Brick & Mortar

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by trapeze, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. I have lived in the middle of nowhere for almost 25 years. The nearest truly big city is about a four hour drive in one direction and five in the other. I may make it to a metro area perhaps once a year. I think that the last time I visited a brick and mortar magic shop was ten years ago. I know that they still exist but I also know that there are a lot fewer of them now than there used to be before I last moved. I discovered today (poking around online) that several of the shops that I have visited in the past have vanished...places in California, Texas, Oregon. One that's still in business that I have visited is in Colorado.

    My questions are: What is the state of brick and mortar magic shops where you live? Are they like they used to be pre-internet? Have they changed the way they do business in order to survive against online competition? Do you think it is still possible to open and successfully operate a brick and mortar magic shop?
  2. I am fortunate to live in Los Angeles/ Orange County california. There are about 5 magic shops (that I know of) within a 30 mile radius of me. I know the owner of a few of them. From what they have said there are two things that keep them open:

    1. Hobbiests/tourists: Having a shop in a high foot traffic area will help a ton. This means you will make impulse sales from people who just happen to walk into the shop. 99% are not magicians.

    2. Online sales: every one of the magic shops in my area are also selling Magic online. IMO it is almost a necessity to stay in business. I mean look at other industries. Fast food places are even delivering your food to you at home now. People would rather spend half the money online and get it 5 days later than get in their car and drive somewhere to spend more and have it now.

    You can thank amazon for that lol
  3. In Michigan, the magic shops in Ann Arbor and Mackinaw City have both closed for business. Colon, Michigan is still going strong though and hosts three magic shops and several magic conventions through out the year.
  4. I live in the Kansas City, MO area. We have nothing here, at one time St. Louis had a store, but they are gone from what I have been able to find out. The only store I have found it one in Wichita, KS. They have a robust website and I have not taken the 3.5 hour drive to see the store....

    All of my gear is from on-line locations, but I really miss the 'brick and mortar' shops where you can have someone help you and demonstrate a trick or gimmick before you buy it!
  5. A place called "Grand Illusions" is about 15-20 min away from me.This is the one I visit most often. Great little store. The owner, Steve, is a super nice guy. He's also friends with Lee Asher, Wayne Houchin, and Jay Sankey which is neat (Apparently, Houchin has been going there since he was like 12.). He also hosts magic parties every month or so and the last one he had was yesterday. His mom and dad also work there and they both do magic as well.

    Also, I've never been there but apparently the Penguin and Murphy's warehouses are in Rancho Cordova which are also about 20 minutes away.

    The next closest ones are about 2 hours away in San Francisco which are Houdini's (meant for tourists) and Misdirections. Houdini's is a lot more about like impulse buys from people passing through Pier 39 whereas Misdirections is geared toward magicians.

    There's also a magic dinner theater nearby which I haven't been to yet.

    Sure they seem to be diminishing, but the few genuine magic shops for magicians that are still out there are for the most part, awesome when you find them.
    Al e Cat Dabra likes this.
  6. Just checked, the Murphy's Magic HQ is literally around the corner from Penguin. About 5 minutes apart. I'll have to go sometime
  7. I visited Chicago over the summer and ran across 2 amazing shops. One was Magic Inc, same guys who print Marlo's books now, and I can't remember the other.
  8. I have not found any in North Carolina (where I live) I know there are a couple conventions in Charlotte but not sure if any magic shops are around. If anyone lives in NC and knows of one let me know. Thx
    trapeze likes this.
  9. I'm going to Houston next month. Just checked and one of the places that I went to about thirty years ago, Danny's Trix & Kix, is still in business. There was another one closer to downtown...can't remember the name...that appears to be gone. Will have to stop in at Danny's and buy a book or two when I'm in town.

    There used to be a small chain of magic shops that catered mainly to tourists called Magic Masters. I saw them set up in the French Quarter in New Orleans back in the late 1980's or early 1990's. They were pretty good for what they were. They would be in high traffic areas and would do continuous demos of classic effects like the linking rings, scotch and soda, invisible deck or even the Rocky Raccoon thing. I hung out there for a while when I was there on a business trip and one of the guys offered to take me to meet Racherbaumer but it didn't work out with my meeting schedule. Always regretted that. Anyway, I looked them up and they are completely out of business at all locations.

    I heard that another place I had visited regularly in Dallas, Magicland, was also closed. On the other hand, Magic Etc. in Fort Worth is still going strong...bought several books there. Also have been to Zeezos in Colorado Springs and it appears to still be in business. One that looks like it is gone is Brad Burt's place in San Diego...can't believe that place is gone, they did a ton of mail order pre-internet and I bought a lot from them.

    Most shops that I have been to have always relied on costume rentals to make up for the sales/cash flow that magic just doesn't seem to be able to provide. It's a pity that magic brick and mortar shops seem to be going the way of the pay phone/cell phone...a paradigm shift toward online sales.

    Another thing I remember from back in the eighties or nineties was an attempt at a magic franchise by the guy who sold the D'Lite gimmick, I think his name was Rocco. It was supposed to be sort of like Magic Masters where you would have a kiosk in a shopping mall and they would supply you with everything you needed including training on how to demo the tricks. Can't remember what it was called, I would have to go through back issues of Genii to find it, but I don't think anything ever came of it.

    Seems like making a magic store work is a staggering amount of hard work and the chances of failure are pretty high. Still...I would like to give it a shot when I retire from/sell my business.
  10. Unfortunately both of our local brick and mortar shops didn't last more than a year in our area. It is NOT a tourist area at all and the only customers were magicians (we are all in the same IBM ring) who could get the stuff way cheaper online. Without a steady stream of non-magicians coming in to buy Svengali decks and such it is difficult for brick and mortar shops to sustain life unless their online sales are also keeping them afloat. Both of the shops that went belly up weren't selling online.

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