The Sentry Box
In today’s FLGs feature we travel up to Calgary, Canada to visit The Sentry Box!
What was the catalyst for opening a games store?
Since it was almost 39 years ago for the store, it is a little hard to remember. I know that the desire to get cheap games for myself was part of goal for the wholesale business and the store just became another way to connect with customers. I am also a numbers guy with a bent for business so I knew it would work. Back then, it was really just wargames, some miniatures, and early RPGs that were available to sell. There were no family games at all so 450 sq.ft. seemed like it would do. Even then, the cost was about $20,000 to set up with most of the incoming cash going right back into new inventory.
How do you promote inclusivity at your store?
Perhaps it is a Canadian thing or the way I was raised but just being polite and friendly to customers was the only thing I really did for the first three locations. When we moved and bought our current building 24 years ago and rebuilt it from scratch, I wanted to add a mezzanine for gamers to hang out and play. I felt it was important that it would be open to the store but on a different level for security reasons. It was 3000 sq.ft. so was something new for the industry at the time. About 1000 sq.ft. was set up a back area with it’s own washroom and exit so clubs and gamers could play after hours.
A no politics or religion rule also helped keep people focussed on enjoying themselves rather than arguing about personal beliefs that had nothing to do with gaming. When hiring, the fact that you were competent and enjoyed the hobby were far more important than anything.
We have had a ladies Magic night and have started a women’s boardgame night but these have been done more just to see if they are something people want as an option. It was about giving them an option. We actually have more women showing up at our regular boardgame nights.