About three years ago, Danny Perez got an idea.
He was the manager of Radio Shack in Durango, and the company had recently filed for bankruptcy. Danny’s wife had mentioned that Durango needed a game store, so he started looking into it. He soon realized that this could be a viable new career path.
Danny’s first stop was the SBDC. They guided him through the business plan and loan application process, and in May of 2017, Guild House Games was born.
Guild House Games currently resides inside the historic Main Mall, and the business specializes in board games, collectible card games, collectible minis, miniatures, paints, puzzles, puzzle games, Ugears, and Legos. They really do have a game for everyone!
The game shop has a very diverse client base. They pride themselves in carrying products for everyone, from heavy gamers to those just looking for something to do on family night. They also have games for every genre including classic, mystery, adventure, RPG, miniature, and strategy games.
Before launching Guild House Games, Danny spent countless hours researching other game stores. “When I looked into why these types of stores fail, I found that many of them lacked diversity in their product mix and become stale. That meant that when the main product experienced a down period, they couldn’t recover.”
To counter this trend, Danny committed to creating an ever-evolving business model. Last year, they focused heavily on building their selection of children’s games. Now they have a good selection of games for kids ages three and up. This year, they added to their Ugears collection, bringing in more than 80% of that product line. They also added Lego to their product list.
The store is still in its infancy and has navigated an array of challenging situations over the past few years, from its first autumn to drought to fire to the pandemic. Through it all, Danny has worked hard to build a resilient business. He says, “We continue to look at the big and small stores to see what they are doing and get ideas on what we can do better.”
The store is currently experiencing a great highlight. They expanded their retail store into what was their large game room. This has provided positive responses and reactions from their customers! They have even started looking for larger locations to accommodate their new vision. In addition, they are currently working on a web store, so they can put their entire inventory at their customer’s fingertips for curbside and delivery.
Danny is quick to note that his new team members are another highlight. Kate has been with the company for more than a year and is thriving in the environment they have created together. Aidan has been with the company for almost a year, and his knowledge has been a big part of taking the business to new heights. Danny encourages other business owners, “Don’t be afraid to train your people to be you.”
One of the biggest challenges presented by the pandemic has been the cancellation of nightly events. Although the nightly events resumed in June, they were again canceled in November. Please follow Guild House Games on Facebook to get the most recent updates.
Through it all, Danny and the Guild House Games team are grateful for the steady support from SBDC. “Our local SBDC is always available when we have a question and need something explained to us. A great example is that I was able to stop by and ask Mary about the current loans, so I could determine if we needed to apply.”
Danny enjoys retail and gives this bit of advice: “Retail is a difficult business to be in. Margins are always shrinking, making it difficult to stay profitable. Have a plan and don’t be afraid to stick to it. Look ahead and be proactive when dealing with upcoming challenges. Do not be afraid of change, it is a constant in retail and the gaming industry. You have to be able to move with change and adapt.”