My regular comics shop, Comics Conspiracy, closed for the weekend in order to do a major remodel – the biggest they’ve done in the 9 years I’ve been going there: They replaced the old dark red carpet with a lighter brown carpet, and rearranged the bookcases so they’re all up along the walls rather than forming little alcoves along the side of the store. As a result they were able to move the back issue bins to the middle of the room, providing much wider aisles on either side. Add a few new bookshelves and the place looks brighter and as nice as it has while I’ve been going.
The owner, Ryan, started as an employee there a couple of years before I moved to the area, and he’s been there through two previous owners. He bought the place from the last owner, Ken, last year. (Ken still comes by to work every so often, but his regular job doesn’t let him come by on Wednesdays anymore, so I rarely see him, which is too bad because Ken’s a fun guy, but that’s the way it goes, I guess.) Ken was into action figures and statues, while Ryan is more of a pure comics guy, and that’s the way he’s taking the store (though he says some action figures are still good to have to sell to kids).
(Incidentally, the store’s owner when I first started going there was the late comics writer Doug Miers. He published comics through a separate Comics Conspiracy imprint. I never really knew him, though, since he sold the store to Ken soon after I started going there.)
I remember their last really big remodel, when they moved the new comics racks from the front of the store to the back. It took me a while to realize they did it so that customers would have to walk through the store and see all the merchandise when picking up their weekly books. “Retail 101” Ryan called this when I mentioned this to him tonight.
I commented when I walked in that the place smelled like new carpet and paint – a smell I said is good for 2 months or 200 high school students, whichever comes first, since there’s a high school across the street.
The comic book market collapse of the late 90s – not to mention the economic ups and downs since then – have wreaked havoc on area comics stores, but several good ones have survived. Hopefully CC will continue to survive and prosper.
Here are some photos of the store. The guy in black in the second photo is Ryan, who was still restocking the shelves when I went by.
I just happened to take these photos when the store was nearly empty. There were about a half-dozen people when I arrived, and a couple more showed up after I snapped these. Once in a while I go by after running errands over lunch and there are several other Apple employees also picking up their weekly fix there.