By: Business in Milwaukee, WI


Milwaukee, WI, a vibrant city located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, boasts a diverse population and a thriving business landscape. This article explores the prospects of starting a board game store in Milwaukee, including the potential return on investment and suitable locations for such a venture.

Demographics and Residential Distribution

Milwaukee is the largest city in Wisconsin, with a population of approximately 590,000 residents. The city is known for its diverse demographic makeup, including African Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians, contributing to a rich cultural tapestry. The residential distribution is relatively dispersed, with notable neighborhoods such as the Historic Third Ward, East Side, and Bay View. These areas are known for their unique character, strong sense of community, and high levels of foot traffic.

Commercial Zones and Business Districts

Milwaukee features several prominent commercial zones and business districts, offering a range of opportunities for opening a board game store. The Historic Third Ward is a popular destination known for its boutique shops, art galleries, and trendy restaurants. The East Side is a bustling area with a vibrant nightlife and a large student population due to the presence of the University of WisconsinMilwaukee. Bay View, located south of downtown, is an emerging neighborhood attracting young professionals with its mix of local businesses, restaurants, and public parks.

Viability of the Board Game Store Industry

The board game industry has experienced a remarkable resurgence in recent years, driven by a renewed interest in offline social activities and the nostalgia associated with traditional gaming. Board game cafes and stores have become community hubs, attracting customers seeking social interaction and a break from digital screens. This trend provides a solid foundation for the potential success of a board game store in Milwaukee, WI.

Investment and Return on Investment

The initial investment required to open a board game store in Milwaukee can vary depending on factors such as location, store size, inventory, and overall concept. While specific figures can vary significantly, a rough estimate suggests an investment range of $50,000 to $100,000. This includes expenses such as rent, store setup, inventory acquisition, marketing, and staffing.

When managed efficiently and catering to the diverse demographics of Milwaukee, a wellrun board game store has the potential to generate a substantial return on investment. Revenue streams can come from direct sales of board games, merchandise, memberships, organized gaming events, and even food and drinks if the concept includes a cafe component. It is crucial to develop a comprehensive business plan that considers local competition, pricing strategies, and marketing efforts to maximize profitability.

Ideal Locations for a Board Game Store

To ensure visibility, foot traffic, and a steady customer base, it is essential to carefully select the location for a board game store in Milwaukee. Here are some areas that would be suitable for setting up shop:

  1. Historic Third Ward: This trendy neighborhood attracts locals and tourists alike, making it an ideal location for a board game store. Its vibrant atmosphere, boutiques, and art galleries would provide ample foot traffic and potential customers.
  2. East Side: With its proximity to the University of WisconsinMilwaukee, the East Side has a strong student presence. A board game store in this area could tap into the demand for entertainment and social spaces.
  3. Bay View: An upandcoming neighborhood with a strong sense of community, Bay View offers an opportunity to cater to young professionals and families seeking unique entertainment options.


The board game store industry presents an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in opening a business in Milwaukee, WI. With a diverse population, thriving commercial zones, and neighborhoods with strong community ties, the city offers a conducive environment for a board game store to thrive. Careful planning, strategic location selection, and creating a vibrant, engaging space can help maximize the return on investment and attract a loyal customer base.