Game Store Spotlight: Interview With Swords & Boards
Swords & Boards is a game store in Radcliff, Kentucky owned by brothers Jacob and Josh Beal. While local values help the store to excel within the community Swords & Boards also sells to the world via their website. Their customer service is top-notch whether you are shopping in person, taking part in weekly game tournaments, or shopping their expansive online catalog. Swords & Boards has a way of making anyone feel welcome in their store and their excellent customer service model carries over to their online shopping experience as well. GeekPost got to ask one of owners Jacob some questions to get to know them better.
GeekPost: So tell us a little about how Swords & Boards started.
S&B: With little more than a dream, two brothers began looking in Radcliff, where both of us grew up, to start our business. Working in completely different fields, we always loved games more than anything else and after a year and a half of searching we finally found the right spot for our store. That is where Swords & Boards was born.
GeekPost: What kinds of products can you find at Swords & Boards? What about online?
S&B: Swords & Boards carries virtually all things tabletop, board games, collectible card games, role-playing games, miniature war games, and accessories. We also sell almost all these items online at sbgame.net And we have quite the collection of Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon singles.
GeekPost: What is the most popular product line at Swords & Boards?
S&B: That would be collectible card games, mostly Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon as well as all things Dungeons & Dragons.
GeekPost: Somewhere out there is another person dreaming of opening a game store in their town. What is one lesson you learned that you would like to impart to them?
S&B: No risk, no reward. This is a tough business, but with the right moves and determination, you can do it. Also, keep your store clean and welcoming at all times.
GeekPost: Swords & Boards has always had such a friendly vibe to it. We have definitely been to many game stores, across the country, where we had the opposite experience. Is friendliness a value that is important to Swords & Boards?
S&B: Friendliness is essential to our model, but even more importantly, a sense of family and belonging. Both of us as owners come from a strong retail background and we learned the power of building relationships with our patrons. Treat other people as you would want to be treated coming into a gaming store. Find out their interest, and then pique those interests.
GeekPost: In what ways do you try to reflect high quality customer service and friendliness to your online store?
S&B: With open communication and quick shipping. We answer questions fast and are always willing to help. Customers appreciate being valued, and they know we take care of them. They reciprocate by coming back for all their gaming needs.
GeekPost: Swords & Boards seems to strive to be an inclusive company. What does providing an inclusive atmosphere mean to you?
S&B: Individuals nowadays are feeling more ostracized than ever. We believe in never excluding members and we invite all into the S&B family. Our diversity is one of the keys to our growth, because players of all kinds feel welcome. They treat S&B as a respite from their normal life, a place to get away, which is how we like it.
GeekPost: Do you feel the game industry does well in supporting local game stores? What do they get right? What could they do better?
S&B: For the most part, yes. Distributors typically communicate about upcoming products, but that does not mean it is easy. Promotional materials make it easier to get players in the door, but it is your job from there to keep them engaged and coming back. More promotional materials are always better. Give customers a little and you get a lot in return.
GeekPost: You guys host a lot of tournaments for many different games. What is the best way to keep up with events happening in your store?
S&B: Best way to keep up is by following us on Facebook and checking out our events on the website event/blog section.
GeekPost: What has been the most surprising thing about owning a game store?
S&B: The sense of community that is formed inside our walls and online. It never ceases to amaze me how people can come together over something as fun and simple as gaming.
GeekPost: If someone wants to get involved in a new game, what advice do you have for new gamers?
S&B: Take it slow. Read the rule book a couple times. Watch a video on gameplay if you are more of a visual learner.
GeekPost: Are there any upcoming games that you are excited about?
S&B: Ascension Tactics and Ultimate Werewolf Extreme. We back both games as a retailer Kickstarter.
Thank you Swords & Boards for letting us shine the spotlight on your store. It has been a real treat getting to know a game store that cares as much about customer service and community as you do.
You can check out their online store by Clicking Here.