April 12th 2017

I spent several days in Boise last week visiting family and checking out the local comic and gaming stores. It was interesting.
The store that I bought comics from in the late 70’s announced last week that they were shutting down. It was a bookstore that sold back issues and I dont know if they ever did sell new comics. They are one of the reasons that I am actually in this business. When I was a kid they charged me so much for some books when I was 15 or so that when I opened my first store 15 year later, the books still hadnt reached those values. I have never forgotten that and I vowed my stores would never do that to anyone else.
It was an interesting trip through the past in the their store though. They had actually moved next door from where they were when I shopped there but I think they kept the exact same setup as the layout seemed to match my memory from 1977. They owners son who sold me the the back issues all those years ago was actually the guy behind the counter when I went in.
I found that out when I asked whatever happened to the red headed kid who worked there and he said it was him and commented on how he still had his red hair. I really didnt want to offend him by noting that not only did he not have red hair but his hair was whiter and grayer than mine…..
Anyway we had a about a 10 minute conversation about the state of the book and comic world and my need for nostalgia was filled.
Next time I go back they will be a 2nd hand store or a craft brewery and I will try and remember exactly which storefront was theirs and I will remember the DC 100 page books I bought there for 5 and 6 dollars each when the cover price of comics was .25 cents.

There is one really nice gaming store in Boise but it is located well off the beaten path and even if you lived there it is a bit out of the way. And just to make things more interesting, the guy in charge of renting space in GGP malls in the western half of the US texted me and told me he would make me an insanely great deal on space in the Boise Towne Square Mall. Its a pretty upscale mall with an Apple store, a Dillards (like Nortstroms)and a bunch of other higher end stores and about 3 times the size of Northtown.

I really wish I knew how to manage a store long distance. I could fly down and back the same day once a week for about $115 per trip so it would just be like going to work in the morning like usual…. Unfortunately I dont have any kind of support staff down there or framework to start with. They do have several Hastings with all those great abandoned fixtures still in them though…. I could get a skeleton of a store set up in about a week or less….

One of the things that is really stopping me right now is we suddenly need someone who has a broad knowledge of games current and upcoming, the ability to sell them and a great personality. A knowledge of Magic and Pokemon cards buying and selling is needed too. If you fit all those categories we would love to get a resume from you for the mall location.

March to April 4th

Somehow it looks like the newsletter didnt get uploaded to the site for the past couple of weeks. Paper copies are available in the shop but I cant find any digital version to put up here. But really, what have you missed other than my ramblings?

This is the week the mall store moves to the new location! Actually this is the day that the store moves so I have to get up there and see all the work everyone has done. I think this is one of the first moves that I didn’t actually help a lot with the heavy lifting. Its kind of nice.
The only really difficult part I have to do is get the computers and POS up and running and pull down some of the old slotwall and put it up at the new store. I think the slotwall is the worst part of this entire job. This one is even more difficult as one of the previous tenants built a second interior reinforced wall to attach their shelving to and the aluminum studs don’t always seem to be in the correct place. And then, when you actually find one, getting a good solid mounting screw into it is a pain in the butt. It takes a long time for minimal payoff and reused slotwall never looks that great anyway. Oh well, its better than working for a living.
We are hoping to be able to get 90% or more of the shop moved today and be open for business Thursday morning or in the worst case scenario, Thursday afternoon. Its possible. I hope. They really don’t stop charging us rent if we close for a day or so, so we cant afford to not be open.
Sorry for another short newsletter but its time to go up and start getting set up. -Craig!

The setup of the new store went really well. We were open through Tuesday night and we moved a few of the heavier items then and at 7 in the morning Gabe and Jen showed up and started the mega move quickly joined by 22 people from the KuroNekoCon Anime staff and more of our people.

For as huge a move as this was, there were very few problems until we got to the point of merchandise being moved much quicker than we could put it away and things just started getting stacked.

On thing that worked really well was that since I bought so many new bookcases we had the store skeleton pretty well set up and just had to fill shelves with merchandise. Even so though, we had to close the entire next day while the store was put in order and made presentable. By the time we left Thursday night at some ungodly hour the store looked pretty good.

Friday morning the store opened normally and everyone seemed to really like it with most commenting on how much larger it was and how much more stuff we had than at the last location. I think our sleight of hand worked pretty well as its about 600sf smaller and we still have tons of merchandise in the back that we cant figure out a way of putting out yet without making the store too crowded and look like a Spencers.

Free Comic Book Day is coming up really really fast again. Saturday May 6th at both Comic Book Shop locations. http://www.freecomicbookday.com/ has a complete list of all the books we will be giving away that day! We also have some of the exclusive POP! figures and the Special Edition Heroclix available for sale that day.

http://lilaccitycomicon.webs.com/ is the other huge event that is approaching rather quickly. Check out this link for the list of guests! We still have VIP tickets available!

