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Subject: What's the deal with Phoenix Games in Minneapolis? rss

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Lothar Feinkelstein
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Does anyone know if they are going out of business or what?

It seems like JUST found out about these guys, and now I see signs saying the store is CLOSING!

I would think that if they were just MOVING, rather than going out of business, the signs would say that, instead. Does anyone know if their online store is going to continue doing business?

-H
 
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Joe Cappello
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Neal, the owner, said last night, Tuesday, that he was closing his business some time in August.

He said that the road work on Lake Street, with its ensuing fees, and recent "gentrification" of the eastern Uptown area (read, higher rent) were the primary reasons for his decision. I'm cynically certain that a Starbucks which sells Cranium will show up there within six months.

He said that he will start building up his current internet business in lieu of continued FLGS existence. He said to be on the lookout for exciting stuff at his website.

The loss of Phoenix Games means that Minneapolis gamers will be left with few good choices in town. The Source on Larpenteur is a great store but it is in St. Paul, not Minneapolis (although it is not too hard to get to).

 
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Mike zebrowski
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There is also Village Games up in Anoka ( http://www.villagegamestowncrier.com ) It is the store that I usually go to even though I'm only 1.5 miles from the Source.
 
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Swood
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Those of us with no local game stores will play a tiny violin for you guys.

I've been to both stores and I must say that The Source is pretty frickin' awesome. The prices stink but the selection is simply staggering. I only wish I had a game store to spend some time and money in.
 
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Lewis Igo
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Ach, it is truly a loss. I have been going to store for 20 something years when I bought my first Basic D&D set.

A classic game store, it will be missed.
 
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SeeKay
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
There is also Village Games up in Anoka ( http://www.villagegamestowncrier.com ) It is the store that I usually go to even though I'm only 1.5 miles from the Source.


ok i'll bite. i've heard of the village up there in anoka but havent made the trek yet. what do you like about it so much that you prefer it to the source?
 
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Neil Cauley
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kennylibido wrote:
Neal, the owner, said last night, Tuesday, that he was closing his business some time in August.

He said that the road work on Lake Street, with its ensuing fees, and recent "gentrification" of the eastern Uptown area (read, higher rent) were the primary reasons for his decision. I'm cynically certain that a Starbucks which sells Cranium will show up there within six months.


Hey guys

Just thought I'd chime in here with some info

Kennylibido is has pretty much gotten it right

PHOENIX GAMES will close the doors on 8/31/07

I just want to clarify a couple of points

1. Phoenix Games IS NOT GOING out of business
We are going to focus on the online Business. Ideally, Neil (The Owner) would rather have a brick and mortar (FLGS, Actual Game shop, etc....)AND an online presence, but it has just become untenable due to the financial realities of staying at the present location. (Not to mention the fact the the ENTIRE street is going to be under construction for the next 5-6 weeks)

2. Neil tried to sell the shop and the sale fell through. No one is at fault, but Neil probably lost ALOT of money waiting 8 weeks trying to keep the shop around under new ownership.

3. There's a GREAT sale going on at Phoenix Game (15-25% off EVERYTHING) all you local gamers might want to head on down there ASAP and take advantage.

I also want to let everyone know that PHOENIX GAMES Online (www.phoenixgamesonline.com) does have some BIG plans in store starting in Early August.
Sign up for the newsletter to be kept informed

Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions

Kevin Johnson
Manager
www.phoenixgamesonline.com
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Mike zebrowski
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kuocal wrote:
Mike Zebrowski wrote:
There is also Village Games up in Anoka ( http://www.villagegamestowncrier.com ) It is the store that I usually go to even though I'm only 1.5 miles from the Source.


ok i'll bite. i've heard of the village up there in anoka but havent made the trek yet. what do you like about it so much that you prefer it to the source?


They are open until Midnight for gaming. In fact, I'm heading up there tonight for some miniatures gaming.

Mike Z
 
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Diane Close
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
There is also Village Games up in Anoka ...
They are open until Midnight for gaming.


According to their webpage they are open to MEMBERS (a $30 fee) until Midnight (weekdays). Everyone else they kick out at 10 pm (that's what it says).
 
