I travel often for work, and one of my favorite things to do while traveling is catch a cab to the nearest MTG shop and see where the local community is playing. I’m always interested to review a few things in particular, which are discussed in detail in my previous article here, but include cleanliness, service, selection, and a section for extras. I’d like to start a compendium of the shops I’ve been to, in order to share with others. I’d also love it if this could open a dialogue in the community to set an overall expectation for stores, as it can be ridiculously hard to know what’s expected of your business if nobody ever discusses tells you. I’ll start by reviewing the shops in Las Vegas, Nevada, as that’s where I currently live and I’ve had more opportunity to spend time in these stores than some others.
Now, I realize that this ranking system isn’t perfect and doesn’t weight every category exactly how every other player would, but I think it gives us a good baseline for discussing stores at least slightly more objectively. I’ve decided that Pricing and Location are less weighted because there may be other factors aside from price that induce players to purchase from a shop, such as loyalty or service, but a good price can almost always be found online whether you typically purchase your singles there or not.
This is the main reason I frequent Little Shop of Magic more than any other. This shop is pristine! It’s on par with Martha Stuart’s kitchen as far as cleanliness goes. Even the chairs have casters on the bottom to prevent scratching. I have never seen a mess laying around, cards in heaps, or a speck of dust in a corner. If any other stores want to see what clean should look like, this is the store to visit! Honestly, I would give this store extra points here if I could.
As this is my first actual shop review, I debated strongly whether to rank service in comparison to other MTG shops, or service in comparison to what I would expect in another shopping environment, as this would heavily change the score in one direction or another. In the end, I decided it is fairer to compare apples to apples and am comparing service expectations on a shop by shop basis. That being said, Little Shop of Magic is getting a generous 7. Typically, I am greeted when I enter the store, but if I mention I just want to look for a moment, I have never been reengaged. I have never had a suggestion from a staff worker unless I specifically asked for it, and the owner can be temperamental at best. That being said, I never feel unwelcome, nor are the staff mean or uneducated in the products on hand.
Though this store is indeed named “Little Shop of Magic,” only about 10% of the real estate in the store is dedicated to actual Magic product, including sleeves, tees, and dice aside from actual cards and packs. From time to time they carry foreign packs of the current sets, but I have never seen older sets, nor do they display many singles. True, they sell off their website as well, but here they also only seem to carry current product. They do have a fair assortment of sleeves, and some very nice looking play-mats, but you would expect a store with Magic in the name to dedicate more space to that product.
Little Shop of Magic has some great extras. To rattle off a few, I love that their events go off with military precision (probably because the owner is former military), they carry a fair selection of snacks and beverages, and they do carry quite a variety of other merchandise outside Magic. The point they scored for that here, however, definitely could have been outweighed by a larger obvious selection in MTG, which would have netted them more total points through Selection. They also have a fairly nice website with staff on-hand to answer questions via chat during most business hours. One of my absolute favorite extras in this shop, however, is their loyalty program. As you spend money in this store, you earn rewards in this store. For me, this works! Particularly because I am not patient enough to buy my singles online, because there is a running tally on the bottom of my store receipts to remind me what I have accrued, and because no other shop I’ve been in has a loyalty program.
Parking can get a smidgen cramped on big game days, but there is overflow available at the buildings next door. The store has a tidy appearance from the front and looks well-maintained. It seems to be in a safe end of town. My only demerit for this location is that there are homeless folks who hang out on the street corner. Though they seem like nice guys, I think this might be disconcerting for players from out of town or who have never been to this store before.
Overall, their pricing seems to be fairly average for a brick and mortar shop. I realize these stores have to pay to keep the lights on, and while they aren’t the cheapest prices I’ve found, I didn’t see any egregious over-pricing either. They don’t sell the cheapest box in town, but they don’t sell the most expensive, either. Their packs do run a little below average at $3.25.
Total: 39/50, 78%
If you’ve been to this store, I’d love to hear your feedback on where you do and don’t agree. Even if you haven’t I think it would be great to open up a dialogue about what your shop does well and what it could improve on, or even how to further flesh out this ranking system. Leave me your thoughts!
If you missed the start of this series, check out the Perfect Magic Shop.
Editors Note:We suggest you check out Little Shop of Magic for yourself! We’d love to know what you think. You can find the store at – 4160 S. Durango Dr. #120 – Las Vegas, NV – 89147.
Check out their website here.