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[US] Bricks and Minifigs

starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
edited October 2016 in Shopping USA/Canada
Right around the same time I discovered Brickset, I also found a local store near me called Bricks and Minifigs. It was founded in my home state of Oregon, but has spread all across the US. They even have their own website (which has tons of info if you want to know more). They only sell real Lego (no MB or knock-offs) and have hundreds of loose minifigures for sales. They mainly sell used sets, but have some NISB. They even do birthday parties!

So I was wondering if any of you fellow Bricksetters have been there and if you like it. Also, since it is a franchise and each one is different, I wanted to know what each one is like and what deals you have found there. I have been to 4 locations so far, 3 in Oregon and 1 in Washington. I find it very useful, even if many of the sets and minifigs are quite overpriced. They even buy and trade, so it comes in handy when I want to unload unwanted freebies. What do you guys think? May the force be with you when responding...

Comments

  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    Also just realized that they even have 1 store in Canada, for you folks up North. 
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,323
    We have one here in Madison and it for sure does not carry only LEGO. It has plenty of clone brands for stuff like sports figs and other randomness. It only deals in LEGO for new/used sets though.

    I've seen some decent deals on used sets in there. The NIB stuff has a fairly large markup, which is harder to swallow the more recently the set was released.

    What I've mainly used it for is the bulk tables. They have been awesome for finding random parts, especially larger plates. I like being able to pack them by the bag as well, rather than mess with trying to fit all the parts in a round cup like PAB.
    SprinkleOtterkiki180703
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    Wow, all the stores I've been to only carry real Lego. It may just be because they are so close to the original, but that's strange!
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,323
    Wow, all the stores I've been to only carry real Lego. It may just be because they are so close to the original, but that's strange!
    It's a very limited selection. Mainly sports-related stuff.

    They also carry a ton of custom printed figs and tiles at our location. They had some very nice pad-printed Super Hero figs the other day when I was in there.
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    The one here in Albuquerque carries Brick Arms stuff but pretty much everything else is pure. I've bought several used sets of good quality for very competitive prices. MFs are a bit pricy but that's to be expected to pay for their overhead. They do birthday parties, LUG meetings, special build events and have a good stock of rotating bulk. Lucky to have one by me, wish I had more time to spend there. 
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    Yes, they had brick arms weapons at most of the stores that I've been to, now that I think about it. 
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,396
    I just wish I had a store near me (or even in the same state/a state I am likely to travel to)...
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,396
    How large of an area does the bulk stuff get? Any chance someone can take a picture sometime?
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    It's on their website, but they have multiple tables full of bulk. It's quite helpful, and quicker than bricklink.
    datsunrobbiekiki180703
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,396
    It's on their website, but they have multiple tables full of bulk. It's quite helpful, and quicker than bricklink.
    I have looked at their website, but I had assume there is a difference between a nice, well-stocked picture for their website and what you would actually find in a store.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 910
    I've looked at the Facebook page for the store in Southington, CT, but did not see anything that inspired me to drive 45 minutes to get there.
  • solid_stridersolid_strider TexasMember Posts: 177
    The one closest to me in Plano, TX just celebrated their one year anniversary.  The owners are very cool, and there are some good deals to be had sometimes.  They don't seem to have a problem with stocking too.  The only non-official product they have at that store is Brick Arms.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,097
    edited October 2016
    I have been to 3 locations here in Oregon. It's really cool that these stores exist (I've considering opening a similar store for years now), but honestly the target customer isn't AFOLs. Outside of gatherings (they often host LUGs, etc.), and finding some gems in the bulk tables if you need just a few things and/or right away, as an AFOL you know that you are overpaying if you buy from these stores.  Sets, minifigs, and bulk are all generally more expensive than can be found online - certainly for current sets, but even for retired stuff and loose minifigs.

    The stores fill a great niche for parents/kids in general who want to pick up some loose figures here and there, or buy some bulk brick for their kids to play with, or host a birthday party; but AFOLs who spend a lot of money on LEGO generally know how to find much more for their dollar.
  • mmac2002mmac2002 DFWMember Posts: 9
    ^^ I have had nothing but positive experiences at the Plano, TX location. Great owners. Helpful staff. Great selection.
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    edited October 2016
    One time I got the #7134 A-Wing from 2000 for retail with all pieces present and in good condition. It even came with instructions. I was wondering, has anyone else found any good deals like this at their store?
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    I bought a Grand Carousel for $575 complete with box and extra pieces a few years ago when the going rate was around $700. Currently there is a nice quality used IF for $475 with manual (no box). Lots of other small stuff for my kids that was ~80-90% BL prices before shipping. If also bought some peices and MFs but not really at any discount, probably higher than I could get elsewhere but I like to support local small businesses. 
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 3,743 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 10,309
    dougts said:
    I have been to 3 locations here in Oregon. It's really cool that these stores exist (I've considering opening a similar store for years now), but honestly the target customer isn't AFOLs. Outside of gatherings (they often host LUGs, etc.), and finding some gems in the bulk tables if you need just a few things and/or right away, as an AFOL you know that you are overpaying if you buy from these stores.  Sets, minifigs, and bulk are all generally more expensive than can be found online - certainly for current sets, but even for retired stuff and loose minifigs.

