Monday, June 22, 2009

Whatever Happened to Comic Castle?

Every once in a while I run into a person I haven't seen in years, someone I remember from my days managing Comic Castle (Eureka, CA), and they want to know what happened to their favorite comic book store. The truth of the matter is that it was sold to the competitor, who has a less-than-stellar reputation. It's also a real basic story. Business wasn't doing well (I had a new job before the store was actually sold), and the owner had to get rid of it fairly fast. The only person he knew who had the money to buy it so quickly was the competition, which now runs it out of his role-playing game store. By all accounts it's just not the same.

I ran into one of those people this weekend. I don't remember his name, but he remembered me, and he asked about the store. He knew it was running out of a new location, but since he refuses to enter that store, he didn't know what had happened. When I explained it to him the best I could (and I do my best to not let my feelings into it), he said he was sad it had to happen, but wished it could've been anyone else who bought it. After it closed, he said, he stopped buying comics.

I mentioned to him that I go through SciFi Genre for my comic needs, as well as eBay, and that there were some pretty cool things happening these days. I mentioned Secret Invasion, the end of 100 Bullets, the Final Crisis, new Conan series and so on. He seemed interested and expressed that his only connection with comic books these days were his back issues and whatever Hollywood was dishing out. Still, he would not go to Comic Castle's new location because it was a matter of trust.

I totally understand that. It's the same reason I and several others won't go there. Some longstanding customers have decided to give the new owner their business, and that's fine, too (though I hear several complaints from them and have to wonder why they continue to give him their hard-earned dough). When it comes to comic books, there is loyalty and there is addiction. Sometimes it's hard to find a balance.

I don't think I'll ever step foot in the new location. My greatest fear is that I'll need supplies and won't be able to get them through my usual channels or whatever reason. So far, however, that has not been an issue.

Before the old customer and I parted ways he asked, "Do you think we'll ever get another store?"

There had been talk of that. I don't think anything ever came of it. "I don't know," I said, "but if you ever decide to do it, look me up. I'll be happy to lend my knowledge to it."

Then we were done. I hope another store comes into the area some day. Competition is a good thing, and I actually miss going into a store and seeing what new items are out. If I had the money, I'd do it. In the meantime there's still SciFi Genre.

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