What’s in a store name?

7 months ago Kelly and I purchased Gryfalia’s Aerie from Ken and Kristi.  We’ve been having a lot of fun, and love all of the wonderful people we have met.  One of the things we love the most about the gaming community is the lack of judgement.  We’ve got little gamers and big gamers.  Gamers of every race, nationality, and religion.  Gamers with speech impediments, gamers with limps, young gamers and old gamers.  Gamers who love sports and gamers who love sci-fi.  Boy gamers and girl gamers;  gay gamers, straight gamers, and every thing in between gamers.  And no one cares.  No one judges. Because all they really care about is “Do you want to play a game?”

All this is not to say that we haven’t had a few challenges along the way.  (stupid POS system!)  Surprisingly, most of those challenges have surrounded the name Gryfalia’s Aerie when we’re trying to introduce it to new people.  Here are the questions that I constantly get:

1.  How do you say the name?  Griff-AL-yuh-s Air-ee.  Pretty easy – I just think of Al’s Diner from Happy Days. (A yup yup yup).

2.  What the heck does it mean?  Gryfalia was the name of Ken’s character in many games that he played over the years, including D&D, World of Warcraft, Pathfinder, and many other games.  The name is derived from a Gryfalcon, which is a bird of prey.  An Aerie is a nest or roost for a bird of prey.  So the name Gryfalia’s Aerie basically meant “Ken’s Nest, or Ken’s Home.”

3.   Are you going to change the name?  Yup.  Why?  See questions 1 & 2 above.  The name Gryfalia’s Aerie confuses people.  They don’t know how to say it,  they don’t know how to spell it, and they don’t know what it means.

Ken built a great reputation with the gamers in our community, and even in the gaming industry.  He drew in all of us natural gamers.  I think your natural gamer type will seek out and find a game store wherever they are.  I loved shopping in Adventureland and Gamer’s Haven when I was at ISU, and I quickly found Gryfalia’s after Ken first opened.  It’s how we came to be friends – me shopping in the store.

Now I want to take the store to the next level – I want to bring in people who have never tried Magic, HeroClix, D&D, or boardgames.   The industry says that we are currently in the golden age of gaming, and yet there are so many people who have never stepped foot in a game store.  I love it when families come in and pick out a game together to play.  I love it when parents tell me they are looking for way to get their son unplugged from the Xbox.  I love it when dad comes in to pick up some Magic singles because he sons got him hooked on Commander over Christmas.  I was working with a couple last week, and the wife insisted that these games were too complicated for her and that she should just stick to Monopoly.  The husband wanted to try something new, and they left with Ticket to Ride and Red Seven.  They were back in yesterday, and after I heard about how much fun they had, they left with Carcassonne and Splendor.

So for all of those reasons, we are going to change the name of the store to make it more open and appealing to the (current) non-gamers (or to the gamer who has never heard of games outside of Clue or Risk), so we can share our way of life with them.  We’re interested in your feedback on this process.  We have 2 names picked out that we have been going back and forth on for a while, and we’re interested in hearing what you think about them.  Our goals with the new name are

  • Easy to say
  • Easy to spell
  • Something we could buy the dot.com website address for
  • Something that we could have an artist create a cool mascot to go with.

Option A – Griffy’s Games

Pros:  A lot of gamers already call the store Griffy’s anyway, it is a nod to the past while looking to the future, and we could have a lot of fun with a gryphon mascot.

Cons:  Spelling could still be an issue.  Asking random people how to spell it, I got Griffy, Gryphie, Gryffie, and Griffie.  I also got opinions that should not be referencing the history, since Ken is no longer involved in the store.

Option B:  Red Raccoon Games

Pros:  Raccoon are curious and fun animals, and again we could have fun with a mascot for the store.  Should not be a spelling issue for anyone above 4th grade.    There is also some nice alliteration going on with the name.

Cons:  Complete break from the past might confuse people who have not been to the store in a while.  We lose industry goodwill towards the previous name.


You can vote for your preference at the poll on Facebook at www.FaceBook.com/GryfaliasAerie or leave comments on this post.  That being said, we may still go against the polling or go with a third name altogether if things just snap into place.  (Also, before anyone asks, Ken & Kristie are still our friends, and Ken has known for a while that we have been talking about a name change – they are not upset by this.)

Thanks for reading this, and thank you for your continued support of local businesses!



1 reply

Comments are closed.