Local Gaming Stores and You

November 30, 2004

Here is a question for the gaming community: What is the importance of a local gaming store to you? Most would say that it is not very important to them just as long as they get their desired game. Now I would not go as far as to equate the relationship of your local gaming store to your family doctor, but if you’re a gaming enthusiast and want top-notch costumer service, then the relationship between you and your local gaming store is actually very meaningful.

Our main focus here at Snackbar is [i]community[/i]. We cannot stress that enough as we continue our journey here on the Web. Snackbar began not just as a Web site but also a small fellowship of friends who enjoyed hanging out and talking about random stuff. As the years went by, we soon evolved into a gaming site where we continued our random babbling. Along the way, we built a relationship with the folks from EB Games (Huebner Oaks) here in San Antonio, Texas. We shopped there because we liked the customer service, we loved the staff’s knowledge of games, and more importantly they did not treat us like we were weird geeks who obsessed over orcs and elves. Now you would go as far to say that these employees at EB Games were doing their job; it was their responsibility to treat their customers accordingly. Unfortunately, in today’s society, we have grown apathetic and indolent in going the extra mile. As our relationship grew, the folks at EB Games took care of us in our gaming needs. They made sure we got the best service, the best deals in games, and the most up-to-date news on games and their releases. Now you would also say we are getting special treatment from these folks. Actually, no! The majority of their clientele consists of regulars who shop there more than once a month. Why? Because they treat people like family, and their customers treat them like family.

Because the holiday season is already here, I thought I would interview the Manager at EB Games on how important customer relationships are to him and his staff.


EB Games is one of many shops that are located in the Huebner Oaks shopping center right off IH-10. Like most contemporary shopping malls, this is an outdoor strip center that is shared with restaurants, clothing stores, bookstores, Starbucks, and a movie theatre. EB Games sits between a jewelry store and stationary store-by the looks of it, you would think it sits in a bad spot. I guess it doesn’t matter when you generate a ton of business and you’re ranked #5 in Texas. As you walk into the store, you are greeted with walls of games surrounding the store and TV monitors displaying gameplay from [i]Halo 2[/i] on the left. Pete Torres (a.k.a. The Wraith) is usually a pretty busy guy, making sure the store is up to snuff with the competition around town. It was a Monday morning, so store traffic was very minimal.

[b]Pretzel:[/b] So tell me, Pete, how do you feel about gaming today, especially with so many consoles and games hitting the market?

[b]Wraith:[/b] Well I’m a gaming enthusiast-have been for quite some time now. It’s definitely not your typical hobby, so the world gaming community has been rapidly evolving into something much bigger. For the most part, I see the gaming today becoming more of a community event. For me especially, with so many games becoming online enabled, it’s definitely much more entertaining when you play with your friends.

[b]Pretzel:[/b] So what do you think about the online gaming community?

[tableleft][b]Wraith:[/b] I think it’s a great medium for games. I think most of today’s games are headed in that direction. Although it’s not a necessity, it should definitely be an option for the gamer. I think it’s very entertaining, and it’s much more efficient, especially if you have friends across the globe. I mean in our case (the EB-SB crew), it rules because we game together at any time of the day. So it definitely is a great way to connect the entire gaming community as whole.[/tableleft][tableright][img]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/features/localgaming/ss03_thumb.jpg[/img][/tableright]

[b]Pretzel:[/b] So what got you here? I know you just didn’t wake up and say, “I want to be a manager for a video game store.”

[b]Wraith:[/b] Actually, I’m a General Manager. And all my life I wanted to work in video games. I mean one thing lead to another, and now I’m here. What I like most about my job is my interaction with the people and making sure they are happy with the service we provide. Most importantly is our attitude towards gaming, and making sure we are authentic and genuine to our customers.

[b]Pretzel:[/b] I know from experience firsthand, but tell our readers how important a customer relationship is to you, putting all business aside.

[b]Wraith:[/b] To be honest with you, in our case the customer makes the store. And that is stating the obvious, but we look at it from a community standpoint. Building relationships with the people who walk into our store is the key. They are gamers just like we are; the only difference is we have to make sure we help them with their gaming needs-giving them the best deals and promotions, accurate information on games, great customer service, and overall just a great environment where people can walk in and feel comfortable.

[b]Pretzel:[/b] Dude, that is exactly what I’m talking about! That’s what we are all about here at Snackbar… except the deals, promotions, and customer service because we are not selling anything, of course. Anyway, so do you have full confidence in your staff when you’re not there to make sure they have the same vision as yourself?

[tableleft][img]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/features/localgaming/ss06_thumb.jpg[/img][/tableleft][tableright][b]Wraith:[/b] Yes, no doubt! I make sure that my staff has the same vision as I do about our customer relationship. And as a matter of fact, I did not have to stress this on them, because they know how important our relationship is with our customers. They make sure when they walk out that door they say things like: “Man those guys rule! Those guys are so nice!” Why is it that when people walk in, we all know their name and they know ours? And it’s just not a handful either-it’s a variety of folks, including families as well.[/tableright]

[b]Pretzel:[/b] Awesome! As a gamer, what do you think about Web sites that cater to a certain group of gamers? For instance, let’s just say Snackbar.

[b]Wraith:[/b] I love the community that you guys have at Snackbar. It’s a very unique and genuine environment you guys host. It’s not your regular site that focuses on churning out news and updates on gaming. This is a place that allows the readers to debate their opinions, give their take on a certain game, hang out, and just be real about games. I don’t feel like a visitor there. I feel like a part of the community when I hang out at Snackbar. I mean, we game with guys from England, Scotland, Canada, and across the U.S. I think that you guys at Snackbar, the folks at Xtreme Gaming Cyber CafA