Featured Official Tournament Store (OTS)
770 S. Arroyo Pkwy #110
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Few Official Tournament Stores (OTS) have the name recognition that CoreTCG enjoys in the Yu-Gi-Oh! community, and it’s not hard to see why this decade-old store rose to prominence in the Yu-Gi-Oh! world. CoreTCG has faithfully served the Yu-Gi-Oh! community for years with a large Yu-Gi-Oh! product selection, efficient tournament organization, and dedication to the Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG). In recognition of these efforts, we are pleased to announce that CoreTCG in Pasadena, California is this Summer’s Featured OTS!
CoreTCG started as a business in 2011 and has grown ever since. Its current owner, Chris Kwan, has been instrumental to its recent growth. Starting a business is never easy, but it was Chris’ dream to own a game store. “I have a passion for card games and collectibles, and I’m doing what I love. Not a lot of people can say that,” Chris explained. Chris’ passion fuels his store’s success.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic changing the world, CoreTCG held four Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG tournaments per week with around 25-30 Duelists in each tournament. Despite the pandemic bringing those in-store tournaments to a halt, CoreTCG has managed to grow its business and strengthen its community. CoreTCG turned to Remote Duels and holds these events just as frequently as they held in-person tournaments before the pandemic. These events run four times per week on CoreTCG’s Discord server. By hosting these events, Chris is able to reach out to even more players, many of whom did not attend in-store tournaments prior to the pandemic.
In addition to Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Remote Duels, CoreTCG also hosts Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links (Duel Links) Remote Duels. “Duel Links is a parallel to the TCG and gives us another way to engage with the players,” Chris explained. “The more engagement we have with the players, the more we can interact with them and build customer loyalty.” Chris wants CoreTCG to be a place that Duelists can always count on. As a result, he runs as many types of events as possible. These events attract a wide range of competitors with varying levels of skill and ages. They even include parents who play in events with their children.
“The more engagement we have with the players, the more we can interact with them and build customer loyalty.”
- Chris Kwan, owner
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted normal business operations, but CoreTCG has nevertheless been running strong. “We’ve been doing online sales since well before the pandemic,” Chris explained. This strong online presence left CoreTCG in a solid position when it was forced to close its doors to the public. While in-store purchases were temporarily halted, CoreTCG resorted to curbside pickup for local customers until local restrictions changed and customers were allowed back into the store. The growth of trading card games over the course of the pandemic has also been a boon for gaming stores like CoreTCG. “The pandemic reinvigorated interest in older players,” Chris explained. “Online commerce has been thriving, and there’s a wider base of players interested in the game now.”
Chris also noted that the pandemic brought out a stronger “collector mentality” in people. Older products became more sought after as people looked to obtain cards for their collections, even if they weren’t using them in their Decks.
CoreTCG is currently open as a retail space, but limits the number of players it has in the store. Chris constantly adapts to state and local regulations. “As regulations become more relaxed and open, we’re following those guidelines,” Chris explained. “We don’t have as much tabletop space as we used to because we’re spacing out players a lot more. Two months ago, we were very strict about letting even two groups of customers in at a time, and there were no players.”
Fortunately, as the COVID-19 situation improved in Pasadena, California, so did CoreTCG’s comfort with allowing a small number of Duelists into the store to play. For everyone’s safety, customers are required to wear masks and have their temperature checked as they enter the shop. In addition, hand sanitizer is readily available for all customers. CoreTCG’s staff also maintains strict sanitation procedures that include wearing masks, sanitizing work surfaces, and washing hands often.
CoreTCG succeeds at being a one-stop shop for meeting all of a Duelist’s Yu-Gi-Oh! needs. In addition to the wide selection of products that they carry and the many types of tournaments they run, CoreTCG also takes part in OTS promotions like The Lost Art Promotion. Chris describes The Lost Art Promotion as one of the best campaigns for his store. He says it has given his store an incredible boost in selling all kinds of Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG products. Some customers, he notes, even call ahead when the newest Lost Art promo card releases to make sure they can get their hands on it. While many OTS also benefit from giving out OTS packs as purchasing incentives, CoreTCG uses all of its OTS packs for their Remote Duel tournaments. “Players love it, and we have the ability to send players their packs,” Chris explained.
CoreTCG prioritizes the Yu-Gi-Oh! community and has built up a strong reputation as a result of it. Its large online presence, including the consistent Remote Duels on the CoreTCG Discord Server have allowed it to expand despite challenges presented to it during the pandemic. If you’re in the area of Pasadena, California, be sure to check out CoreTCG; and if you’re not, take a look at the CoreTCG Discord server for Remote Duel events! Congratulations again to our Featured OTS, CoreTCG!