    The stores fill a great niche for parents/kids in general who want to pick up some loose figures here and there, or buy some bulk brick for their kids to play with, or host a birthday party; but AFOLs who spend a lot of money on LEGO generally know how to find much more for their dollar.
    A fellow Bricksetter and I did some number crunching and wanted to see if opening a store would be feasible. We both agreed that running a store would take up more time than we wanted to put into such a venture; that and the overhead.
    SumoLegokiki180703pharmjod
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,097
    Pitfall69 said:
    dougts said:
    I have been to 3 locations here in Oregon. It's really cool that these stores exist (I've considering opening a similar store for years now), but honestly the target customer isn't AFOLs. Outside of gatherings (they often host LUGs, etc.), and finding some gems in the bulk tables if you need just a few things and/or right away, as an AFOL you know that you are overpaying if you buy from these stores.  Sets, minifigs, and bulk are all generally more expensive than can be found online - certainly for current sets, but even for retired stuff and loose minifigs.

    The stores fill a great niche for parents/kids in general who want to pick up some loose figures here and there, or buy some bulk brick for their kids to play with, or host a birthday party; but AFOLs who spend a lot of money on LEGO generally know how to find much more for their dollar.
    A fellow Bricksetter and I did some number crunching and wanted to see if opening a store would be feasible. We both agreed that running a store would take up more time than we wanted to put into such a venture; that and the overhead.
    yeah, pretty similar to where my calculations have left me.  rent, utilities, taxes, and payroll create a specific overhead number that drives a minimum average daily sales figure that would seem to leave too small of a margin, especially accounting for inventory acquisition costs.  It is obviously workable, but I think location (and low rent) plays a huge part, as does being able to work the store personally instead of hiring a manager (which I couldn't do).

    this also has all the hallmarks of being a fad type business, not something that is sustainable over the long hall.  Of course if you plan for that and have an exit strategy, that can be mitigated.
    pharmjodPitfall69
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    It seems like opening a store would pay off in a few years looking at their prices!
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 910
    edited October 2016
    It seems like opening a store would pay off in a few years looking at their prices!
    Only if they can get people to pay those prices. Another expense to add in is insurance, to cover the inevitable lawsuits when somebody steps on a LEGO brick and decides to sue.
    pharmjodkiki180703Pitfall69
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    edited October 2016
    ^ That is exactly what provoked jaws! =)
    pharmjodkiki180703Pitfall69ClutchPowerAllBrick
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    Just got the #7258 Wookie Attack unopened from the original store in Canby for $85! Compared to ebay that's a pretty good deal!
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,323
    The Madison, WI store has its 1st anniversary today. Bulk bags are BOGO. Got two of the $40 ones, with a nice selection of parts.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,135
    edited October 2016
    interesting idea, but not sure how much they make compared to the overhead of stocking the store, paying employees, etc. They must do OK seeing as they have a chain of stores, but still makes me wonder how much they really are clearing.
    pharmjod
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,323
    Many of the stores are franchises, so ownership varies. I think they see a ton of profit through the bulk. I always see people filling up $60 bags when I'm in there. Those hold just a few pounds of bricks. They do decent on used sets also. A few of my LUG mates have sold to them, and the buy prices are a little on the low side.
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    It seems like every time I am in their store someone is bringing in a box of their kids stuff for cash or store credit. They pay them only a fraction of what it would sell for on the open market, but the parents/kids are happy to get what they can. The old owner once told me that they turned away a lot of bulk
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,225
    Depends on one's idea of doing well. It wouldn't be a replacement for my current income so it was not a viable option for me. I'd say it is not unreasonable to expect to make anywhere from $25k to $60k if you work it yourself. But I think you would need to be in a fairly affluent  area with a pretty good population  density as well. Also, LEGO reselling ain't what it used to be.
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    While it definitely wouldn't pay back right away I believe it would be a good long term investment. Also, many kids go there and get their parents to buy them things all the time just because it's Lego, so it mainly appeals to children who don't know a bad deal when they see one.
  • BrickCreatorBrickCreator Cheesehead, Born and BredMember Posts: 133
    Sorry to bring up an older thread, but I'm thinking of heading to the one in Madison, WI sometime over the holidays. What are the bulk tables like? Is it similar to LEGO Pick-a-Brick wall, but on a table, or are the parts just scattered about? Also, what's the price for a bag and how much do they hold (volume wise). Any info is appreciated!!
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 Washington, USAMember Posts: 544
    edited December 2016
    A B&MF store just opened last month near me. It's been fun to stop in and check out their growing selection. 

