By business consultant Heidi Boyce.
When I first walked into Gajo Games, I had one of those moments where I thought, “Where have you been all my life?” As someone who appreciates games -- the camaraderie, the adventure, the fun escape from real life, and the creative preparation involved -- I was simply captivated by this gem.
Gajo Games is truly a one stop shop for tabletop and role playing gamers. You can:
Collect! Buy just about anything you need to create a fabulous game setting
Create! Paint and build models right there at the store
Learn! Glean advice from the professional painters that work there, check out new games, and explore history
Play! Meet your friends for game night or make new friends by joining one of the groups that meet there. Borrow their gaming terrain, grids, placemats, and custom buildings to create the perfect adventurous atmosphere on any of their fourteen 4x6 gaming tables!
I had the pleasure of finding out the owner, Craig Tyrrell, is every bit as amazing as his store. When speaking with him, his enthusiasm for his business and everything it entails bubbles up in the conversation and you can’t help but smile and laugh. It’s contagious.
Of course, I had to ask Craig what made him decide to open a miniature gaming store. The answer? It was all about finally doing something he personally loved rather than putting his effort towards someone else’s passion. When he retired from the corporate world, he was determined to focus on something he loved for the next chapter of his life.
“This is the store that I would have liked to patronize if there was such a thing, and there wasn’t, so I started one,” Craig shared. “Everything is all focused around miniature games. These are games played with small figures on a table top, so players use terrain, and build and paint figures, and recreate battles or adventures or those sorts of activities. I love the artistic aspect of assembling and painting and laying out a beautiful table.”
The store is also about family. Some of Craig’s sons work there part-time and gaming has been a way for them to continue to come together even as they’ve gotten older and started their own families.
It takes more than passion for your product for a business to thrive, and Craig knows it. He attributes his store’s success in part to the business background he cultivated in his previous career: “There’s a lot of uncertainty. Nobody knows it all, but if you don’t have a basic understanding of business or how to manage your finances, it can be a huge issue.”
When I asked Craig about one of his biggest trials as a small business owner, it was without a doubt not owning the property when he first started out. Not knowing how his business would do, Craig was smart and began by leasing his property. “I looked for something reasonable, and it was reasonable, but if something happened [the landlord] didn’t want to do anything. I remember one summer I had to close for almost a week because the air conditioning died and they wouldn’t fix it. It was just too hot and I couldn’t let customers or employees be in the building. Every time something needed to be fixed, they wanted me to extend the lease and I got tired of that.” He’s now the proud owner of an amazing space in Sandy, Utah.
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