As an experienced IT expert and reasonably successful entrepreneur, I’ve learned a lot about business development and achieving success, even with limited resources. One of my latest ventures is the LeadBelt Gaming Arena, a new tabletop gaming venue now open in Sneinton Market Creative Hub, Nottingham, UK.
HobbySpotz my store and idea started as a grand vision – a large physical gaming store and games space where gamers and industry professionals could come together to test out new games, host tournaments, and organize events. However, the business encountered some setbacks early on, losing out on the original plan for a larger venue and having to scale back its plans. Just as the store was about to open its doors, the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures were put in place, the business was unable to operate as originally intended, with a space open to people mixing and gaming. This was a difficult time for the business, but it also presented an opportunity for them to re-evaluate their approach.
The ethos of HobbySpotz shifted from just being a physical space to being a community hub for tabletop gaming. The store became an incubation space, designed to help push and promote the gaming community in different ways. The store’s focus was to build something inclusive that encompasses community both in gaming and in people, regardless of race, neural divergence, or sexuality. It’s a safe space and a welcoming one.
During this time, the store took in new talents and saw them set up new businesses or move existing ones. Like Curtis of Ramshackle Games, a miniature games maker, resin caster, and old-school sculptor. The Rob of the Honest Wargamer, a Twitch, YouTube streamer, and tournament organizer and venue. Thor a board game designer, Matt of Minifactorum a 3D printing business, and of LeadBelt Gaming Publications. By taking this approach, the store was able to change its direction and move forward, even in the face of challenging circumstances.
The store has also become a hub for independent game designers and small publishers, who use the space to test and develop their prototypes. The store’s playtesting program has helped to shape the final product, and bring new and innovative games to the market. The store also has a strong online presence, which allows members to stay connected and share their experiences, even when they can’t physically meet. This has helped to foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging among members and has allowed the store to reach a wider audience.
As a result of this shift in focus, HobbySpotz has become a vital part of the gaming community, not just in Nottingham, but in the region. Its reputation as a safe and welcoming space has attracted a diverse group of gamers, who come together to share their love for the hobby, make new friends, and learn new skills. The store’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity has also been recognized by the wider community, which has helped to boost its reputation and attract new customers.
HobbySpotz has come a long way since its inception. From a small store with big plans, it has grown into a thriving community of gaming enthusiasts who come together to share their passion for the hobby. The store’s continued dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible within the hobby, and its willingness to embrace new ideas, have been the driving force behind its success. As a result, it has become a vital part of the gaming community, not just in Nottingham, but in the region. With us running the Bring and Buy and helping out with the excellent Brit-Con Historical Wargaming Convention which moved to Nottingham to take advantage of the excellent services and facilities
So when one of our members came into an inheritance he was interested in getting more gaming going on, and increasing the original shop’s 3d printing capabilities. Therefore we came together with a plan of action. He has helped provide funding for this site to allow me to expand and set up the Gaming Arena and he is expanding the 3d printing facilities at our other Site. This means while both sites work together, and collaborate as part of our original ethos though LeadBelt Gaming Arena is very much a separate entity and business.
It’s really a win-win.