You’ll have to forgive me that this hasn’t come out on a Monday, either way I am getting round to the 3rd store in our new column and this time we are looking at something a little closer to home.
Questing Knight Games is a primarily bricks and mortar store based in the centre of Wellington, Telford in the sunny county of Shropshire. While it may seem a little unfair to pit a local store against the Internet behemoths there is a lot going for the little guy looking to compete. In this world where we consume an awful lot of electronic media smaller stores can be really up against it to turn a profit. Yet, there are certain things you get from these kind of stores that you cannot get from the Internet.
In the same vein as previous threads then, first of all let’s mark up the good things;
- Excellent Customer Service – Alan, the proprietor, knows all of his customers by name and is more than happy to discuss things with you. I have never felt pressured into buying anything and he is always willing to offer advice
- Excellent Knowledge of Range – You’d expect this but Alan knows each of the products he sells and directs customers appropriately
- Wide Range of Stuff – Not as extensive as some web stores as there is limited shelf space but there is stuff on offer here that covers a broad section of the gaming fraternity
- Discount – If you spend over £100 in store you get a 10% discount on your purchase
- Orders – If the item you are looking for isn’t in stock then you can normally get it in around a week, Alan is willing to order stuff for you if it can be gotten. This can be quite convenient if you can’t get stuff online delivered to work or you don’t want it sent home, sometimes it’s annoying to get home from work and know you’ll need to take a trip to the post office to grab your parcel, or maybe you just want to hide the goodies from your wife…
I really enjoy popping into this place during lunch breaks and even if I am not buying anything just chatting with Alan and the other customers about gaming, either specific or in general. But we cannot just wax lyrical without trying to balance things out with a look at any negatives;
- Limited Shelf Space – Probably the biggest con to a normal store, having to run it means that you are limited on stock you carry and the space to put it. Online retailers tend to be able to stock a lot more stuff as they are not paying overheads for a physical building
- No discount from RRP – If I am right GW enforce this on all normal stores, they have to sell at RRP and the aforementioned overheads mean your costs are higher and these are inevitably passed onto customers. However, the £100/10% discount balances this out for me
- Limited Range – although there are extensive ranges of stuff in the shop, some of the stuff I play isn’t there at all, forcing me online. GW stuff is abundant and that is probably the most played system anyway, however, newer offerings like Malifaux aren’t there, but with a local store you want a game to have a presence locally before stocking the items otherwise you might be stuck with stock you can’t sell
After the negative stuff I posted for Maelstrom you may I am trying to balance things out with a more positive review, however, I’m not that biased. I’m willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt and the opinions I have formed regarding the two stores I have reviewed are based on extensive personal experiences. Every time I got into Questing Knight I am greeting by name and that makes me feel like a valued customer and that means a lot. I know that online I am just anonymous shopper no. 14679332456069523131!!!!1!!!!eleven!!! so getting decent service is something I appreciate. Alan also supports on of Telford’s local gaming communities STAGS and having a store behind a club is a great thing to build the hobby.
Even if the prices are not the lowest you can get compared to online I will continue to buy from Questing Knight because of the great service, it is worth something extra in my mind. Especially as the discount sites aren’t always that prompt in getting me my loot.
So, onto the scoring then;
- Pricing 8/10 – Not the cheapest around compared to online stores but no more expensive than you’ll get anywhere either
- Store Itself – 8/10 – It is not a massive place but everything is well laid out and it is easy to find what you are looking for
- Customer Service – 10/10 – Can’t fault Alan on this one, he knows his customers and is interested in them
- Product Range – 8/10 – Not the largest selection of games but all the major bases are covered from Warhammer Fantasy to D&D to collectible Mini games to board games, there are several ranges of paints as well as tools and scenery
Overall that gives Questing Knight a whopping 34 out of 40, the highest result so far. It may not look much higher than Maelstrom on pure numbers but I cannot recommend this place highly enough.