    ^As far as the bulk tables, it's nothing like the PaB wall. It's just tables with all sorts of odds and ends tossed in. I've found some decent pieces thus far and the selection seems to move fairly quickly.

    Don't quote me exact on these prices, but from what I recall there are 4 or 5 sizes of containers. The small cup (smaller than a PaB small cup) was ~$8, the large cup (also slightly smaller than a PaB large cup) was ~$16. Then a small, medium, and large bag. I want to say they were $20, $40, and $60. I can't speak very accurately to the volume, but the large bag does seem pretty large. My local store also had pre-made clear cookie jar type containers for $20, $30, and $40. 

    I haven't been brave enough to ask yet, but I'm not sure they'd be too keen with strategic packing methods to maximize space. Just a guess, but I think that would go against what they're trying to accomplish. I'll post back when i find out.

    They also seem to have a nice selection of baseplates and boat hulls for a great price.

    Regarding selling to them, I brought in a bin full of train and monorail pieces. Their cash offer was crazy low. The store credit I thought was fair. Remember, they have to make money too. I just think my store is too over priced. If they're not careful, they'll be gone really soon as there is a Fred Meyer two doors down selling the same stuff for a lot less.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,795
    I would love to see the training that put the franchisees thru. Lesson #1 - Read the past two years worth of threads on Brickset.
    SprinkleOtterSumoLegoPitfall69
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    ^ I believe the second step is teaching the workers how to price. Just take the average ebay price for it and add $10. ;)
    prevereSumoLegoPitfall69
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 Washington, USAMember Posts: 544
    My store has only ever been staffed by the owning couple (minus the TFOLs building sets in the back for display). The owners seem pretty knowledgeable. He mentioned the networking of all the owners when stubborn questions pop up. 
  • UberbrickUberbrick OregonMember Posts: 79
    Is their original store in Canby, Oregon? I'm only 45 minutes from there, and 15 from their other Oregon location.
  • UberbrickUberbrick OregonMember Posts: 79
    A B&MF store just opened last month near me. It's been fun to stop in and check out their growing selection. 

    ^As far as the bulk tables, it's nothing like the PaB wall. It's just tables with all sorts of odds and ends tossed in. I've found some decent pieces thus far and the selection seems to move fairly quickly.

    Don't quote me exact on these prices, but from what I recall there are 4 or 5 sizes of containers. The small cup (smaller than a PaB small cup) was ~$8, the large cup (also slightly smaller than a PaB large cup) was ~$16. Then a small, medium, and large bag. I want to say they were $20, $40, and $60. I can't speak very accurately to the volume, but the large bag does seem pretty large. My local store also had pre-made clear cookie jar type containers for $20, $30, and $40. 

    I haven't been brave enough to ask yet, but I'm not sure they'd be too keen with strategic packing methods to maximize space. Just a guess, but I think that would go against what they're trying to accomplish. I'll post back when i find out.

    They also seem to have a nice selection of baseplates and boat hulls for a great price.

    Regarding selling to them, I brought in a bin full of train and monorail pieces. Their cash offer was crazy low. The store credit I thought was fair. Remember, they have to make money too. I just think my store is too over priced. If they're not careful, they'll be gone really soon as there is a Fred Meyer two doors down selling the same stuff for a lot less.
    I'm totally with you regarding your last paragraph; they buy Lego for waaaay to low. I can attest this to my own experiences, as well as stories from a few other friends who were also appalled :P 
  • starwars4everstarwars4ever The Forest Moon of EndorMember Posts: 369
    Uberbrick said:
    Is their original store in Canby, Oregon? I'm only 45 minutes from there, and 15 from their other Oregon location.
    Yes, the original store is in Canby, and I've got to say probably the most impressive of any of the stores I've seen.
  • UberbrickUberbrick OregonMember Posts: 79
    Uberbrick said:
    Is their original store in Canby, Oregon? I'm only 45 minutes from there, and 15 from their other Oregon location.
    Yes, the original store is in Canby, and I've got to say probably the most impressive of any of the stores I've seen.
    LOL, that's where I lost my remote & train motor from http://brickset.com/sets/7898-1/Cargo-Train-Deluxe 
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