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  1. #1
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    Default Opening a comic shop business

    Hi,
    I plan on opening a comic shop business within the next year. I am 25 yrs old, and have been reading comics since I was 6. My dream has always been to own my own comic shop. I already have a few ideas, some more would be appreciated, but what I really need is any information anyone has on running a comic shop, such as:

    How much does it cost to start?
    Is it profitable?
    How do you order your books, posters, action figures, ect.?
    Should I include gaming in the shop, or keep it strictly comic-related?
    How is the market?

    Any other useful information will be very helpful. I'm only 25, and have no idea where to even start. But, I have $6000 saved up so far. I plan on starting a kiosk business in a nearby mall selling who-knows-what so maybe that can bring in the money I need to start the comic business. I also have a great location in mind, and there isn't a comic shop within a 100 mile radius, and my location is actually a fairly large city, and is growing tremendously, so I feel I need to take advantage of the opportunity. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Loveable retard twilight's Avatar
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    You might want to contact fellow member Slively.

    She runs an internet comic shop called livewireworld so I guess she can clue you in to some of the details.

  3. #3
    indie snob Brandon Hanvey's Avatar
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    How much does it cost to start?
    You'll need at least 6 months starting capital if you are starting from a totaly new store. That includes money for buying books, rent for your store, operating cost. What those costs are depends on the area you are in and the amount of stock you want to provide.

    Is it profitable?
    Making money off comics is hard. Your profits are going to be slight if any since the market for comics is not the best and the profits on new books are a set price. But if you have a loyal cliente and market your store correctly, you can turn a profit.


    How do you order your books, posters, action figures, ect.?
    You have to set up an account with Diamond Distributors. They handle most of the orders for comics and related products in the US.

    Should I include gaming in the shop, or keep it strictly comic-related?
    You should include what you think will make your business profitable.

    How is the market?
    The market for comics is the not the best. If you do not have a good business plan and idea about what you are doing, you would be best to save your money and use it else where

    This is a business and not just fun and games. $6000 is a good start, but that will not last long when operating costs pile up. My best advice would be to talk to actual store owners and not just comics store owners on how to run a business. You might also want to talk to a business advisor on how to just set-up and run your busniess.

  4. #4
    Were You There? Michael P's Avatar
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    Imagine yourself setting fire to $30,000. If this image does not reduce you to gibbering and tears, you have the intestinal fortitude to open your own comics store.
    "If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." - Alice Roosevelt Longworth, on manners

    "It's not whether you win or lose, it's whether I win or lose." - Peter David, on life

  5. #5
    Here we ..... go DennyK's Avatar
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    If you're seriously planning on opening a store within a year, you should already know the answers to your questions.

  6. #6
    Stalking Natalie Portman Prelude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Lord
    Any other useful information will be very helpful. I'm only 25, and have no idea where to even start. But, I have $6000 saved up so far. I plan on starting a kiosk business in a nearby mall selling who-knows-what so maybe that can bring in the money I need to start the comic business. I also have a great location in mind, and there isn't a comic shop within a 100 mile radius, and my location is actually a fairly large city, and is growing tremendously, so I feel I need to take advantage of the opportunity. Thanks!
    I know it's cliche, but "Don't get high off you're own supply." You sound like an avid fan, at least in reading comics. Just be sure you separate good business practice and your love for the medium enough so both aspects prosper.

    In all honesty, it sounds like you don't have enough capital and basic answers. You have a lot more research to submerge yourself in. Network with and ask very specific questions to folks who are already in the game or who were in the game. You don't always have to ask directly with your intentions tatooed on your words. You can beat around the bush and just ask questions as a curious collector.

    I hope you create and nurture an empire. One day, I'll come calling for a discount since I responded to your post. :)

  7. #7
    New Member JTLauder's Avatar
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    Here's an online financial calculator to help you work out the costs:

    How much do I need to start my business?

    I know people who've opened up a restaurant and they said it took over a year of fairly decent business before they were able to break even from the upstart costs.

  8. #8
    Duck Dude Donald M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goblin_Lord
    Hi,
    I plan on opening a comic shop business within the next year. I am 25 yrs old, and have been reading comics since I was 6. My dream has always been to own my own comic shop. I already have a few ideas, some more would be appreciated, but what I really need is any information anyone has on running a comic shop, such as:

    How much does it cost to start?
    Is it profitable?
    How do you order your books, posters, action figures, ect.?
    Should I include gaming in the shop, or keep it strictly comic-related?
    How is the market?

    Any other useful information will be very helpful. I'm only 25, and have no idea where to even start. But, I have $6000 saved up so far. I plan on starting a kiosk business in a nearby mall selling who-knows-what so maybe that can bring in the money I need to start the comic business. I also have a great location in mind, and there isn't a comic shop within a 100 mile radius, and my location is actually a fairly large city, and is growing tremendously, so I feel I need to take advantage of the opportunity. Thanks!
    Honestly? If the opening of your store is a year/less than a year away by your reckoning and you're still asking these kinds of basic questions and what's more, apparently don't even know specifically where to ask them, then I don't like your chances.

