How Opening a Comic Store Has Changed Over Time

Earlier this year, Brian Hibbs, owner of San Francisco’s Comix Experience, wrote a column about acquiring a second store. It’s got lots of great business information, as do his other columns about being a comic retailer, but what struck me most was this end paragraph:

I opened my first store for $10k and a comic book collection, but those days are decades gone. It took me 24 years to get to store #2 because the barriers to open have gotten so high. We should keep lowering them, while encouraging a high standard of professionalism and stock.

Many retailers now, still hanging on, opened in a very different time. We have as many comic stores as we do because lots of people could do that then — their comic collections, in an age where back issues were how you read comic history, were valuable, enough so that you could turn them into a business. You can’t now. You need investment money, and a lot more of it.

Earlier in the piece (which you should read all of), Hibbs provides an estimate of needing $100,000 these days to open a new store properly, before talking about how more support is needed for new retailers. I think these changes indicate a lot about why, sometimes, the comic industry can be tough to change or convince of modern attitudes. The people making business decisions came from a different era, and the new blood has it harder to get in. We knew that was true in, for example, comic art and publishing, but it’s also true in retailing.


One Response to “How Opening a Comic Store Has Changed Over Time”

  1. SKleefeld Says:

    Always great to highlight the retailer side of things. Particularly the parts that no one ever seems comfortable talking about. Thanks for pointing me to Hibbs’ piece!

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