January is quickly coming to a close, and things are off to a wonderful start this year. We're especially happy considering all the difficulties going on in the world that impact the hobby we love. Another busy week behind us, with an impressive influx of new games and restocks and you have to check out the launch of our February board game giveaway too!
Hello there, and welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers, I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. We use this newsletter to discuss both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week. At the bottom of the newsletter we show you our restock, new items, and preorders added to the store last week. This newsletter is our way to give our customers, either local or remote, some inside information so everyone feels like part of it all! Anyway, enough of an intro, let's get to the news!
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY
Top News this week is we've just kicked off our February game giveaway! CLICK HERE to go to the sign in page and find out more about it.
It's just cold out there. So, very, very cold. Wouldn't it be wonderful to just hop a train and get the heck out of here to somewhere warm? Why not do it with our February giveaway of Empyreal Spells & Steam?!
Empyreal Spells & Steam has solid gameplay, production values are top notch, and you won’t need to purchase any organizers with how well the box is assembled. Unconventional as far as train games go, it’s an awesome ride!
We're drawing the winner on 12 February, so don't wait to enter - hop aboard now!
DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS
No matter how many awesome repeat customers we work with, we are making that first impression with new customers every day. From our shipping timeline, daily package deliveries, package preparation / protection, and personal touch...we feel we have an iron tight process that puts the customer front and center. Then...our shipping partner hits trouble, and things quickly fall apart.
While we service our wonderful local community, we also do quite a bit of business with remote customers. For that, we rely heavily on the post office and UPS. When they are running smoothly everything is fantastic. However, running smoothly isn't always the case. Trust me, I often wish we could be a giant shipping conglomerate that also happened to run a small gaming store...it would definitely make things a heck of a lot easier! Unfortunately, that's just not reality.
It had been a wonderful run though. Packages were moving smoothly for over eighteen months without a hitch, right through the busiest time of the holiday season, and our shippers didn't skip a beat. Did you notice how smooth things moved last year? There were onesies and twosies out there, but overall, it was amazing.
Then, as it was bound to happen, the post office was hit with the perfect storm of a COVID outbreak combined with employee rollover putting brand new employees front and center. For just short of two weeks, they simply could not keep up with the flow of mail, and it began to pile up. And continued to pile up.
A week passed and then the emails and phone calls started. Did we take the package to the post office? Have we shipped the game yet? Why hasn't anything moved in ten days? Threats of filing claims with the credit card services and everything. All we could do was assure them we had delivered the packages to the post office and were checking with our Post Office Customer Support Team who were investigating...though we already knew what the problem was.
That's because we chat up the postal workers on our daily deliveries. Everyone there knows us, and even on the busiest days there's always a minute or two for niceties. So, we were keeping a pulse on what was going on and noticed when they transitioned from overwhelmed to being able to keep up with the daily workload and then when they started to work through the backlog. We noticed numbers starting to pick up status. Then, finally, they assured us they had moved the entire backlog that reached all the way back to January 12th. So, we're hoping to see all of those tracking numbers move again and things get back to some kind of normalcy.
I'm glad that bad lump is over, but I'm sure it'll take a bit for things to get back to how they were. I still haven't seen our "regulars" manning the front yet. I'm not too worried though, it's right in front of us, and for that we're grateful!
PREPARING TO PREPARE
It was such a hectic week with all of the shipping issues and significantly more games coming in than normal (we're still receiving backstock from the slow-down over the holidays and the fruits of all that labor are in the product listings below) that we didn't get much else 'extra' done. No website improvements even. However, we are on the precipice of several things. We're looking at a better way to bundle products, as we mentioned last week. We've been researching a better Point of Sale system for the physical storefront as well, but every one of them has some kind of integration issue. There just has to be something that works with all of our nuances, like our loyalty system, but we haven't found it yet. Then, the grandpappy of them all, we need to get our shop plans for our store update to the county so they can get in the que for approval. Our goal is to check one or more of those off our list heading into next week. Busy, busy!
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!