MAGE Gaming, an independent card shop, will open at 33rd Street and Queens Boulevard on June 1, co-owner Paul Williams told Brownstoner. The store sells collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Cardfight!! Vanguard and also holds weekly tournaments. The store was previously located on a second-floor space at 114 East 31st Street in Manhattan. But, like many small retailers, MAGE couldn’t make enough sales to keep up with the rent and closed in the spring. The new space is located in a basement level and is around 1,500 square feet. The rent is roughly $10 per square foot annually.
Despite the challenging economy, hobby stores around the city have hung on, including Montasy Comics in Forest Hills, Queens, which opened a midtown outpost on Fifth Avenue. Twenty Sided Store in Williamsburg routinely sells out events that include board game nights and Dungeons & Dragons. Magic: The Gathering, published by Wizards of the Coast, a unit of Hasbro, had record sales last year. Stores can also turn profits by selling sealed products and valuable single cards, which typically fetch between $10 and $30 each.
“It’s pretty tough if you don’t have everything that everyone wants,” said Williams. “We were lucky that we managed to tough it out.”
MAGE will start out with around five employees, and Williams may hire more personnel between June and August depending on traffic. It may also eventually expand to sell video games. Williams previously worked at Neutral Ground, a legendary gaming store in Manhattan that closed down in 2008. Many of MAGE’s investors were previously involved with Neutral Ground.