Feb 7 and 15 2017

The Coast to Coast Comic Convention last weekend went over pretty well! Both stores were exceptionally busy especially in light of the fact that half of Spokane was in Seattle at the Emerald City Comicon where we were live streaming our event from!
We will have some of the cool special limited edition covers that were created just for the event and they are all still available at their original cover price.
Once cool thing was late in the afternoon, Brian Posehn the actor, stand up comic and comic book writer showed up for his weekly comic fix as he was in town for a couple of shows at the Comedy Club.
Before he left I got a photo with him and he offered to sign any of the Deadpool books he worked on which was rather nice of him. Hopefully next time he is in town we will be able to set up an instore signing either here or at the mall location which should bring in lots of people to the shop and help him sell tickets to his shows. It should work out well for the both of us.
The new location at the mall is nearly finished! I was rather surprised they have been able to get it done that quickly but it looks really good. There are a few quirks that I really don’t like but oh well that is life.
We are still on track to be open prior to April 1st at this point and I just talked to a contractor about moving our sign and next up is transferring Comcast and having it work both on our last day at the old location and on the first at the new. Its harder than you think.
I am heading off to one of the old Hastings stores this morning to pick up a ton of their floor displays to set up in the new store and to replace the racks we have at Division that the supplies and games are sitting on. I really hate those shelves so hopefully these new ones will work much better. At the very least they will give us a lot more room down each isle as they are only two feet wide instead of the current three. Wish my back luck. All these shelves are steel and weigh a ton……
We have a massive order of Gundam coming in this week for both stores along with lots of new Funko Pops and other assorted toys.
The new camera system I put up in the game area of the mall store about a month ago that I now have to remove paid off last week with Gabe catching a guy stealing another players binder of cards! I love the resolution of the new cameras as you can watch the thief look around, pick up the binder, put it in his backpack and move away and sit down. When confronted, he informed us that it was just a misunderstanding and that he was going to look for the owner of the binder but just forgot it in his bag. The kid got his binder back, the thief was kicked out of the mall for a year and the tournament went on and the store avoids a blackeye, Twas a good day.

We got the keys for the new location at the Mall Wednesday morning! I spent several hours there unloading and building new shelving and trying to figure out the spacial configuration. This one is going to be tricky.

The set up is a bit problematic as part of the mall heating and air conditioning duct work goes through the center of the where the two stores they joined together meet. There is also the problem of two large steel beams that seem to hold the mall up being in nearly the same location so that impacted the way the stores could be joined.

What we ended up with is two locations that are joined by two holes/doors/openings through the wall, one being 9 feet wide and the other about 4. It gives the store an odd sealed in look so we have to figure out a way to direct people into the second section using the feng shui of the fixtures. Its going to be a lot of trial and error. The downside is that the later altering of the shop and tinkering with shelving placement is that all the new shelves are steel. Thick steel. With no wheels.

Speaking of new fixtures we replaced the ones we replaced last year with some of the ones I just bought from the guy who owns the building that Hastings had been in. When Hastings left, they abandoned everything they had not sold and just left it for the building owner to deal with. I contacted the realty company and they are selling us what we want which is probably much easier than just carting it off somewhere else.

Both stores have large Gundam model orders coming in this week and from the same company, Star Wars models from Japan! If the quality is anywhere near as nice then we will have some great stuff.

I am off to work at the new store right now! -Craig!

28 Feb 2017

The Coast to Coast In Store Comic Convention is this Saturday! We will be live streaming the event at both stores when we open. The show is based at the Emerald City Comicon this year and will feature exclusive interviews with tons of comic professionals and panels. As many of our customers will be in Seattle this weekend for the show, we wont have a big sale like previous years but we will be running specials at the mall and at the Division store, we will be doing 20% off NEW Graphic Novels and 30% off all USED Graphic Novels of which we got a ton of new ones in in the past couple of months.

Here is the list of times for the interviews and panels for Saturday:

We have been putting out lots of new back issues in the past couple of weeks. Somewhere around a 1,000 this month and we are going to try and keep that pace up for the near future. As we make room for all those new books we are pulling out some older ones that havent sold in years and have been putting them in our discount boxes which have doubled in size in the past month. Tons of great stuff if you have a few minutes to look.

The mall is currently hard at work on our new location! One of the stores they are prepping for us is nearly finished and work on the second one will start in two days and they will connect the two together! I think they may actually get it ready by the March 15 date they initially promised me!

If they can hand me the keys by the 15th, we should be able to hopefully get open by the 1st of April. We will have two weeks to put up the slotwall we need, move the backroom from the old location, mount the tv’s to the walls, get our sign moved and try and figure out how to use the space prior to actually moving all the merchandise in. Nothing to it.

