Friday, May 13, 2011

The Road to WPN (Part 1)

So I have been encouraged to chronicle my adventures in going from being simply an MTG online storekeep to becoming an organizer for Sanctioned MTG events. It is my hope that the stories will not just entertain, but also inform. Perhaps there are others out there contemplating becoming organizers, and maybe I can help on that journey, even if only in a small way.

My path to joining the Wizards Play Network (WPN) actually started a couple of years ago when I was approached by the owners of Beyond Comics, the local comic book shop that I frequent (it will be no surprise I am a geek, right?). They were interested in starting to run MTG events at their store, and were wondering if I would be interested in helping them run the events. My incentive, of course, would be having a good potential client base in the attendees (the comic shop sells recent MTG sealed product, but not singles, so we would not be competing).

I did some preliminary research on the subject, but before we could get anything in to place, disaster (in the form of faltering economy) took hold. They were unable to keep up with the rent in their large mall store space, and had to move across the street to a smaller strip-mall location. This smaller location did not allow any extra room for tournament-style events, so the plan was scrapped.

However, this planted the seed of the idea in my head that it would be a blast to run my own Launch Parties, Prereleases and FNMs. And I never really gave up on the idea in my head. While I have enjoyed attending events hosted by a (relatively) local gaming store (Dream Wizards - a lovely group of people!), it's a bit of a hike for me to get to them on any kind of regular basis.

Fast forward to earlier this year. I decided to broach the subject with the folks at Beyond Comics again. While I knew they couldn't hold events at their store, I also knew that many people organize events off-site. They wouldn't even have to be all that involved, as much as give me use of their name as contacts for purposes of WPN. For those unaware, WPN requires a brick-and-mortar store to be at least cursorily involved in these events. Since my store is an online-only one, I couldn't do this on my own. I needed to be attached to a b&m somehow.

Unfortunately they weren't really interested. If the event weren't at their store, what really would be the incentive for them? It wouldn't lead to increased foot traffic at their store, after all.

Then, a breakthrough occurred. My wife has been following the adventures of a local bookstore owner, Patrick, who had been renting space in a coffee shop, and was going to be setting up shop in his own space. This store, Novel Places, would be located all of 10 minutes away from our house! I couldn't resist the opportunity this presented, and I shot off an email to Patrick, introducing myself and giving him my proposal of a joint venture with his store to join the WPN.



Casual said...

Looking forward to more on this. I think joining WPN is fantastic. We need more local stores that are willing to put in this work - plus it's a ton of fun.

GeekDoc said...

Can't wait for part 2!
I know a B&M that's moving to my local area; maybe I'll follow in your footsteps!

Don said...

@Casual - thanks! I am really excited about this venture, and hope it works out well.

@GeekDoc - I hope you do! Also, I hope this series offers some tips on the process.