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Roland Wood
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pdclose wrote:
According to their webpage they are open to MEMBERS (a $30 fee) until Midnight (weekdays). Everyone else they kick out at 10 pm (that's what it says).


Whoa. Hope that's not a gripe or a statement of criticism--hard to tell your tone from what you typed. If the store is open until midnight for gaming then someone has to stay that long to tend things. If the $30 is a membership fee that lasts a number of months for access to gaming tables that are available on any given weeknight until Midnight--that is a pretty sweet resource (given that the atmosphere is clean and professional which the time of day and fee would pretty much provide.)

My town has one small store that sells mostly CCGs and D&D and while they offer free table space it is definitely not the sort of place anyone without tattoos, body piercings, BO, splotchy facial hair, or shoulder length greasy hair would want to use for a gamenight. Add to that the seeming prerequisite that all sentences must contain some form of profanity along with references to skating, Grand Theft Auto, D&D, or My Space and it becomes more clear how a $30 membership fee to weed out the teenagers could be a good thing...
 
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Diane Close
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Roliander wrote:
pdclose wrote:
According to their webpage they are open to MEMBERS (a $30 fee) until Midnight (weekdays). Everyone else they kick out at 10 pm (that's what it says).


Whoa. Hope that's not a gripe or a statement of criticism--hard to tell your tone from what you typed.


No, it's not a gripe, it's just full disclosure. As a non-member I want the full story, so I don't go to the store expecting member-benefits and being disappointed when I don't get them.
 
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Alex
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Don't forget Unicorn Games in Oakdale (east metro) that stays open till 10 p.m. regularly.
That takes some cojones in the burbs. They also have a sandbox, though nothing like what Phoenix had.

Sorry folks, but Phoenix Online doesn't do it for me. No offense, but there are a gazillion online retailers already.
I want a place to play and congregate.
I encourage Phoenix to give it a shot elsewhere with a brick-and-mortar store, but understand if that won't fly.

Also in the west metro, there's Universe Games in Richfield and Dreamer's in St. Louis Park. Also heard of Monster Den, but I've never been there.


 
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Paul Schulzetenberg
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Neil, the store owner, was already planning to get out of the brick and mortar business with the recent sale. He looked into moving to Minnetonka, but said that he would be losing up to 80% of his customer base by doing so, and he thought that it just wasn't worth it.

Whatever the circumstances, I'm going to miss Phoenix.
 
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Evan Stegman
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The worst part about it is losing the Tuesday boardgame night.

Always enough people to play, people open to just about any type of game and not cliquish like other stores games nights I won't mention by name.

Fortunately, there are couple of alternatives for Tuesday nights.

Dreamers in St. Louis Park and Universe Games in Richfield.

I will be switching to Universe mostly because Dreamers only carries very few boardgames and I like to buy sometimes and because Richfield is more centrally located and convenient for me.

I encourage the regular Phoenix Tuesday night gamers to switch to one of these two once Phoenix is gone and keep the Tuesday night gaming going.
 
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Slyvanian Frog
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I had previously stood up for Phoenix Games's retail location, but having gone there a couple of times in the past six months, I'm not that depressed to see them go. It had, in my opinion, become the stereotypical game store. Dingy, dirty, and one where it was hard to figure out exactly where things were, while no one seemed to really want to engage or offer customers (other than "regulars" I'm sure) help. It was kind of depressing, because I used to go there years before, and remembered it more fondly.

Anyway, my new favorite spot is Universe Games, around 76th and Penn. No, it does not have the selection of the Source, but the help seems a lot friendlier, and they do generally seem to have the "normal" items in stock (Fantasy Flight Games stuff and expansions, Euros, etc.). Plus the store is relatively clean, well lit, and seems to have a nice buzz to it.

Finally, they appear to give 20% off on MSRP as a standard practice. Which is good enough for me to buy from them when I am in the area, instead of going online.
 
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Evan Stegman
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I had done a survey (see below) of most of the local gamestores for a meetup.com boardgame group I belong to and Universe came out with the best prices.

