unit, all our cash registers (six of them) sat up, and our banners hung by 4PM. Good timing, as I had to attend the annual Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Full Voting Members meeting and elections that evening. So, we shuttled everyone back to the hotel and my wife and I attended the function.

I was appointed the Vice President of GAMA a few months earlier when Doug Ferguson stepped down, due to time constraints on his job. This year, the elections were far more friendly than the previous year. Rick Loomis and I ran for President of GAMA. Rick, having been the president of GAMA 5 or 8 times previously (I am not certain of the number of years Rick was President, but it was more than a couple) he beat me in the election, and I ran for VP unopposed, and won (hard not to win when you are unopposed, I suppose). Anthony Listrom won the Treasurers seat, and and Brian Dalrymple was re-elected as Secretary. There were two seats, and three candidates for "Director At Large" positions. Ross Winn and Phil Lacefield were the only announced candidates - but Aaron Witten announced his candidacy at the meeting. Aaron and Phil won.

I feel both honored to have won the VP slot, and fortunate to have a President as qualified as Rick Loomis to serve with.

After the election, the board did some board stuff, and then we were off to the hotel.

Thursday through Sunday was a blur. Over 3,000 sales in our booth, handing out over 5000 business cards, and 10,000 flyers. We had to restock from our truck and back stock every day. The pace is exhausting, but the sales are tremendous. This was, by far, the best booth we ever laid out for a convention, and I was TREMENDOUSLY satisfied with ORIGINS.

Any (EVERY) publisher is well advised to attend this show. Run events, have a booth, sell your products, and meet the fans (and make NEW FANS!!!). Max, who is 10, had a ball playing in the boffer weapons competition (big padded foam swords, shields and such) and we ended up getting 4 of them at the show - which I am sure his older sisters will enjoy for the coming year (bopp!).

Phil Lacefield runs an operation which forwards stock from Origins to GenCon - and so we have 4 pallets forwarded for us - which is a GREAT DEAL for us!! (Less to carry).

Business was brisk all 4 days of the show. We saw a lot of familiar faces, and many new ones. Saw some old friends (dealers and gamers alike) and met some new dealers. The Origins convention is my favorite of the year, cause it is our most profitable show. The booth costs are lower than the other major conventions we attend (GenCon and DragonCon) and the sales are, for us, usually HIGHER at Origins. (Every year we have attended both Origins and GenCon, Origins has had higher sales).

Well, we are backed up here. We have to pack and ship over 700 orders this wee, which is why I am writing this at 3AM on Tuesday the 5th of July. Gotta get back to it.

Here is looking forward to seeing some of you readers at GenCon, Dragon Con, and of course Origins 2006.

Game well,

Marcus King
TitanGames - Owner
GAMA VP

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What do you think?

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All Counter Talk columns by Marcus King

  • On Discounting by Marcus King, 15dec05
  • Think Different by Marcus King, 11oct05
  • GENCON, August, and TitanGames by Marcus King, 29aug05
  • Another Month at Titan Games by Marcus King, 06jul05
  • The Past Week at TitanGames by Marcus King, 10may05
  • The GAMA Trade Show by Marcus King, 13apr05
  • Con Jobs by Marcus King, 08mar05
  • Don't Skip The Retailer by Marcus King, 11feb05
  • How To Open Your Own Game Store by Marcus King, 14jan05
  • The Christmas Crunch by Marcus King, 22dec04
  • Light at the End of the Convention Tunnel by Marcus King, 15nov04
  • What It Takes To Open a Game Store by Marcus King, 15oct04
  • The Big 3 by Marcus King, 13sep04
  • Discoveries by Marcus King, 11aug04
  • Con-Man by Marcus King, 19jul04
  • Turmoil by Marcus King, 16jun04
  • Business is Business by Marcus King, 12may04
  • GAMA On! by Marcus King, 09mar04
  • On A Serious Note by Marcus King, 10feb04
  • Predictions for 2004 by Marcus King, 20jan04
  • Game Retailer or Game Club? by Marcus King, 11dec03
  • The Weather Changes... by Marcus King, 11nov03
  • The Deluge of Dead Products by Marcus King, 14oct03
  • The Conventional by Marcus King, 11sep03
  • Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings by Marcus King, 11aug03
  • Two weeks in the life of a retailer by Marcus King, 16jul03
  • In Store Gaming, and our love-hate relationship with it by Marcus King, 12jun03
  • Raising a Good Retailer by Marcus King, 28apr03
  • The customer is always right (right?) by Marcus King, 02apr03
  • Introductions by Marcus King, 24mar03
  • Jumping the Grand Canyon with Pikachu and Friends December 20, 1999
  • GTS'99 April 20, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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