Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps), I've learned just enough about the reality of store ownership to keep that fantasy in the land of daydreams. A guy in my current gaming group used to own his own store and, from everything he's told me, there's absolutely no glamour involved and even less profit. Plus there's long hours, shoplifting, and that smelly dude who spends the whole day hanging around without ever buying anything.
But despite my better judgement, I still think that, were I to ever hit the lottery, I'd open up my own role-playing/book selling sanctuary (after I returned from that six-month trip to Europe, Asia, and Australia). Flush with cash, I'd open up a paradise on earth for like-minded individuals who share my passion for RPGs, books, movies, and other nonsense.
Since this is an exercise in sheer make-believe, my theoretical game store would offer much more than just a clean, friendly environment with a wide selection of merchandise. I'd make it a fantasy-lovers paradise, an over-the-top den of merriment and madness like a modern day Shadizar. I kind of like the name The Hall of Fire, which is taken from the elven hall in Rivendell where stories are told, verses recited, songs sung, ale and wine drank, and past glories relived.
Here's what you'd might see in the Hall of Fire:
Fantasy/medieval architecture. I'd pay a mason to make the front of the building look like a medieval castle. Or maybe I'd just hire an architect to build a room-for-room replica of The (pre) Ruined Moathouse. The entrance hall could look like the entrance to Acererak's Tomb of Horrors and another wing would be a classic Viking mead-hall with a long fire pit running down the middle.
Armor, weapons on the walls: I'd have suits of armor on display and shields and crossed swords and spears on the wall. Just for show of course, but in case of a possible break-in I'd keep at least one axe razor sharp.
A clean bathroom. A must of course, and the toilet paper would be printed with Jack Chick tracts.
Role-playing games, and lots of 'em. Duh. However, unlike most hobby stores that only stock the latest version of D&D and perhaps Exalted or GURPS, I'd keep a copy of every role-playing game in and out of print I could on the shelves, from Runequest and Lords of Creation to Toon, Top Secret, Boot Hill, Chivalry and Sorcery, Star Frontiers, and Marvel Super Heroes. The Hall of Fire could double as a research library for RPG scholars by the time I was done stocking it.
Board games/wargames. Axis and Allies? Wooden Ships and Iron Men? Squad Leader? Revolt on Antares? Car Wars? Star Fleet Battles? Check, we've got them.
Miniatures. I love minis and wish I had the time to paint my old and small collection of lead, so with money and time no object I'd have thousands of minis for sale. And I'd hire these guys to paint them and conduct classes.
Organized trips: I'd organize bus trips to places like Higgins Armory and King Richard's Faire.
Books: Small, independent bookstores are a dying breed these days, so I'd do my part to keep fantasy, horror, and sci-fi titles alive. I'd have floor to ceiling shelves stocked full of Howard, Leiber, Tolkien, Lewis, Cornwell, Anderson, G.R.R. Martin, Moorcock, Vance, King, Poe, Lovecraft, and more. And I'd pay to get authors in for book signings.
Movies: I'd have films like Excalibur, Conan the Barbarian, Wizards, Dragonslayer, The Lord of the Rings, The Terminator, and more running on constant loops. Oh yeah, and Thundarr the Barbarian too.
No Magic: The Gathering. Offenders will have their cards tossed into the yawning black mouth of the Great Green Devil on the wall (a cleverly disguised incinerator).
Music: I'd play a wide selection of heavy metal, and for a change of pace, different kinds of heavy metal. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, and Blind Guardian would get heavy rotation.
Artwork: In and around the weapons I'd hang artwork by Frazetta, Vallejo, Alan Lee, and John Howe, plus I'd obtain permission to reproduce or buy the originals of all the classic D&D artwork (A Paladin in Hell, the PHB idol, the Magic Mouth, etc.) and place them in frames under glass. And I'd commission a talented artist to paint a giant picture of Orcus, too.
Guest speakers: I'd fly out big names like Mike Mentzer, Greg Stafford, Monte Cook, the guy from Grognardia, etc., to provide informative lectures on the history of RPGs, DMing advice, etc.
Book discussion group: I'd hold discussion groups on great fantasy titles like The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Worm Ouroboros, The Broken Sword, The Once and Future King, and everything Robert E. Howard ever wrote.
Regular schedule of fun
In addition, I'd keep a regular schedule of games and other assorted nonsense. I'd run some games, play in others, and pay a stable of DMs a decent salary to keep the others going:
Monday: Wargame night. We'd wage World War II and then move on to history's other great conflicts at least once a week. Uniforms are encouraged, and I'd have films like Patton and The Longest Day playing in the background.
Tuesday: Dungeons and Dragons. Pick your poison--OD&D, basic, 1E, 2E, or the newer versions should you choose, I'd have them all. I myself would run that epic 1E campaign I've always wanted to try, culminating with Against the Giants/Drow/Demonweb series.
Pit-fighting Wednesday: I'd erect a shallow stone pit in the rear of the store, and, equipped with foam axes, swords, nets, tridents, shields, customers could go at it a-la the pit-fighting scene in Conan the Barbarian. This would be a great mid-week stress reliever for those sad souls still working the 9-5 shift :).
Thursday: Alternate game night. Those games of Pendragon, Call of Cthulhu, 007, or Runequest you've always wanted to play? This is your chance.
Friday night: Alefest, followed by a drunken session of D&D. Again, costumes encouraged (required?). Oh yeah, did I mention that I'd be acquiring a liquor license?
So what does your gamestore look like?