Well, there goes another wonderful week at the shop, and I'm glad to report things are starting off well this year! Have you heard about our current board game giveaway? Plus, we've added fun new games and loaded up some highly anticipated restocks. We have a few tidbits to share too, so check it out!
Hello there, and welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers, I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. Here we discuss both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week, and 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 news so everyone feels like part of it all! Anyway, enough of an intro, let's get to the news!
BOARD GAME GIVEAWAY
Merchants of the Dark Road was a highlight at PAX 2021, and solo friendly with a 1 - 4 player count. In the game, now that the world is in its dark season, you are one of the few merchants that travel the dangerous paths between cities. While the job is perilous, fame and fortune await! The included Patron's Provisions adds Kickstarter promos, providing deluxe steed tiles and the Watchers' Words mini expansion.
What a wonderful way to start the year! We're getting close to the deadline, and the winner will be drawn on 15 January. Also, if you could share the giveaway info with your social media and group sites, we'd be very appreciative!
You may have heard that some sharks never stop swimming, or they die. That's a really important correlation for almost anything in life you want to do well. Keep on moving forward, growing, learning. I consider how we run our store to be right in line with that concept. So, while we've grown quite a bit since we first opened, we are not finished swimming, not by a long shot.
Figuring out 'how' to grow is the interesting part, and to help with that we generally have several ideas in different swim lanes. We work on these ideas and mature them until either they materialize into something worth sharing, or if not, we just let them slide away into the deep end of the pool.
With the help of customer queries, questions, and suggestions, I think we're ready to share our next concept; namely, non-items. No, not like the Show About Nothing pitch from Seinfeld, but the items we currently do not have on the shelves or in preorder. We're talking crowd funded games, like Kickstarters, that we're going to carry at some point in the future (if they fulfill), and on the flip side, a place for customers to ask about games they are interested in besides the generic 'contact us' way. Something more...game focused.
I've been working with the developer of our Wishlist software to see if they had something we can use, and I think we're close to a solution. Here's how we envision it:
We will have a page in our webstore (or pages depending on growth) that will display and highlight 'possible' games. Users can then see all the things coming up. Additionally, users will be able to ask about certain games or they can point us to interesting Kickstarters which we may then add to the list. You know, something more interactive than the 'contact us' button anyway.
Nothing ever works out exactly as we envision it mind you, but that's the general idea. I'll provide updates here in the newsletter until we've either nailed down the solution...or we let it slide away. Until then, we'll just keep on swimming!
ROCKET CITY BOARD GAMES
You may not know it, but Huntsville is also known as the Rocket City. You know...because we have significant ties to NASA and... uh... this
And in case you're wondering, yes...it's very neat driving past a huge rocket while running errands around town. In any case, there's a local Discord channel set up specifically for board gamers in the Huntsville area labeled Rocket City Board Games and we were invited to join, so we did.
While we are always scrambling for time, we may not be the most attentive of participants. However, we can highlight our monthly board game giveaway and we can point customers asking about local groups to the channel as well. Just being able to help build our local community of like-minded board gamers is awesome, and we're glad to be on board! Just look for Stone Valley!
2021 BUSINESS SNAPSHOT
Time for one of our fan favorites. What we like to do in the first few weeks in January is provide a quick business snapshot of last year to see how we're doing from year to year. At the bottom of the chart, we compare our best sellers in categories and products from 2020 to 2021. There were a few moving pieces...and super surprisingly the most sold game in 2021 was MicroMacro: Crime City. Who would have thought?!
In the top portion we categorize our business operations in several high-level categories, which are Growing, Selling & Shipping, Giving Back, and Feeling the Love. The number in parenthesis next to each sub-category is the percentage difference between 2020 and 2021.
As you can see, we did not add as many new publishers or distributors as we did last year, mainly because we've added just about as many as we're going to. However, every other category has increased - some significantly. That's the trajectory I like to see us moving in!
It's our amazing customers who helped make 2021 our most successful year yet! Now, let's roll, flip, and slide our way into an even more amazing 2022!
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!