My 4 FNM Tenets

My 4 FNM Tenets

November 28, 2016 | 3 min to read

Over the last twenty-two years of business, Comic Town has steadily grown its FNM from a small 8-player tournament to a huge night of Magic that frequently reaches well over 100 players in attendance. We asked owner, Ryan Seymore, to share the secrets to his success. Here’s what he had to say.

Friday nights are a marketing staple for any Magic: The Gathering store. As store owners, we know the environment we provide players every week at FNM can make or break our business.

Here at Comic Town in Columbus, Ohio, we've seen major growth in not only Friday Nights but all our events, by focusing on these 4 tenets:

1. Put Guests and Their Needs First

This process begins the very first moment a guest enters our shop. Everyone that comes through our doors receives a warm, cheerful greeting and are treated like family.

When we were initially trying to grow our Friday events, there were times that we wouldn’t get eight players.

But we still ran a Magic event. We cancelled the sanctioned event and created a casual event to replace it.

The most important thing for players to know with absolute confidence is when they are at our shop, they will have a great experience and their time will not be wasted.

2. Provide a Welcoming Environment

We don't allow players to be intimidated by others through aggressive behavior, foul language, or verbal attacks toward their gender identity, sexual orientation, special needs, ethnicity, or faith.

This is a tenet we are firm on and have no tolerance for.

We have a policy with several steps that we take if an issue needs addressing.

First, we discuss the problem with the offending player. Many times people don’t know that what they are doing is hateful and this then becomes a learning experience.

If that doesn’t work, we ask the person to take a break from the shop. This kind of negativity will not and has never been allowed to exist in my shop.

We also create an inclusive experience for players by offering three different FNM formats with staggered start times. This gives our players a diverse menu of events to choose from every week. In addition, we run on-the-fly casual Magic for players as eight-player side events throughout the evening.

3. Offer Consistent Quality

By always offering the same events at the same times, players know what to expect when they walk into the store.

The main key here is consistency. Consistency sets expectations.

By consistently delivering a high-level of customer service, our players know how much their time is appreciated in our store, and they are much more likely to spread good word-of-mouth about us.

Another important thing to remain consistent on is punctuality.

We start all of our FNM events at the advertised times. I know this sounds strange to stress but it really helps.

If you have 30 players sitting around waiting for a draft to fire because you are waiting on one single player to arrive 15 minutes after the advertised time, it can create a negative vibe for the players who arrived on time and are now stuck waiting.

Of course, there are times when this can change—bad weather, traffic accidents, or other things can cause players to be late. Keep lines of communication open with your players and use your best judgment, but stay as firm as possible on your start times.

4. Listen to Your Community

Overall, for any of your events, focus on doing this: anything that you can do to make the play experience truly better for your players should be considered. Nothing is ever worth overlooking, especially if it’s something you truly believe your players will love.

We try to spice up our FNM events with tie-ins to holidays and other special occasions. For example, Halloween costume contests and Halloween-themed incentives are super easy to do and players love them.

We’ve also used gift baskets as door prizes and even printed silly t-shirts for New Year’s Eve.

Always strive to improve the experience and get feedback on your events.

Don’t be afraid if some of your tried and true ideas stop working. Your player base is going to change over time. Life happens, people move, and sometimes players just need to take a break.

As long as you are providing excellent customer service, creating a welcoming environment, establishing expectations with consistency, and responding to community feedback, then you're on the right track.

Store Stats: Comic Town

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio (Population 850,106)
  • WPN Level: Advanced Plus
  • Age: 22 years
  • Size: 3200 sq. ft
  • Website: www.worldofcomictown.com

By Ryan Seymore, owner Comic Town

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