Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS)
Cool Stuff Games, Inc. – Tampa
10101 E Adamo Dr, STE 601
Just like that, we're nearing the halfway point of 2019! For college students, the end of the Spring semester is closing in, while elementary, middle, and high school students have a few more weeks to go! As students are looking forward to their Summer break, we look forward to another Featured Official Tournament Store! Our Featured OTS for May 2019 is located in Central Florida. Please say hello to Cool Stuff Games – Tampa!
Cool Stuff Games has seven locations all over Florida. The Tampa location became the 6th location when it opened on June 12th, 2017. "We are a board game, card game and tabletop game store," says Matthew Aprim, Event Manager of the Tampa location. Cool Stuff Games – Tampa is very proud of their thriving Yu-Gi-Oh! community. The Cool Stuff Games – Tampa staff takes satisfaction in its customer-service-centric philosophy; from social media to community groups, the store staff is ready and happy to help.
At the store, the staff greets everyone that comes in and interacts with them to help them find what they're looking for, gladly giving tips for Deck improvements when asked. Once interested players know about the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG) events that are offered here, they are eager to come back and enjoy the fun. Once in the door, Cool Stuff Games – Tampa wants them to keep coming back: "We listen to the community about running events. We listen to their feedback and make adjustments, so that they come by often. We also ask them what Decks they're running and give them pointers." The Cool Stuff Games – Tampa recently put together an event that they thought their player base would really enjoy but the players did not initially react as anticipated, "we thought we were putting on an event they wanted to play, but the players were like 'Ehhhhh', and not very impressed with our efforts. We asked how we could improve it, and they were eager to give us suggestions. We then used that feedback for the next event. The next time it turned around and the players were thrilled with the event!" This is a great example of how listening to the customer base and acting on their comments can grow your player involvement and excitement. When the players feel like they are part of the process, they are more likely to try new things.
"We're making the store a home away from home. People hang out here all day, talk about Decks, what they're running; we get people into and excited about the games that we play."
- Matthew Aprim, Event Manager
In addition to the usual foot traffic they get, Cool Stuff Games – Tampa is invited by community groups as well as some area schools to perform game demos and teach students how to play the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. "We also go to Tampa Comic Con and the game rooms there. We see a lot of players that way," says Matthew who added that Comic Con allows them to reach out to anime fans that are interested in Yu-Gi-Oh! but haven't played the TCG.
For those newer players, a good launching point for the TCG is Speed Duel! Matthew explains, "A good way to start out teaching kids and parents is with Speed Duel. Once they get that, they can get into the regular game." Speed Duel also harken back to the early days of Dueling which can spark nostalgia for those who have been playing the game for a while, including Matthew himself. "I watched the TCG grow, so Speed Duel brings me back to the old days where Blue-Eyes White Dragon was the best monster!"Getting parents and children playing with Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is great, as the game is an activity that everyone can be involved with! "Sneak Peeks are good [for them] since it's a limited event and there aren't as many cards that they have to remember." Events like Sneak Peeks and Duel Day help foster a community within the store. They have a few parents that learned how to play right alongside their children; and when parents are involved they are even more supportive of playing the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. When asked about what makes Cool Stuff Games - Tampa special, Matthew says, "We're making the store a home away from home. People hang out here all day, talk about Decks, what they're running; we get people into and excited about the games that we play. We want people to feel like they're family, not just a customer."
When asked about what advice he would give to other Official Tournament Stores, Matthew replied that "the biggest thing is to listen to the community, ask them questions, get their feedback, ask about what events they want to play." Getting them involved, showing them that their opinion matters leads to a stronger sense of community. With that, we would like to offer up our congratulations to our Featured OTS for May 2019, Cool Stuff Games – Tampa!