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  1. #46
    indie snob Brandon Hanvey's Avatar
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    Spinner racks are fun, but I prefer shelves so I can easily see all the covers.

  2. #47
    indie snob Brandon Hanvey's Avatar
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    Oh yeah I forgot to mention that some publishers give big discounts to shop owners at APE. I think Top Shelf does something like 60% off cover.

  3. #48
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    First of all, be prepared for a few things every time you turn your computer on.

    You will be constantly blamed for every problem in the industry. Comic Shops are the root of all evil, according to fan message boards.

    People will constantly link to sites that have absurd discounts on the products you carry. Not that that equals lost sales, but it still stings.

    Every store is entirely different. ENTIRELY. Listen to advice, but if it doesn't make sense, don't sweat it.

    As an example of how wildly different things are:

    Quote Originally Posted by Iangould View Post

    The publishers are not your friends.
    I not only have a great working relationship with several large publishers (book and comic), I consider many of those guys personal friends. Publishers like Top Shelf, DC, Fantagraphics, and D&Q have only ever helped us out, above and beyond the call of duty.

    At the end of the day, we're all in it together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iangould View Post

    Nobody ever went broke selling out.
    I have seen a store close because it couldn't keep current monthlies in stock.

    In this market (NYC), if you are regularly sold out of books that people are looking for, they will walk to the Barnes and Nobles five blocks away, the independent bookseller one block over, or (very likely, if they're comics fans) go to Midtown Comics, just a train ride away. And you will probably never see them again.


    I'm not saying Ian is wrong- just that different markets live by drastically different rules.

    The best thing you can do is learn your market, inside and out, and know your customers.

  4. #49
    Vagrant Beatnikman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Omega View Post
    The best thing you can do is learn your market, inside and out, and know your customers.
    I think this is the key to why the store has been successful for 13 years. The owner knows his people, and understands his community. He knows what the competition is doing, and fills voids in the market.

    As a comic buyer, I had to start blocking out an hour in my calendar each week to pick up comics, just because I'd hang out in the store and talk to Greg. I'm starting to be able to do some of that with people who regularly come in during the shifts I'm working there now.

    Thanks for the input, Kam. I am certainly not going to try to duplicate your store here, but there are definitely some ideas and some principles that are relevant.

  5. #50
    CotM Member Puma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beatnikman View Post
    Nope. The other one. Clubhouse Comics and Cards. It's on Soquel, over by the Buttery and Shopper's Corner.

    You oughta stop by sometime. Right now I'm working there Friday afternoons and Sundays, but soon enough I'll be there almost every day.
    Okay, I know the place. Heavy on the trading cards/little light on the comics the last time I was there (which has been quite a while).
    What have I always believed? That, on the whole, and by and large, if a person lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out ok.

    "In 1996, I was 36. And you're still a frothing moonbat." ~Paradox

  6. #51
    Veteran Member Alex L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beatnikman View Post
    Despite a very different kind of town, there's plenty to learn from what Alex is doing.

    I've got a whirlwind tour planned for early next month, just to try to hit as many different stores in NoCal as I can in a couple days.
    I visit two stores in San Francisco -- Cards & Comics Central (where I used to work) and they're one of those "carry everything nerd-related" shops -- comics, sports cards, CCG's, manga and anime.

    The other (which I actually kind of like better) is Isotope, whose owner actually has a column here on CBR (albeit not updated in a while) and his store is visually kind of cool.

    Two somewhat different approaches to running a LCS. Cards & Comics (I would say) appeals a bit more to the collector, as all issues on the shelf are bagged & boarded. Just wall-to-wall stuff, toy displays in the aisles -- maximizing space is the name of the game. Attitude leans just a bit more towards the professional over the friendly.

    Isotope seems more like the place to hang out, more of a quirky design, and he's got a Doctor Strange costume and an astronaut costume just lying around. Ambiance leans a bit more towards friendly over professional.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Hanvey View Post
    Oh yeah.

    My friend, Gary, was in a similar situation. He took over a local SF shop a few years ago. http://comicoutpost.net/
    He has kept it going for close to three years and almost doubled the number of customers from the previous owner.
    You may want to contact him for advice. He is really friendly and loves to talk shop. Just tell him that I told you to contact him.
    I haven't been there in years! The first and only time I went, I got a serious 'buy something or get out NOW' vibe from the guy behind the counter, so I bought the one thing I went in there for and got the hell out of there. I'd probably stop by as it's on the way to the gym, but I don't know if my pocketbook can handle visiting three different LCS's.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheTen-EyedMan View Post
    You will have to deal with the screaming, mewling, whinging, complaining, angry, vicious and cruel mob.

    And that's just the parents.

    God help you with the children.
    I found the children easier to deal with than the adults. :p

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beatnikman View Post
    I just found these on Staples' web site.

    Anybody have an opinion on them, vs. say ... a traditional spinner rack?

    It seems like these might do a better job of keeping the comics in decent condition.
    I have a real problem with spinner racks because they lead to more damaged comics.

    I wouldn't use spinner racks or the staples racks you linked to except for bagged comics or trades.

    For those items, the Staples racks look great. They're compact and presentable and show off the boks reasonably well.

