Jun 27, 2023 — WPN Premium Spotlight, WPN Premium

Spotlight on The Geekery: Transformative Path to WPN Premium

Read up on The Geekery's story and how they used a Retail Improvement Grant to completely transform their space to align with their brand goals.

Jun 27, 2023 — WPN Premium Spotlight, WPN Premium

Spotlight on The Geekery: Transformative Path to WPN Premium

Read up on The Geekery's story and how they used a Retail Improvement Grant to completely transform their space to align with their brand goals.

When EJ Horacek opened The Geekery, his goal was to provide a welcoming space for the gaming community in Shawnee, Kansas. As they sought ways to enhance their community engagement, The Geekery took the leap and started their Path to WPN Premium. Achieving a designation ultimately resulted in a stronger brand identity and additional operational improvements across the board for the store.

The Geekery's incredible success on their Path to WPN Premium comes from three distinct areas: creating a cohesive plan, getting hands-on support from their WPN Business Development specialist, and receiving a Retail Improvement Grant.

Creating a Cohesive Plan

EJ describes the greatest challenge of their designation process being aligning everyone's ideas into a stronger brand identity. "My staff always had the same goal, which was to get the Geekery to look its very best and reach WPN Premium," he shares. "However, we all had different ideas on how best to get there."

WPN Premium doesn't have one single "look"—in fact, diversity in store type is one of the WPN's greatest strengths. Our team encourages each store to have its own unique identity, bringing something memorable to their community.

A unified brand identity should be multi-faceted, from your store's logo down to the color scheme you use throughout your store. The Geekery focused on their black-and-white d20 logo, taking inspiration from the sleek lines on the edges to inspire a black slat wall that lines their retail space.

The Geekery Cash Wrap black slat wall

Getting Hands-On WPN Specialist Support

WPN Business Development Specialists work side-by-side with store owners to guide and direct them, workshopping ideas until the perfect plan falls into place. Chris Pressley, the specialist working with The Geekery, went through multiple rounds of ideation with EJ before they landed on final design plans.

"He really helped us embrace unified branding in our signage, displays, and merchandising," EJ continues. "He highlighted a lot of areas for us that were 'pretty good' but needed an extra kick to be considered WPN Premium."

The end result was a huge success: it exceeded staff expectations, and the addition of an online storefront generated a fresh wave of eager engagement from The Geekery's customer base.

Receiving a Retail Improvement Grant

EJ considers the Retail Improvement Grant to be The Geekery's greatest triumph during the Path to WPN Premium process. "Receiving approval for the Retail Improvement Grant was paramount," EJ says. "When we first applied for the grant, my team and I didn't know what our chances for approval were, and we didn’t know how much of the vision could be realized."

The Geekery's plans for remodeling were ambitious—they intended to completely re-do their slat walls, add custom signage, and renovate their entire play space to include better carpeting and improved structures. The team wasn't sure what to expect when they applied; however, Chris helped ensure their application covered their full plan.

While each Retail Improvement Grant is different, The Geekery's approval worked greatly in their favor. "Not only did we get approved, Wizards of the Coast covered more of our projected remodel than we initially anticipated. That added funding was what we needed to make the final push to WPN Premium."

For WPN stores in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and some parts of Europe, the Retail Improvement Grant can help push you over the finish line along the Path to WPN Premium. A Retail Improvement Grant can pay for up to 50% of your store's total project cost, and can help with a move, renovation, or expansion for your space.

Before and After Gallery

The transformation of The Geekery was an immense undertaking for the entire staff, and below, we've shared a few incredible before and after images of different areas of the store.

They were able to improve their cash wrap and retail shelves with new signage and a sleek slat wall:

The Geekery Cash Wrap and retail shelves, before

The Geekery Cash Wrap and retail shelves, after

Additionally, they made improvements to their digital display, making it easier for customers to shop the snack section:

The Geekery digital display, before

The Geekery digital display, after

The Geekery even took to adding murals showing off their store logo and rules in their play space:

The Geekery mural, 1

The Geekery mural, 2

The Takeaway: We're Here to Help

EJ had one major takeaway from The Geekery's Path to WPN Premium: "While the process may seem daunting at times, there is a step-by-step path you can follow. Our WPN representative had all the tools and resources we needed to succeed."

The WPN Business Development team is available to chat about WPN Premium and how they can help your store cross the finish line at any time—all you need to do to get started is schedule an appointment.

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