Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS)
1450 Oakland Ave. Unit 1
We hope you and your loved ones remain healthy and safe. As circumstances continue to evolve regarding COVID-19, please remain up-to-date on any new restrictions that may be imposed on store closures. We want to prioritize the safety and well-being of our communities, and encourage Duelists to contact your OTS about their hours and safety policies, and remember to follow all guidelines.
Spring is in the air, and with it is this quarter’s Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS), SCG Hobby from Indiana, Pennsylvania! Steve Drahnak started SCG Hobby fifteen years ago as a small 1,000 square ft. store, and gradually grew his business. Since his business’s inception, he has expanded his original store to a massive 4,000 square feet; and, to keep up with rising demand, added two locations in Altoona and Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Steve always had a passion for sports cards. When he opened SCG Hobby in Indiana, Pennsylvania over a decade ago, he did it to start a side business, and mostly focused on selling sports cards. He had a full-time job already and ran his small store as a labor of love. But Steve’s success with his business gradually grew, and as times changed, his business adapted. They began to sell all sorts of trading cards, including the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG).
Fast-forward fifteen years, and Steve still works a full-time job, but now owns three different hobby stores in Pennsylvania. His wife, Stephanie, successfully runs all three bustling stores. Although all three of these retail stores sell “sports cards, comics, and gaming” products, Steve’s original Indiana, Pennsylvania location will always be closest to his heart.
Steve describes this location as the “core” of his business. It is located less than 100 yards from the entrance of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, making students that attend the university Steve’s primary customer base. Steve explained that there’s a large turnover of college-aged kids in his store every few years, and he sees new faces all the time. He describes the patrons of his store as a “diverse and eclectic” group of people, and says that the constant turnover, caused by the perpetual movement of college students, keeps the community fresh.
"It’s very important to manage the community that’s coming in and playing. That is probably the biggest challenge because you have different levels of players, whether they’re beginners or advanced."
- Steve Drahnak, owner
Steve says that sales for his stores declined a little bit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but are starting to rebound. Steve uses social media to advertise and bring in new customers, and his offering of curbside pickup allowed him to sell products while he was forced to close his store. The managers of his stores remained employed throughout the pandemic and walked customers through his store’s inventory when those customers placed curbside pickup orders. Adjusting his business to accommodate changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Steve’s stores to survive the shutdown. Steve says he ran lots of tournaments before the pandemic began and is looking forward to that picking up again once the pandemic is over.
“There’s nothing like having in-store tournaments to drive the competitive nature of players,” Steve says. “Sales will always be better when you can provide a community for players to play in.” This is especially true for Steve’s Indiana, Pennsylvania store, which is mostly comprised of college-aged Duelists. “We try to bring every age group into the store, which is why I sell such a wide range of products,” he says. “We’ve found that most of our Yu-Gi-Oh! players are typically high school students or college students, but our store is designed to cater to all age groups. People of all ages buy products.”
Steve says that KONAMI’s Lost Art promotion and OTS packs have helped business immensely during the pandemic. “The Lost Art promos have been well-received and helps stores like mine get older inventory off of the shelves,” he says.
Running a successful business for fifteen years isn’t easy, but Steve’s willingness to promote gameplay to players of varying skill levels made a huge impact. “It’s very important to manage the community that’s coming in and playing,” Steve said when asked what advice he would share with other OTS. “That is probably the biggest challenge because you have different levels of players, whether they’re beginners or advanced. You have to promote both levels of game play. If you only cater to the more advanced players, the beginner players will get frustrated. You have to cater to all different levels of player.” Doing this broadens the appeal of his store and allows him to maximize his sales. He recommends that any new OTS do the same once in-store tournaments resume.
If you’re in the area of Indiana, Pennsylvania, be sure to check out Steve’s flagship SCG Hobby store!