,As we move into April, we've had new Executive Orders, new guidance from the CDC, and a lot of extra time on our hands. The original April 14th reopening seems optimistic at best, so we've moved most of our communcations to simply say “soon.” That's a hopeful word for “We have no idea.”
Here's where we are today:
- Our shoppe is closed to the public. A single employee (either John, Priya, or David) is onsite Monday – Saturday to make sure the shoppe is maintained, deliveries are received, and phone calls can be taken. They have been instructed not to open the door for anyone except delivery drivers and contractors.
- The shoppe has been divided into three zones with caution tape. This allows us to maintain social distances during receipt of deliveries, and allows us to sanitize products in a fashion that reduces the chances of cross contamination. As a partial example of what that looks like, when a delivery driver pulls up, the attending Staffer props open the door and retreats behind the first tape line. This allows the driver to enter the store without touching the door and place the delivery on one of the front tables. Once the driver has departed, the door is secured again.
- All other staffer members are working from home. All are working on projects related to our online storefront or hobby projects. All staff are still being paid, and we have no intention of furloughing or terminating anyone.
- To keep our staff connected, we host a morning Staff Meeting on Discord to check in with everyone, assign projects, and generally kick off the day. We close the days with a follow-up meeting (again, over Discord).
- Starting this week, we'll also be assigning staff specific “Discord Hours” to make sure they have planned opportunities to connect with all of you on our Discord server.
- Additionally, our staff are all being trained, daily, on new and old board game titles. While boardgames are near and dear to our hearts, it's an area that has an overwhelming selection of titles, so we're using the downtime to catch up on some important games in that category.
- Our new eCommerce store now has roughly 3,500 items loaded. In addition to loading pictures, we're creating opportunities for our staff to get creative with descriptions, to provide a unique feel to that aspect of the shoppe. As an example, you can check out some of the prose penned by our resident Heroes of Braselton DM, Ben, in the D&D Minatures product line.
- While the eCommerce site doesn't natively support our Rewards Program, we're adding points to existing accounts when folks make purchases. We look forward to the time when folks can come into the shoppe again to redeem points. The one thing we cannot solve at the moment is any Community Hero or Membership discounts – those can only be done over the phone. We're trying to develop a solution for this in conjunction with our eCommerce partner, but that will take some time.
- Speaking of Rewards — for those who have cashed in points for a yearly membership, we'll be extending any current memberships by at least one month to account for your inability to utilize it during most of March and April. We will continue to extend it, as needed, to account for the time our storefront is closed.
- We have been working with our bank to apply for the various SBA programs that are available. We have never been in a position to recommend a bank, but Ameris, has been extremely proactive in reaching out to us during this time. We've received multiple calls from our local branch manager, Terrell, and they have provided a huge amount of help in dealing with these somewhat complicated programs.
- Our local delivery service is off to a good start. Our current delivery area is somewhat absurd (Gwinnett, Hall, Barrow, and Jackson counties), and we've already logged almost 400 miles delivering games. When the crisis passes, we'll reduce our area to a more manageable radius, but in the short term, we want to be able to reach as much of our community as physically possible. We have worked out a method to make the deliveries “contactless” and all products are being sanitized and handled with fresh gloves from shelf to door.
So, while the shoppe is closed to the community, we still have a lot going on, and we're hopeful we'll be well-positioned when the crisis has passed.
Our staff is safe, and we're committed to making sure they're not financially compromised due to the situation at the shoppe.
Each day, the most common question we get is “what can I do to support the shoppe ?” It's a question we appreciate so much – it's difficult to write how much it means to us that you're thinking of us with everything going on.
The best answer we can give you is this: Stay safe. Our shoppe is, first and foremost, a community of wonderful people. We look forward to the day when we can all gather for casual game nights, tournaments, and other game and cake-filled activities.
Our discord server is, currently, the best way to connect with our community during this time of social isolation.
Beyond that, if you need something, please let us know. You can contact us through our website, through Facebook, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling the shoppe at 770-965-1333. We can't promise we'll be able to solve every problem or address every need, but beyond running a game shoppe, we're here to help in whatever way we can.
– Dave & Priya