I was very unhappy today to hear that local stalwart and all-round good egg Vince is shutting up shop. Truly, Ragnarok has come to Asgard.
I’m sad to see this day dawn. Asgard and Vince in particular gave me the confidence to launch two successful Kickstarter campaigns and to explore the joy of creating games. My latest game is in development and even has a dwarven theme in honour of the Asgard mascot.
In the outpouring of emotion and support for Asgard, its communities of gamers and wider customer base, it’s important to note a couple of key things.
First, the high street is a tough place right now.
Online shops, local competition, a general lack of spare cash in peoples’ pockets and frankly the difficulty of being in the shop all the time so you’re there when the customers need you would be enough to send me to the small room with the rubber wallpaper and padded jacket with extra-long sleeves. I have nothing but respect for Vince and anybody else in independent retail right now. If you’re moved to act on this, do so by supporting a local shop tomorrow and the next day and so forth. These people can’t trade if we don’t spend with them.
Second, Vince has worked from day one to be a community resource as well as a shop.
True, that may have been too his disadvantage in the sense of cash flow now and then, but the support it has won him over the years is immense. Vince has done tangible good in a community that is quite niche and difficult to engage if you don’t already have a foot in their world. He speaks a language to people that incorporates both his own love of gaming and his knowledge and professional experience working with young people.
I’m conflicted by the news. On the one hand, I want Vince’s shop to continue doing all the good it does, and helping the local gaming community. On the other, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy the constant pressures of keeping a marginal retail business afloat by any means.
Go well, Vince. May the wind be at your back, whatever comes next.