    My absolute favorite way to display new issues is library-style waterfall shelving. Becasue the comics aren't actually standing up, damages are virtually zero.
    Visit the Ace Comics & Games Digital shopfront:
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  8. #53
    indie snob Brandon Hanvey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raikage View Post
    I haven't been there in years! The first and only time I went, I got a serious 'buy something or get out NOW' vibe from the guy behind the counter, so I bought the one thing I went in there for and got the hell out of there. I'd probably stop by as it's on the way to the gym, but I don't know if my pocketbook can handle visiting three different LCS's.
    There were two Comic Outposts. One on Taraval and one on Ocean (Comic Outpost II). The one on Taraval folded. And Gary bought COII a few years ago. The old owners were not he best in terms of customer service. Gary and his staff are really friendly and try to help as best they can.

  9. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Omega View Post



    I not only have a great working relationship with several large publishers (book and comic), I consider many of those guys personal friends. Publishers like Top Shelf, DC, Fantagraphics, and D&Q have only ever helped us out, above and beyond the call of duty.

    At the end of the day, we're all in it together.
    Neil Gaiman apparently once remarked that one of his DC editors told him something along the lines of "The company pays me to be your friend."

    Marvel and DC pay Dave Gabriel and Bob Wayne to be our friends. I have the greatest respect for both men and I think they do a great job of advocating for us within their respective companies.

    But ultimately, he who pays the piper calls the tune.

    If Marvel or DC decide that a course of action which works against the interests of the direct market (like say setting up a download site) is in the best interests of Marvel Enterprises' or Time Warner shareholders, they have a positive duty to act in the best interests of their owners.

    Here's a concrete example of what I'm talking about: I adore Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe. I've stocked it and promoted it far mroe heavily than its sales justify. Indirectly I've probably lost out financially by devoting limited dispaly space and promotional reosurces to the series.

    Similarly, I've got a couple of dollar boxes full of Warren Ellis' lesser works from his "Pop Comics" period.
    Visit the Ace Comics & Games Digital shopfront:
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  10. #55
    Veteran Member K'Nort's Avatar
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    I wonder if one reason the current owner has done so well is the fact that he doesn't read the books himself.

    I've been to shops that couldn't hide their own biases, even to the extent of employees criticizing my purchases when I brought them to the register, and that's a good way to lose a lot of business.

    And I agree that the fact that this is an established business makes all the difference in whether it's a good idea.

  11. #56

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    When you're up here for Wondercon (which I think you kinda gotta if you're going this way), you could do worse than chat up Rory Root and Brian Hibbs, who've been in the biz for a gazillion years; and check out Isotope, which is a lovely store.

    Oh, and no spinner racks. They cheapen a store as well as ruin your stock.
    one of the highest principles of America is that we're a nation of people from different backgrounds living in equal dignity and mutual loyalty - Eboo Patel.

  12. #57
    Vagrant Beatnikman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puma View Post
    Okay, I know the place. Heavy on the trading cards/little light on the comics the last time I was there (which has been quite a while).
    That's the one. And I'm working on it.

    I just got back from working there this afternoon, and by the end of the day I was feeling like "I don't want any kinds of cards!" But that would be dumb, since I think I sold about 6 comics in four hours.

    But I'm working on it!

    And don't be all sneaky when you come in. Y'know ... all secret identity-y, and then come back on here and post about how dumb I am and stuff. 'Cause that would be just plain mean.

  13. #58
    Vagrant Beatnikman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K'Nort View Post
    I wonder if one reason the current owner has done so well is the fact that he doesn't read the books himself.

    I've been to shops that couldn't hide their own biases, even to the extent of employees criticizing my purchases when I brought them to the register, and that's a good way to lose a lot of business.
    I caught myself doing that today, and even though my the stuff I was saying should be readily evident to everyone (Michael Turner doesn't really grasp anatomy, and his storytelling is lacking), I realized that the guy looking at the comics on the shelf might disagree. Fortunately, the owner was still there and I was on the "civilian" side of the counter, so I hope it's okay. But that's a good reminder for me to be careful of the stuff I say. Mostly I just like to ask people why they like certain books, especially ones I don't usually read.

    The problem he runs into with the not-reading comics is sometimes he makes really odd decisions about ordering. For instance, me and a friend of mine both have The Goon on our pull lists, and so he orders ... 2 copies. But like 20 copies of Action Comics (which never sell out). And I think a comic store should pretty much always have "the classics" in stock. I don't want people to come in looking for Watchmen and have to go to Borders or online to find a copy.

  14. #59
    Vagrant Beatnikman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul McEnery View Post
    When you're up here for Wondercon (which I think you kinda gotta if you're going this way),
    Pretty much, yeah. I suppose that means I'll have to hang out with you. Sheesh.

    you could do worse than chat up Rory Root and Brian Hibbs, who've been in the biz for a gazillion years;
    Just point me in the right direction. I'm trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can. And I don't think a lot of guys have a gazillion years of experience from which I can glean insight.

    and check out Isotope, which is a lovely store.
    That's what I hear. I read all the "Comic Pimp" columns, and the store is definitely on my list to check out ASAP.

    Oh, and no spinner racks. They cheapen a store as well as ruin your stock.
    See, and I would have thought "retro chic." But I'll defer to your wisdom.

  15. #60
    Comic Newbie Again big_dippin's Avatar
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    Go for it and good luck. Sounds like a dream come true.

    Read up on the tax side of the business. You should be getting a very nice return when the time comes if all works out.

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