[This is part 2 in a series, and assumes that you've already read Part 1]
So, I wrote to Pat, owner of Novel Places:
My name is Don Wiggins. My wife has been following you on Twitter for a while, and has also recently signed up for your newsletter. When I was talking with her about how I would love to be able to do more with my own store, she mentioned you as being a local small business owner that may be interested.
I run a relatively small online business dealing in selling cards for the collectible card game called Magic: The Gathering (I don't know if you are at all familiar with it). Mostly what I sell is individual cards ("singles") from my website - I run the business out of our basement (we live in Germantown).
What I would love to do is start running a weekly Friday Night Magic series. This is an event that is officially sanctioned by the folks who created the game, and is a great way for folks who play to get together on a regular basis, have fun playing, and possible win prizes as well. Right now there are not many places in Montgomery County where FNMs are held. The closest I'm aware of is Dream Wizards, in Rockville - a good half-hour's drive from us if traffic isn't bad. I'd love to have another option for those of us in the northern end of the county (or even southern Frederick County).
The problem I face is, since I do not have a "brick and mortar" store, there's no way for me to get official sanctioning from the folks who do such thing. Without that, there's no access to the infrastructure that is set up to support these events.
So, my question to you is this: would you, possibly, have any interest in collaborating with me on this? I would be willing to do the leg-work involved in registering with the DCI, organizing and advertising the events, etc. What would be required on your end would be use of your store's name, and space for the group to gather on a Friday night (I imagine, at least at first, we'd be lucky to get 12-18 attendees - a well attended FNM at Dream Wizards is ~32, I believe).
"What's in it for me" would be, I imagine, a likely question at this point! :-) At the very least, there'd be increased traffic to your store (at least on Friday nights!). If you'd rather be more materially involved, you can purchase (& sell for profit) the booster packs of product that are used in certain types of FNM events (there are different types one can run - I can give you the gory details if you like!).
There are likely LOTS of questions that would need to be answered, so I certainly wouldn't expect a definitive answer from you at this point. Mostly what I'm wondering is whether or not this is something you would have even a slight interest in pursuing.
Thanks in advance for your reply. If you'd rather discuss the idea telephonically, feel free to call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX
[You will forgive me, I hope, for blotting out my phone number there!]
After several days, I had still not heard from Pat. I wasn't too terribly shocked by this, because I knew that he was busy getting the new store renovations done, and moving boxes of books and the hardware that comes with a bookstore (shelving & displays and the like). So, on a day that my MIL was watching my sons so I had a "day off", I decided to go up and see him in person at the store location.
I want to say that, in retrospect, I think this was a bad idea. Showing up cold in person, especially when you're expecting the person to be busy, is rather rude. I didn't think it through completely - but I was rescued from my own short-sightedness. Pat was not in that day! One of the folks working on the renovations was present, and the store building was open, so I took a peek in (I had been in several years earlier when the building had housed an Organic Grocery Store).
I decided the next day that it would be safer to give Pat a call on the phone number provided on his website. I got to speak with him in person briefly (as I said, he was busy!), but long enough to find out that he was, in fact, interested in a possible collaboration. I had positive contact!
So the next step was for me to throw myself full into research in what exactly is involved in signing up with the WPN. It was here that my dream of running FNMs (as described in my email to Pat) hit a little snag...
[TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3]