The downside is that that they didn't have nearly the selection that Phoenix & Source had. It hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it appears that they pretty much ordered their entire stock all at once and don't really add to it. A couple of the biggest sellers of recent months - Age of Empires, Zooleretto - still haven't appeared in the store. I don't think I've seen a title in there now that wasn't there when I originally did the survey four months ago.

(This was a followup to a similiar survey I did for some online retailers. Rainydaygames is included because they are are an online retailer that are located locally and allow you to save shipping costs by arranging to pick it up at their location. I visited Dreamers but didn't include them because they only carry 20 or so titles so barely even counts as a boardgame store.)
---------------------
It looked like if you were going to spend over $125, the online discounters can save you money but that if you were only buying one or two games, shipping and handling could easily eat that up.

So, as promised I compared the prices of some local game stores plus RainyDayGames.us.

Stores:

RD = RainyDayGames.us (Bloomington)
Un = Universe Games (Richfield)
So = The Source (Falcon Heights)
Ph = Phoenix Games (Minneapolis)
GJ = Games by James (in various Twin Cities' malls)


I only used 8 of the 11 games I used for the online comparison because none of the stores had Gheos and Goa and Pillars of the Earth were both carried by only one store each.

Both The Source and Phoenix Games have frequent buyer programs which give up to 10% off of the prices. The prices for the comparisons below are the marked prices minus 10%. Keep in mind, because of the way the programs work, odds are you will never get the full 10% (more on why that is discussed after the comparisons) and maybe not even close but this price comparison uses the theoretical best price possible.

(+% = % over lowest priced)

- - - - -
Ticket to Ride

RD = 28.95 (---) (out of stock)
Un = 31.95 (+10%)
Ph = 36.00 (+24%)
So = 40.50 (+40%)
GJ = 44.99 (+55%)

- - - - -
Hansa

RD = 21.30 (---)
Un = n/a
Ph = 26.99 (+27%)
So = 26.95 (+27%)
GJ = n/a

- - - - -
Funny Friends

RD = n/a
Un = n/a
Ph = 31.45 (---)
So = 31.45 (---)
GJ = 34.99 (+11%)

- - - - -
Princes of Florence

RD = 28.95 (---)
Un = 31.95 (+10%)
Ph = 35.96 (+24%)
So = 35.96 (+24%)
GJ = 39.99 (+38%)

- - - - -
Shogun

RD = 49.95 (---)
Un = 51.99 (+04%)
Ph = 58.46 (+17%)
So = 59.36 (+19%)
GJ = 64.99 (+30%)

- - - - -
Robo Rally

RD = 38.26 (---)
Un = 39.95 (+04%)
Ph = 45.00 (+18%)
So = 45.00 (+18%)
GJ = 49.99 (+30%)

- - - - -
Tigris & Euphrates

RD = 35.57 (---) (out of stock)
Un = 39.95 (+12%)
Ph = 45.00 (+27%)
So = 45.00 (+27%)
GJ = 49.99 (+41%)

- - - - -
Emira

RD = n/a
Un = n/a
Ph = 40.5 (---)
So = 40.5 (---)
GJ = n/a

- - - - -
Selection

Based on those games, ranking of how many games did each store have in stock:

1t Ph = 8 (plus they had Goa)
1t So = 8 (plus they had Pillars of the Earth)
3t RD = 6
3t GJ = 6
5. Un = 5

In terms of what you will find if you go there (or to Rainy Days web site) Phoenix and Source have the most eurogame titles. It is really close but if I had to guess, I would say Phoenix probably has an edge.

And in reality, Universe games carries a heck of a lot more eurogames than Games by James they just happened to missing a few on this particular list.

I assigned a value of 100 to Phoenix for the number of titles I estimate they carry and, for comparison, gave a relative value based on my estimation of how many titles the other stores carry.

Selection ranking:

1. Ph = 100
2. So = 90
3. RD = 75
4. Un = 40
5. GJ = 10

- - - - -
Price

Ignoring that RainyDay lists Ticket To Ride as out of stock, there were 5 games all the stores carried.