    I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but the comics market is struggling right now and stores have been closing left and right for years. Even if you go in with a solid business plan, success is far from guaranteed in the current market.

    You're young, so my suggestion would be that insted of planning to open a store in a year, make it within the next five years. It doesn't really have to take that long, but you should definately take your time doing the necessary research, finding the right people to ask the right questions and making workable plans before jumping into any kind of serious commitment.

  9. #9
    aka Encyclopedia Brown BoosterBronze's Avatar
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    It was once told to me that there is an easy way to make a small fortune in the comic store business.

    Start with a large fortune.
    Currently playing as Encyclopedia Brown in the Traitor Game!

  10. #10

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    Given the rampant piracy plaguing the industry, I wouldn't ever consider such a venture.

    Comics are such a niche market to begin with, and the core audience is so firmly entrenched in the digital revolution (ie illegally downloaded comics), starting a new store seems like financial suicide.

    I'm not trying to crush your dreams. If you feel strongly about it, go for it!

    But I can count on 2 fingers the number of successful comic book stores within 100 miles of my house. And by successful, I mean still around, the owners are making a living, but barely.

    I can recount several hands worth of failed ventures.

    And that's about 20 years worth of counting.

  11. #11
    The Notorious BIB mattbib's Avatar
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    Don't do it.

  12. #12
    Know-it-all... really!!! riotgear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NormanB
    Given the rampant piracy plaguing the industry, I wouldn't ever consider such a venture.
    That's cute that you think that it's piracy that's plaguing the industry. It's more infighting, unprofessionalism, and repeating the same mistakes that drove several companies into bankruptcy in the first place that seem to be plaguing the industry.

    Good luck, Gobby. I hope the store works out for you.

  13. #13
    Ultimate Ghost Rider ghostrider666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis K
    If you're seriously planning on opening a store within a year, you should already know the answers to your questions.
    I gotta say I agree with Dennis. No offence, but youre going to be in WAY over your head. If you want to give it a go, try out with a stand in a flea market(or whatever like it you have in your area) doing it on weekends & sep up at shows. I assume you have merch to sell at this point. Your collection is where most people start.
    "Expand my brain learning juice"-- Homer Simpson

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by riotgear
    That's cute that you think that it's piracy that's plaguing the industry. It's more infighting, unprofessionalism, and repeating the same mistakes that drove several companies into bankruptcy in the first place that seem to be plaguing the industry.
    Oh absolutely! I wouldn't argue that for a second.

    But I believe that has less of an impact on the LCS owner than illegal online comics does.

    Kind of a global problem vs. a local one, I suppose.

  15. #15
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    I've often thought about how I would run a comic shop if I owned one. Here are some conclusions I had come to. This is just me so feel free to ignore it!!!:

    -DC and Marvel will be your highest sellers so make sure they're on opposite ends of the store, or at least away from each. Set it up so if someone is looking at Marvel, and then decides to go look at DC, they have to sort of "pass" or "go through" some featured indie stuff, better chance at impulse buys (if Marvel/DC are in one spot, these people will just go to that one spot and ignore everything else)

    -Stuff that's geared towards kids should be placed lower on shelfs, closer to their eye level. This is, for instance, what grocery stores do with "kiddie" cereals, so they'll see it and bug their parents to buy it.

    -Make sure there's lots of natural light, instead of filling up every window space with posters. There probably wont be a big space, but try to space it out if ya can. A lot of people feel "comfortable" in a Borders or whatever, because of the atmosphere. Feel safe. Confident in the quality.

    -Don't be afraid of manga, its got a huge fanbase. Give it a section even if its small. Actually there's a larger suggestion here... just cuz you hate something, don't ignore it in inventory! If it has an audience, get that into there.

    -Be tactful of the "adult" content. I'm not saying make it a kiddie store, but at least have the more explicit stuff, in a section or somewhat covered, or whatnot. Guys and girls should be able to come in with their kids without feeling really uncomfortable.

    This is all just my personal stuff. I've never owned a comic shop nor will I ever. Perhaps I know nothing and jack squat about business. this is just how i'd do it!

    -I would make little placecards (simple things you can do in Microsoft Word) for featured titles, just a few sentances, about the title, kind of a small sales pitch. For instance, Spider-Girl - "May 'Mayday' Parker is the daughter of the retired original Spider-Man. Battling baddies, juggling crushes with high school boys, and dealing with an overprotective father, this critically acclaimed series is the perfect title for a 14 year old girl. Take a look at the digest sized books to start at the beginning, or jump into the mythlogy with issue #xxx" or something like that, I know I know that copy I wrote kind of sucks, obviously one would point more thought into it. The point is, they see something, and instead of being hit with the "inaccessabile" feeling, there's a few sentances easy to read right there telling them if they're interested.

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