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The Grind - April 9th, 2024 Newsletter

Oh! Hello again!! We're still here. Life has been a bit chaotic. This update is quite a bit overdo so it's going to be a little long, but I'm going to try to be as succinct as possible.


 



I don't have the May Calender created or all the marketing stuff finished yet but here are some dates you'll want to remember:


  • 1st & 3rd Saturdays starting May 4th: Teen's D&D 12 pm - 3 pm

  • 2nd & 4th Fridays: Kid's D&D 6 pm - 9 pm

  • Saturday, May 11th: Lorcana Learn to Play 11 am - 2 pm

  • Saturday, May 11th: Triv-Tac-Toe 7 pm - 9:30 pm

  • Sunday, May 12th: Pop-Up Bakery (Bakery TBD) 11 am - 3 pm

  • Friday, May 17th: Lorcana Chapter 4: Ursula's Return Tournament 6 pm - 11 pm

  • Saturday, May 25th: Kids Learn to DM 12 pm - 3 pm

  • Sunday, May 26th: Gaslands Campaign Begins 1 pm - 5 pm

  • Friday, May 31st: Nerd Prom (16+) 6 pm - 11 pm


 

We've also started getting a jumpstart on planning for our D&D Summer Club. We're currently

looking for DMs. If you are a young adult, or have a young adult in your life, interested in DMing this summer, send an email to dana@criticalgrind.com.

Info I need:

DM's Name and preferred pronouns

Contact Phone Number

Any DM Experience

Preferred Session & Age Group (1st & 2nd choice)


 

NEW INVENTORY:

We started carrying Punchkins. They're adorable little stuffies with cute puns! I selected these items with a lot of our customers in mind. We received more card sleeves, dice, and 3D-printed dragons. Lots more dice, always, and we even got in some Magic Boosters!


 

State of the Cafe


For those of you who are new here, and I believe there are a lot of you, welcome. This is where I give you a little bit more of a personal update. I believe in transparency. Small businesses rely on personal connections and community support. We have become a third space for many people and we are honored and humbled by that. We want to continue to be that place for years to come.


But we are struggling.


Some of you have been here since the beginning. You know that our construction took 9 months. 9 months, when we were paying rent on a space that wasn't generating any revenue. Multiple personal credit cards, and loans, cashing in a 401k, selling off personal items, and investing all of our blood, sweat, tears, and money into opening was one of the hardest things we've ever done. (We didn't qualify for business loans or grants so please keep those very unhelpful suggestions to yourselves). But we did it! But did we?


We are still paying back our debts. We are looking into selling our home. And we're behind on our rent for the cafe. It's been debated whether or not the expansion was a bad idea. Honestly, I don't think so. Yes, it put us in another precarious position financially, but it gave us more room to host more community. It allowed us to grow our TCG & RPG nights, fill this place on Kid's D&D nights, and accommodate TTRPG players.


Back in November/December, we approached the idea of charging for table space. It would have been in the form of a gift card for store credit. That was shot down pretty hard by a lot of people. Not sure if there was confusion over the details or what, but it was not a popular idea. Here we are 4/5 months later and we've circled back. After talking to several board game cafe owners at GAMA, a board game industry convention, last month, and posting in a board game cafe owner's Facebook group, I have learned that there are very few cafes in the world that don't charge for table space... and those places have full-service kitchens and usually around a 45-minute time limit on the tables.

So, be advised... in the near future, Critical Grind will be announcing charging for table space. We're weighing our options regarding how much to charge, how to handle large groups, etc... It won't be a lot, but it will be enough to make a difference to our bottom line.


We are also considering other revenue sources. We'll be starting a Patreon so you can support the cafe and receive exclusive rewards as well. These tiers will eventually replace the rental subscriptions and have other incentives like discounts on cafe beverages, discounts on dice and TCG cards, an exclusive merch item once a quarter, after-hours events, priority reservations, table fees waived, and more. We'll be finalizing those details and making that official announcement soon too.


We are doing everything we can to stay here. Changes need to be made. And we need the community's support to keep going.



If you've made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time. I know this isn't what anyone really wants to hear, but I'm hoping you'll understand. These are not decisions that were made lightly.

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2 comentarios


Nimylian
Nimylian
13 abr

I came to your shop, for the first time, last night. I was invited by my friends, to play board games, while their son was playing D&D. While there, my persistent thought was that it is insane that there were no fees or time-limits for the tables. You will always get push back when you begin charging for something that was initially provided for free. It is human nature. Do not lose faith; there is a model that will work for your shop. I can imagine several ways to gradually introduce payment models, and would happily pay to participate.


In a strange way you are actualizing a dream that I have always had (to run a coffee shop and pla…


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Just wanted to say thank you for pushing through this rough time, investing so much in the people who have come to love you and the space you have created. Thank you for your transparency and being real with us. (and the Punchkins are adorable)

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