Weekly Store Update: 13 February
The Winter Olympics are well under way (USA! USA!) and there's also this lowkey annual American football game happening too. Lots of sports, but did you ever notice how few sports themed board games there are? Curious. In any case, we're not playing when we say we've been hopping faster than downhill moguls here at the shop. Check out our new items, restocks, news, and our February board game giveaway winner!
Salutations, and welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers I'm Eric, and Wendy and I are the owner/operators of Stone Valley Games. This newsletter is our medium to discuss both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week. It also provides our customers, both local and remote, some inside information so everyone feels like part of the action! At the bottom of the newsletter we show you our restock, new items, and preorders added to the store last week. Onto the news!
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY
This month we hopped a magical train and hit the rails with Empyreal Spells & Steam. Empyreal Spells & Steam is large and in charge. The gameplay is fairly straightforward and is quite popular - even scoring well on Board Game Geek.
We drew the winner on Saturday, 12 February and it was Eric B from Mansfield, Ohio! Congratulations!!! We'll have the game heading in Eric's way on Monday. It's going to be great!
Hey, if you didn't win this time around, just know that we'll have another one in a few short weeks. We'll announce it next week, and it's looking like a team-up for March! Stay tuned right here to find out more!
We care about the environment and our impact on this spinning ball we all call home. In running a business, we believe sustainability is more than dropping some plastic in the recycling, but a way of being. We try to follow our business decisions to not just the bottom line, but how decisions effects workers, consumers, our planet, and back to our business. The circle as it were.
We are especially sensitive to the concept because of the global impact games have. All that paper, plastic, transportation, all the way down to the plastic we use in our package preparation. We generally use both a plastic bag (to prevent water damage) and bubble wrap to cocoon things, so they have a much better chance of making its trip unscathed. We have tried other solutions, but they are not far enough along to be useful yet.
The whole sustainability concept may seem overwhelming, but it's always a good time to do something about it! So, we do the best we can in our store operations to lower that carbon footprint. In our storefront we use LED, timed lighting and temperature control. We don't use paper receipts (we email or text them) and only use biodegradable cleaning solutions. We don't have any electronic products on that don't need to be. We also keep an eye out and use recycled products in running store operations.
In the recycle and reuse categories we recycle all of the cardboard shipping boxes we receive from distributors. We reuse shipping boxes for returns, but generally don't reuse shipping boxes to customers as they are often structurally damaged. We also reuse packing materials. We also use just enough packing materials to keep the items as safe as possible without overdoing it.
We are always striving to be better, leaner, and more efficient - and sustainability is a continual part of that equation. We may not be perfect, but we're making strides!
A LITTLE SQUIRRELLY
I mentioned a few weeks ago that we were working on a new Point of Sale (POS) system for the storefront. The one we have now is at the very bottom rug for ease of use, so we wanted something that was both easier to use, and more integrated with the webstore. The goal is seamless interoperability between local store and web sales.
Like many endeavors I started for the store, what I thought would be easy is turning out to be quite the chore. First of all, there is no POS solution that integrates perfectly to our webstore. So, the next concept was to find a solution that 1) fits the closest while 2) providing workarounds for the areas it doesn't fit.
I read, and studied, and sat through presentations, and asked question after question and ultimately discovered no one can really tell until we just try the solution out.
Which reminds me of another reality of running a business that uses a website... it's the 21st century and you'd think that software integration and interoperability would be a no-brainer at this point. I am shockingly reminded time after time that while "do no harm" may be an engineering concept, it is not one in software.
We narrowed down the field to two frontrunners. There are numerous others, especially if we move to web-based, but we want to host it right in our site. The two are Zettle, which is the POS for PayPal - already one of our webstore payment methods, and WooCommerce's own solution. Zettle didn't have as many bells and whistles but seemed easier to set up and workarounds seemed viable, so we went with that one first.
Bottom line, it's a little squirrelly, and we can only ask for your continued patience as things settle out. The whole first half of the week the entire webstore just cranked down to a crawl. It not only significantly impacted local store operations, but our webstore as well.
We've been living in the developer's hip pocket since Monday afternoon and by Wednesday things started smoothing out and on Friday things were closer to okay, but nowhere near where they were. The dev's continue to work on the integration and vow to get it right. We'll see, because if they can't get us there, we do have our second place POS solution to try next.
Then to add insult to injury, the hardware they initially provided with the software was inoperative. We had to send it back and order another set, so we haven't had a chance to even test out the storefront side yet.
In my Point-of-Sale research I discovered that the majority of storefronts who also support web sales do rotate through several POS systems before they find one that fits just right. Looks like we might be in wrapped up in that statistic ourselves.
21ST CENTURY DIGITAL BOY
I would consider myself fairly creative and I do get a good idea now and again. I am fairly decent with colors and can picture exactly what I'm looking for in my mind. However, when I try to transfer that to paper or digital medium it looks horrendous. Like...my drawing art peaked at about seven years of age.
So, I'm trying something new. I'm going to work with some local, budding graphic designers. I'll let them practice on the store and I'll help them with expanding and developing their skillsets and reach. It's really more of a co-op than anything else, as most of our partnerships are.
So, you may see some new designs pop up around the site and in the store too. However, we're probably not going to dip our toes in NFT's anytime soon. At least until there are more environmentally friendly solutions. But we are saying there's a chance!
THE WRAP UP
Okay, enough news for this week! Below are the Restocks, New Items, and Preorders added to the shop last week. You can click on the item to learn more, and many of the products have review and gameplay videos so you can see the game in action. If you're visiting our page and you'd like to keep up with our giveaways, sales, new products, and articles like this one just create an account here. Once created you will be subscribed to our newsletter and become enrolled in our loyalty system, instantly earning 50 Stones that you can use on your very first order. A Stone? One Stone is equivalent to One Cent. That doesn't sound like much, but you earn 2 Stones for every dollar spent and 5 for each product review, so though it may seem small, those savings add up fast! Redeem your Stones upon checkout, and they can save you up to 10% off your cart total. Loyalty Matters!
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Hi Eric and Wendy, are you going to get the solo expansion for Auztralia, and/or the bots for Railways of the World? Thanks!
Hey Dave, we will carry the expansions for Auztralia if they are ever released thru distribution. As you know, those were part of a Kickstarter so it will most likely be a long time before they are available. We have not heard about the bots for Railways of the World, but will keep an eye out for them. We’re always looking for ways to help multiplayer games play at lower (or singular) player counts. –Eric