On this day of Thanksgiving, I would like to share and thank other comic book stores I am grateful to. From moral support to sale ideas, these shops have influenced and helped me shape Brian’s Comics.
Comics For The Win (Santa Rosa, CA) is at the top of the list for all the moral support and for being there from the beginning. Owner, Kris Bartolome and his crew at Comics FTW have been open for 8 years and was the shop I frequented before I opened my shop. From day one, Kris was completely supportive of Brian’s Comics and of me. From helping learn to navigate the ordering system of our distributor to checking in every week, he has been a constant source of support, humor, and advice. And, it’s bittersweet… just a few weeks ago, Kris announced that Comics FTW will be closing at the end of the month. The community is losing a great comic book shop. It’s hard to run your own business, even when you are surrounded by comic books all day. I will miss the support system that we built for each other. We will remain friends, but I will deeply miss our “sister” shop.
Flying Colors Comics (Concord, CA) for the words of wisdom when opening. Owner Joe Field is a well-known name in the comic book retailer world. It just so happens that his shop, Flying Colors, is near me. When I was looking to open my shop, I stopped in a couple of times. It’s always a good idea to see how other shops run and have their stores laid out. Joe was always welcoming, not just to me, but to anyone who enters Flying Colors. Joe really cares about comic books and the health of the industry. A few months after I opened, I ran into him at San Diego Comic Con. He asked how the shop was going and talked to me about the complications of running a shop. We have since seen each other a number of times at meetings and conventions, but I will always be grateful for his words of advice in the beginning.
Memory Lane Comics (Wilmington, NC) for the fill a bag sale idea. As I mentioned above, it’s a good idea to check out other shops. Visits can give you thoughts about how to organize your own shop or even ideas for promotions. When I was in North Caroline a few years ago, I went in to Memory Lane Comics and talked to the guys there. They run a great shop and one thing that caught my eye was the “fill a bag” promotion for getting rid of overstock. I thought this was a great idea and borrowed it for Brian’s Comics. You can’t always think of ideas on your own, so gaining knowledge or ideas from your peers is invaluable.
Cape and Cowl Comics’ (Oakland, CA) owner, Eitan Manhoff for partnering up at retailer meetings. Going to my first retailer meeting was more than a little intimidating. When I was traveling to Portland for a 3-day retailer meeting, and it turned out I was on the same flight as Joe from Flying Colors and Eitan. It was so great to be able to talk to them about what to expect. And Eitan went above and beyond in helping me out, and is one of the most kind and generous people I have ever met. He introduced me to a lot of other shop owners and gave me tips on getting the most out of my time at the meeting and ideas for my own shop. It’s a good idea to network and get to know other shop owners. After all, we’re all in this together.
Shout outs to the folks at Bridge City Comics (Portland, OR), Chapel Hill Comics (Chapel Hill, NC—now closed), Collector’s Corner (Baltimore, MD), Comicopia (Boston, MA), Cosmic Monkey Comics (Portland, OR), Downtown Comics (Indianapolis, IN), St. Mark’s Comics (New York, NY), and Super-Fly Comics & Games (Yellow Springs, OH) who warmly welcomed Jennifer (my wife and Brian’s Comics co-owner) to their shops during her travels and were generous with their advice and support for our young and scrappy shop! And to our Italian friends at Mister Neko, Comics & Discs Cortelloni and Panini Store (Florence, Italy) for showing us that comics know no borders.
Thank you to all of shops mentioned above, and all of those that Jennifer and I have visited over the years. Every comic book shop has its own personality and appeals to different demographics. I would like to thank all of YOU, too. Shops like ours rely on your support and loyalty, and we can’t do it without you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!