Rank according to the total price of those 5 games:

1. RD 181.20 (---)
2. Un 195.80 (+08%)
3. Ph 220.41 (+22%)
4. So 225.81 (+25%)
5. GJ 379.42 (+38%)

- - - - - - -
Discount Programs

Both The Source and Phoenix Games offer discount programs that, in theory, give 10% off the marked prices. But its not that simple.



The Source

You pay $10 for a card that gives you 10% off of the marked price for 1 year.

The problem is, because of that initial cost, how much you save is a direct function of how much you spend.

If you spend $100, you would get $10 off. Less the cost of the card, your savings are 0%.

If you spend $200, you would get $20 off. Less the cost of the card, your savings are 5%.

If you spend $500, you would get $50 off. Less the cost of the card, your savings are 8%.

If you spend $1000, you would get $10 off. Less the cost of the card, your savings are 9%.

The less you spend, the less the discount is. And it takes over $1000 of spending to get within even 1% of the theoretical 10% off.



Phoenix Games

You just sign up and for each $10 you spend you get a 'punch' on your card. When you hit 10 punches, you get a certificate worth $10. So in theory, if you spent $100, you get 10% off.

The problem is rounding. I you spend $44, you will get four punches.

Let's you've made two prior purchases. Both times you spent $44 and got four punches each time. Next time you go in you spend $20. You get your last two punches and a certificate for $10 off.

You spent a total of $108 so your savings are 9.3%.

I don't think they have an explicit rounding policy but I think they usually round down unless you get into the $7 to $8 range.

But sometimes it works in your favor. E.g., I had a clerk round my $37.XX up to four punches.

Since the rounding works both ways, I suspect your actual savings are usually going to be in the 8 - 11% range.

- - - - - - - -
Overall

There are other factors that should be weighed into the decision of where to buy.

Location - if the pickup location is too far, you can eat up any savings in gas.

Regularity - If you shop at one of the stores with a discount program, you save money. If you don't shop there very often, the savings could be non-existent.

Excluding those factors, this is how I would evaluate the options:

#1 RainyDayGames.us

If they have it, they will have the best price. The only downside (besides a slightly limited selection) is that there is no storefront so you can't just waltz in and pick something up. You have to arrange for pick up ahead of time and I doubt weekends are an option.

#2 Universe Games

If RD doesn't have it, check here. Odds are, the price will be within 4 - 10% of RDs price but selection is somewhat limited.

#3 Phoenix Games

Best bet to find a game those others don't have. Price will be 15 - 25% higher than RDs. Higher if you don't spend $100 over time.

#4 The Source

If Phoenix doesn't carry it, The Source might (and vice versa). If you don't have a discount card it will cost pretty much the same as Games by James.

#5 Games by James

Full retail price (and sometimes more. Fluxx is marked $12 right on the box. GbJ prices it at $12.95). The only saving grace is that they are in a bunch of malls so its conceivable that the convenience may be worth the extra cost under some specific circumstances.
----------------
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Pete Lane
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I will say as well, for competitive gaming, Monster Den (owned by Jason of Dreamers fame) is a very friendly environment and not far from Uptown. Great for Tourney AND casual Magic players, minis, x-box, and role players. If enough people start pestering them, possibly they'll carry board games again in the wake of the loss of Phoenix.

http://www.dreamersgames.com/
 
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Diane Close
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EvanMinn wrote:
... Universe came out with the best prices.

The downside is that that they didn't have nearly the selection that Phoenix & Source had. It hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it appears that they pretty much ordered their entire stock all at once and don't really add to it.


If you talk to their staff you'll find out that you can ask that they order stuff, AND if they can get it (ie. if their distributor carries it), they'll bring it in at 20% off -- that's right, there's no price raising for special orders.
 
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Chad Egbert
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It would be great if they had a boardgame night. I've stopped in there before; they have plenty of large tables and open space for it.

stagger lee wrote:
I will say as well, for competitive gaming, Monster Den (owned by Jason of Dreamers fame) is a very friendly environment and not far from Uptown. Great for Tourney AND casual Magic players, minis, x-box, and role players. If enough people start pestering them, possibly they'll carry board games again in the wake of the loss of Phoenix.

http://www.dreamersgames.com/
 
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Evan Stegman
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pekin2121 wrote:
It would be great if they had a boardgame night. I've stopped in there before; they have plenty of large tables and open space for it.

stagger lee wrote:
I will say as well, for competitive gaming, Monster Den (owned by Jason of Dreamers fame) is a very friendly environment and not far from Uptown. Great for Tourney AND casual Magic players, minis, x-box, and role players. If enough people start pestering them, possibly they'll carry board games again in the wake of the loss of Phoenix.

http://www.dreamersgames.com/


When I was doing my survey of local stores, I stopped by the Den and the owner happened to be there.

