Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS)
2301 Spenard Road
How it happened so quickly is a mystery, but it's the last month of 2019! December marks the official arrival of winter, the beginning of holidays, and for those still in school, a brief vacation! This month, we're headed to "The Last Frontier," as Alaska is commonly known due to the distance from the lower 48 states. In Anchorage, we can find December 2019's Featured Official Tournament Store, BOSCO'S!
BOSCO'S was founded in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1983, in a small rented space in a shoe repair shop because most realtors refused to rent to a comic book store. Within a year's time they moved into a 1,000 square foot space. In 1987, the store's current owner, John Weddleton, joined the staff. After a move to Anchorage and a few relocations later, in 2007 John took over ownership. In 2014 John renovated an old vintage car wash and turned it into the premier gaming space that is BOSCO'S current location.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG community at BOSCO'S is very diverse. "We have younger kids and also military people come in to play" said John. "It's a broad range of ages." He added that to a number of players that are on the spectrum, BOSCO'S "is their happy place. In the last 4 to 5 years, the kids feel accepted playing the game with other kids." It is a community where they fit in, and all that matters is playing the game. John proudly said, "we offer a safe, friendly, warm (always important in Alaska) place for Yu-Gi-Oh! players to play, trade, participate in weekly tournaments, and to play in Sneak Peeks and Yu-Gi-Oh! Days."
"We listen to our customers and give them what they want. That cycle has served us very well."
- John Weddleton, Owner
BOSCO'S seems to have player retention well in hand and what's more, bringing new players into the store is one of their specialties. Being welcoming to the local community is a good way to bring new customers into the store, and possibly make new players out of them, as well. "We don't just cater to people who walk in the door. We have to get out there, into the community, and cast our net wide. We go to different groups like the camps, and high school clubs. It's important, so that people know who we are." And that is just the tip of the iceberg. BOSCO'S is also active at a number of local events, John mentioned "Kids Day, Arctic Comic Con, Free Comics Day, Reading Rendezvous at our public library, Dungeons & Dragons Adventurer's League, Free RPG Day, our monthly Sports Card Trade Night, and more, including regular outreach to all schools," as additional ways to engage with the community.
BOSCO'S has the advantage of having been in business for well over 30 years. Children that played at the store when they were younger have grown up and become parents themselves, bringing their own children in to play at the store. That makes it so some of the parents can easily join in and play with their children. Parent involvement with their children who play Yu-Gi-Oh! is always a plus, and John added that "some parents play with their kids but other parents let the kids play on their own. Some parents will read the comics while their kids play Yu-Gi-Oh!." Creating an environment where parents want to spend time while their kids are playing is another key to BOSCO'S success.As a note to other stores, John explained that "we listen to our customers and give them what they want. That cycle has served us very well." Great advice for up-and-coming Official Tournament Stores! Thank you and congratulations to our final Featured Official Tournament Store of 2019, BOSCO'S of Anchorage, Alaska!