And lo, did my first day of business at Sterling Silver Comics come to pass, and things went fairly well. For what was basically a “soft” opening, without all that “BIG GRAND OPENING” hoohar that will likely come later in the month, I did have several customers throughout the day, with one or two dead times that more or less corresponded to the doldrums I would have at the old shop at about the same points in the day, so no big whoop. Overall, I did manage to meet some new folks, welcome some customers from my previous job, and make a little more money than I was expecting for my first day. Hooray, I’m marginally less in debt!
A big thanks to pal Nat, who was my store’s very first customer…well, walk-in customer into my physical store, as opposed to my eBay sales (which I also appreciate, if any of you eBayers are reading this right now). Thanks also to pal Cathy, who sent me a box of candy in celebration of the big day. And of course, thanks to everyone else who shopped with me on my opening day, and to all of you out there with your kind words of support. Maybe I can make a go at this after all.
Now, there is still plenty to be done at the shop…a few more fixtures need to be installed, I definitely need to price more comics, I would like more toys and games in the store…but these things will happen soon enough.
Here’s a quick look around the shop, starting with the thing I was looking forward to the most – GIGANTORACK:
36 feet of The-Monolith-from-2001-esque ebony shelving, custom-built to my specifications, crammed full of issues of Swamp Thing and other less-important comics. …Well, okay, for opening day, it was only 32 feet, as there were some minor technical difficulties preventing the last four feet from being installed, resulting in some clever t-shirt rack placement to disguise the shortage:
Anyway, as I write this, I am sitting in my store right now while the master craftsmen put the finishing touches on the new comics shelves, including that final four feet of four-color fun. Beginning today visitors to my shop should be able to witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational comic rack.
Now here’s a shot from one of the back corners of the store, from behind the register/work station counter…you can see the corner of my stack of Previews at the bottom, there:
You get another shot of GIGANTORACK, plus two custom-made wooden tables built for me by former boss Ralph of Ralph’s Comic Corner. These are smaller versions of the same tables Ralph built for his shop years ago, and these things are rock-solid monsters of shelving — well, little monsters, in my case — that bear up the weight of fully-loaded comic boxes quite well. Above GIGANTORACK you can see some of the framed comic covers that my girlfriend Nora printed out and framed for decoration. She did a great job. (Yes, the covers include Swamp Thing and Nancy & Sluggo comics. How could they not?)
Another shot from behind my register counter, facing toward the front window:
Please note the organically-grown cruelty-free custom stand for my register (AKA “scrap wood left over from making those tables”), as well as my Stool of Power and a computer displaying a wallpaper image that should surprise nobody.
In this next pic from the front corner of my shop:
…you see a couple of my merchandise/showcase fixtures, along with my spinner rack containing a plethora of all-ages comics. You also get a good shot of my bookshelves, and their spacing along that wall should allow for some expansion. One top of one of those shelves is a Superman The Animated Series bust that I bought several years ago for five bucks and have now finally found a use for.
Here’s a straight-on shot of three of my bookshelves:
…and I hope you enjoyed this brief look at my shop as it stands now. As I said before, it’s a work in progress, with lots more comics and fixtures and goodies to come. But most importantly, this is a much-needed change in my life, a new beginning in an industry that, despite everything, I still love and enjoy, and this has given me a new enthusiasm for this business that I’ve been sort of taking for granted for years. Here’s to fresh starts and moving forward, my friends!