I got the impression that while he is wide open to the possibility of boardgame events, it really is a M:TG (and other collectible games) shop. That it is unlikely that he would put the effort behind gettting things going, but if someone else were to, he would be fully cooperative.

But it is unlikely they will stock more boardgames (there only had a couple of Axis & Allies games when I was there) as it is owned by the same people that own Dreamers. Dreamers has at most a couple of dozen games. The profits to be made off a larger boardgame stock don't compare to what they can make off collectible games so I got the impression they feel it just isn't worth it.
 
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Evan Stegman
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pdclose wrote:
EvanMinn wrote:
... Universe came out with the best prices.

The downside is that that they didn't have nearly the selection that Phoenix & Source had. It hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it appears that they pretty much ordered their entire stock all at once and don't really add to it.


If you talk to their staff you'll find out that you can ask that they order stuff, AND if they can get it (ie. if their distributor carries it), they'll bring it in at 20% off -- that's right, there's no price raising for special orders.


Actually, I always hate it when I go into a store, ask if they have something, and they say, 'No, but we can order it for you.'.

So what? I can order it too.

If it is going to have to be ordered and and I have to wait for it to arrive anyway, what do I need the store for?

Stores get my business when either I want it *right now* and I can just drive over and pick it up or when I am in a store browsing and run across a game I have been thinking about getting and decide then and there to pull the trigger on the purchase.

You want my business, stock what I want to buy. If it has to be ordered, I'll just do it myself.

I don't expect stores to stock every obscure thing I want but I at least expect them to carry the big sellers like Age of Empires or Zooleretto.
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Lothar Feinkelstein
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Wow, thanks. That's everything I needed to know and a bit more, frankly.

I'm sorry to have found out about Phoenix so late in the game (pun intended).

-H
 
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Ouch. I wish somebody had posted this info last week in response to my post asking for places to play near Bloomington. See http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1604928#1604928

While I am *extremely* grateful to Diane for inviting me into her home, enjoyed meeting several new friends, and had a great time gaming with them, I would have much preferred to drive 8 minutes from my hotel rather than 80 minutes through a construction warzone to play on last Tuesday night.








EvanMinn wrote:
The worst part about it is losing the Tuesday boardgame night.

Always enough people to play, people open to just about any type of game and not cliquish like other stores games nights I won't mention by name.

Fortunately, there are couple of alternatives for Tuesday nights.

Dreamers in St. Louis Park and Universe Games in Richfield.

I will be switching to Universe mostly because Dreamers only carries very few boardgames and I like to buy sometimes and because Richfield is more centrally located and convenient for me.

I encourage the regular Phoenix Tuesday night gamers to switch to one of these two once Phoenix is gone and keep the Tuesday night gaming going.
 
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Thjodbjorn K.
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Is universe still open? I seem to have not been able to find them last time I went by...

It is very sad to see phoenix closing. At least there will still be the online store.

I'm beginning to not care very much for Uptown. Borders, Orr books, Phoenix... nuts to this! If I want a condo, or a horrible bar, I'm in luck, though!
 
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Diane Close
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EvanMinn wrote:
pdclose wrote:
If you talk to their staff you'll find out that you can ask that they order stuff, AND if they can get it (ie. if their distributor carries it), they'll bring it in at 20% off -- that's right, there's no price raising for special orders.


Actually, I always hate it when I go into a store, ask if they have something, and they say, 'No, but we can order it for you.'.

So what? I can order it too.


Yup, but if you only one a game or two, this saves you the shipping cost and still gets you the game at a discount. I agree it's not the most convenient, but it IS an option, so I thought I'd throw it out there for completeness.
 
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