But seriously, buy lots and lots of comics from me.

§ March 29th, 2019 § Filed under retailing § 8 Comments

So one of my tasks at my shop last week, which I needed to get done before my next (and hopefully final) eyeball surgery next week and would have to restrict certain types of strenuous activity, was assembling and installing a new shelving unit to hold more graphic novels. Now I figured the hard part would be building the actual shelf in question, which isn’t so much “hard” as it is “time-consuming,” but still, I DOOD IT:

I believed the easy part would be moving the preexisting shelves and insterting this new one between them. Well, as it turned out, when I had the Gigantorack built for the new comics, along with another similar rack for graphic novels, the graphic novel track and the other bookshelves were all bolted to the wall by the builders. As such, it wasn’t simply a matter of just taking some books off to lighten the load and then shoving everything over, but getting them unhooked from the wall first…which took some doing since I didn’t have the appropriate or correctly-sized tools to remove the fasteners they used. (I mean, it couldn’t just take a screwdriver, that would be too simple.)

Anyway, it’s done now, with the assistance of a helpful customer (since me using any kind of tool is usually an invitation to disaster or perhaps self-maiming). I now have more space for graphic novels and trade paperbacks and thick comics or whatever you want to call them, though I’ve already made good progress abhoring that vaccuum and getting those shelves filled up via the subsequent refiddling of the stock.

This does tie into something I’ve been thinking about of late, which is the matter of space. I’ve been spending the last several months getting a lot of those boxes of old comics in the back processed and priced up, with lots more to go, requiring me to find places to put them. The three large metal shelving units I have behind my counter hadn’t had their topmost shelves utilized, so I finally threw some boxes on top there and began the giant game of Tetris of resorting and reorganizing and relabelling all those bins, both behind the counter and on the floor.

Well, by “Floor” I mean “the two wooden tables that also hold back issues, but are accessible by the customers. Now is probably a good time to put up a picture so you can see what I’m talking about:

When I first opened, I didn’t have anything on the bottom part of the tables. I hadn’t even really filled up the tops of the tables…I used half of one table to hold comic supplies. Now I’ve expanded the back issues to occupy those bottom sections…mostly “Misc. Publisher” slots rather than individual titles, which I try to keep up top. So there’s like “Misc. Image,” “Misc. Dark Horse,” etc. I do have a number of magazine boxes underneath as well which are more a mix of boxes for individual titles (like Mad or Savage Sword of Conan) along with, like, “Misc. Marvel Mags” and that sort of thing.

The part of the table on the far left of the picture is my “new arrivals” section, where recent acquisitions (either from the back room or from colections) are priced and put out, where they’ll hopefully sell before I have to film them away in their regular sections. Those get flipped through all the time, so I do more quite a few out ofthere…my back-issue oriented customers know to poke through those boxes on a pretty regular basis.

This is a very long way of me saying that “thinking about space” has been a preoccupation of mine of late. I still have room to expend in the back issue bins…I’ve got space on the shelves behind the counter still, there’s plenty of slack in the boxes on top of the tables, and I can probably fit more boxes underneath that one table if I decide to stow the comic supplies elsewhere. But once all those spaces are filled — then what?

I could move to a larger location, which I’m not anxious to do…a lot of work was put into making this store look nice, with new flooring that I don’t beleive would come easily with us. Plus, I like how close I am to local conveniences, like, say, the post office, which is a two minute walk away and facilitates the amount of mail order I do. I could knock out part of one of the back walls…the back room is divided in two

The perpaps preferable option is doing some interior remodeling…the back room is essentially divived in two, and if we knocked out part of the divider wall between the front and the back, I could use half the back room for more retail space, while still having the other half for storage. It would take some work and some definite rearranging and some new flooring (since the floor in the back is all concrete) but you know, it’s not impossible.

But this is a long ways off, I think. Or maybe not, given the amount of back issues that have been processed for sale lately. It’s not an immediate concern, at any rate, but it is something that I always have to think about. Unless you guys suddenly rush in and buy lots of stuff from me…that’ll leave me with plenty of growing room then!

8 Responses to “But seriously, buy lots and lots of comics from me.”

  • philfromgermany says:

    I wish I could visit your store and dig through those backissue bins. I’m sure there is an ABC Tomorrow Stories Special in there somewhere.
    The wall display look amazing. Are these mostly for
    trades? Do you leave the new books on the wall for a week or longer before filing them away?
    Anyway this is an extremly cool looking place, with great lighting and a very nice dark wooden floor, which was actually the very first thing I noticed.

  • jon rollins says:

    I always enjoy your posts that have to do with the business of selling funnybooks.

  • Smicha says:

    You should sell digital comics, they take up way less space.

  • Roel Torres says:

    This is a good problem to have — congratulations on the continuous growth!

  • Matthew says:

    Do you have a quarter/dollar/clearance section for back issues and trade paperbacks? If so, how do you decide what goes in it?

  • Thom H. says:

    1. Always love the insider’s perspective on comics retail. Thanks!

    2. Could you turn your half-a-back-room into an area for extra special merchandise like Gold/Silver Age comics? I visited a store that did that, and it was exciting to be behind the scenes looking at the good stuff.

    3. Good luck with your (hopefully) final eye surgery!

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “2. Could you turn your half-a-back-room into an area for extra special merchandise like Gold/Silver Age comics? I visited a store that did that, and it was exciting to be behind the scenes looking at the good stuff.”

    I like this idea. You could have a curtain with a sign on it notifying customers they need a “Sterling’s Silver Comics Membership Card” to get in. The way to get the membership card would be with a complete set of 100 Marvel Value Stamps.

  • Thom H. says:

    Or 1 Shanna the She-Devil Marvel Value Stamp that you cut out of your copy of Incredible Hulk 181 right there in the store.