Shop Talk: Heroes and Games
Part of the appeal of superheroes is that they possess superpowers that us mortal beings do not have. For many children, these are coveted powers, and for adults, it takes us back to days when we yearned for endless limits to our capabilities.
Heroes and Games is where comic book lovers, anime fans and superhero enthusiasts gather to immerse themselves in a world where fictional characters come alive.
Situated next to the food court on the first floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, this store offers an array of products, including board games, toys modeled after superheroes, card games and Japanese snacks. Like its name, the store is no-frills and straightforward.
However, after four years in the convention center, owner of Heroes and Games, Doug Simms, is ready to knock down the walls for a bigger space. Simms claims to owe the success of his business to the convenient location of his store.
“Every week, we don’t really know what to expect, because there is almost always conventions going on in here, but they may or may not relate to us,” Simms said. “We almost play it by ear because the conventions come back year after year after year, so we know in advance, ‘Oh, last year this was a good event.’”
Despite the sheer number of non-comic related events that go on in the convention center, business is as usual for Heroes and Games most of the time.
“There are very few conventions that we don’t get any traffic from,” Simms said.
When Heroes and Games first started out, Simms would purchase products for the store according to the upcoming conventions, but eventually, he found no need in prioritizing this way anymore.
“We started carrying the snacks just for the anime conventions, but then other people started coming in asking for it, so now we stock the snacks year-round,” Simms said. “As for the rest of the inventory, now we’re to the point where we just stock it all year-round as well.”
The store has a demographic of males ages 14-28, but Simms will see many paying female customers who seek to purchase gifts to take home to their husbands and children.
While it seems natural for a store such as Heroes and Games to thrive in a venue that hosts the Ohio Comic Con, Ohayocon and PulpFest, it took three years from when Simms showed initial interest in opening a store here in the convention center to finally realize the dream in 2010.
“The biggest issue is agreeing to terms with the convention center, as far as what they wanted in rent, and once we agreed on rent, it went really quickly from there,” Simms said. “It took a while and we finally made it, and I’m glad we did.”
The need for the expansion today is evident in the success of the store’s regular events– 7 p.m. on Fridays are for Magic: The Gathering and HeroClix, while 2 p.m. on Saturdays are for Yu-Gi-Oh. These events have no age restrictions.
“We try to have something for everybody, we try to find their inner child and make them look back when they were a kid and bring back those memories,” Simms explained. “That’s our goal.”
Heroes and Games is slated to participate in the Moonlight Market for the first time on Aug. 9, with goodie bags in tow for visitors and a featured local artist present to perform sketches.
For more information, visit www.heroesandgames.com.
All photos by Nen Lin Soo.