I should probably find some sort of WordPress plugin to handle milestones with a cool progress bar or something.  In the meantime. . .
As of this morning, we’ve reached out to 10 of the 15 Distributors we’d like to work with in our store.  We’ve heard back from six of them so far, and have formal approvals from three of them.   Two others contacted us on Friday and verbally approved us, but we haven’t received any login credentials or ordering forms, so we’re considering them unapproved until it’s finalized.
The last of the six needs our store-front to be built-out more completely before they can finalize the approval, and the other four were contacted over the weekend, and we haven’t heard back from them yet.
We’re holding off on the next five until we have the first 10 solidified (either approved or rejected).
One of the upcoming challenges we’ll have with our Distributors is managing the costs.  While the general terms of all the agreements are common, the fee and pricing schedules vary quite a bit.  For example, some charge an additional percent or two if you pay with a credit card.  Also, their prices vary, both between Distributors and between products.  So, Distributor A may be more expensive when buying Product X, but less expensive when buying Product Y.  Of course, we figure that’s a good problem to have; we just have to manage it.
We’ve also established our first bank account for the company, and are working to finalize the accounting arrangements with our Accountant sometime this week.  We’ve looked at Payroll services rather extensively.  Sun Trust seems to have the best solution, and it’s dirt cheap – $50.00 per month for up to 50 employees.  For the first year, however, we are probably going to have our accountant do it.  He’s slightly more expensive, but we think his help structuring accounts over-all, along with payroll, will be helpful.
He’s reviewing the Sun Trust deal (he originally recommended we look into it) to see if he can work with it, and get us the benefits of their program without adding any confusion or finger-pointing to the process).
We’ve gotten quotes from a couple of insurance agencies – both the one that currently holds our personal policies as well as American Family Insurance, that has an agent housed the same building as Meeple Madness.  The pricing and coverage is almost identical, but it’s definitely appealing to have an agent right next door.  He’s been very helpful so far, and was willing to sit down and review both policies with us to help us understand all the details.
We received our first quote from the tables, but we’ve asked for some modifications, and are waiting for those revisions.
In terms of Point of Sale systems, it’s really down to two at the moment – Crystal Commerce or LightSpeed Retail.  Crystal Commerce is a game store focused service, whereas LightSpeed is general retail (they also have a restaurant system).
The big win for Crystal Commerce is that it ties in strongly with the Magic: The Gathering secondary market for selling singles online.  It also has a large, pre-populated inventory of all the major game lines, including artwork.
The appeal of Lightspeed is that it’s user interface is more polished, and they have seem to have tighter integration with their payment services.
Both services offer a hosted solution for both their POS and their online store, and can track inventory across both systems.  That means we can safely sell 15 copies of The Resistance, and it won’t matter if 7 are purchased online, and the rest in the store – both stores stay in sync.
The biggest negative with Lightspeed is the gentlemen I was working with for quotes, etc, hasn’t been entirely clear in his communications, and things I thought were capabilities of the product are not available at the moment.  The biggest example is Apple Pay.  We’d like to include that, and were told in the beginning that Lightspeed Retail could gain access to that service through one of their preferred Merchant Services.  It turns out that wasn’t accurate, and Apple Pay integration isn’t coming until the legal requirements for credit card processing change to include NFC services.  The other frustration is that we were told we could use any payment service we wanted but, after talking with the Systems Engineer, that’s also not the case.
We still like the product, though, so we’ve requested a new contact to see if we can salvage the relationship.
The biggest negative with Crystal Commerce is that their product is really online focused.  They have a Brick and Mortar POS component, and are working to flesh that out more completely, but right now, it feels designed to drive people to the online store, rather than bring them into the Game Center.