Both locations also received a massive reorder of POP figures. Something like 1,000 new and reordered figures!
-Craig!

15 Feb 2017

We finally received news on the new Northtown Mall location! The definitely, positively, absolutely, possible move date is in April!

Right now the mall is waiting on approval of their renovation plans by the city for the permits so they can start work. One of the two stores we are taking over is already empty so they are going to start there first and the other is supposed to be vacant by the end of this month and they they can start connecting them together.

The mall thinks they can deliver us the spot by 1 March which is much faster than I think they will be able to do it but we will see since they are quite motivated and have to start tearing down our current location in the middle of April for H&M to move into.

The current plan is to not be closed for more than a single day as we should be able to get the necessities into the new spot and be operational after setting up the front counter and getting the computers all online and the registers working which should be able to be done overnight on the last day we are open in the old location.

We are hoping to start moving the back room from the old store to the new one this week if we can get permission to lock it up while they tear the rest down which will make everything go even smoother. Is it possible it might be a painless move? Its been 28 years, we are due.

7 Feb 2017

The free comics for Free Comic Book Day have been ordered! The first Saturday in May which is already coming up fast. Just think, its almost spring and we got 6 inches of snow a couple of days ago…

The Instore Comic Convention is coming up rather quick again! Saturday March 4th broadcasting live from Emerald City Comic Con! The format will be the same as last year with live panels and interviews all day. In store we will have at least one tv at the Mall location playing the event and the large tv at Division running it as well.

The mall store will have select items on sale and Division will be having a sale as well with details coming up in a couple of weeks.

http://coasttocoastcomiccon.com/

When we came to work Monday morning Steven discovered a crack in the ceiling beam which runs from the front to the back of the shop. If you have shopped with us for the past ten years or so, you will understand why that disturbs us a bit more than you think it might. Our last location had a roof that nearly collapsed and the building owner put up a steel ibeam and two building jacks in the middle of the shop for nearly six months while they tried to repair the damage.

The new crack has gotten progressively worse each day and the current building manager says not to worry about it as its not a structural support beam. Possibly. On the plus side, there are only 3 more winters on this lease and hopefully we wont get any of that really heavy snow to test out his prognosis….

The Northtown Mall main office in Chicago called today and told me that they would like to have us open in our new location sometime in April. Its kinda hard to work around a date “like sometime in April” but we will do our best.

Basically we get 30 days from when they finish the build out of our new spot to move everything, get it all set up and open the doors for business. As we have gotten progressively larger with each move, we have acquired much more inventory in each location which makes the store a bit less mobile and we really can’t afford to shut down for a week while we do it. Somehow, once we get the green light, we have to magically close the doors of one spot and open in the new one in no more than two days. One if possible. The one thing we have going for us is that we can load out through our back door and run carts directly to the shiny new shop and I have all those bookcases that I bought from Hastings just waiting for an opportunity to be used.

One thing that we have never done before is do a store without a massive quantity of slotwall which I have to cut, mount and paint which is quite time consuming. This time, we are going to use mostly fixtures which we can just break down and set up, saving us several days and lots of frustration. We will see how that works. I have a feeling we will be open prior to actually being completely ready though.

Another good thing with the new location is that we should be able to put cameras all over the place – that store gets hit so hard with shoplifting that its insane. If they dont catch several people a day you know the store isnt being watched well enough. I think the only place in the mall that is hit more is the candy store….

The excitement for the week, the coin store across the street may or may not have caught fire this week! We heard the alarm going off and watched as two people became more and more frantic and tried to guess what they were doing. We couldn’t figure out if they were trying to break in, looking for a place to pee or were getting frustrated that the pot store in the same parking lot was not open yet.

As we watched, one of them threw a snowball at one of the windows. We are still not quite sure why they did that but within 10 minutes a firetruck showed up. Then another and another and another and a response vehicle. Out came the firehoses and axes and a chainsaw! As all the windows are barred they seemed to have a big problem getting in and tried to chainsaw the window frame which failed.

I think they must have had some luck in getting in the front door as we eventually saw some people inside. Not many as there is only about 50sf that you can move around in there -maybe two firefighters and a hose pumping out 4,000 gallons of water per minute? At any rate the 30 firemen who were eventually on the scene watched the progress of the two guys who could make it into the building and took turns walking around the building and looking in the windows that they had smashed out when they first showed up.

Then, as quickly as they showed up, they vanished. All of them. I am assuming the owner of the building or business finally showed up as someone started drilling in sheets of plywood to cover the window holes. I checked the news that night and I never did see anything mentioning the incident although there was a camera crew there during part of the event. Wow, pretty lame story with no appreciable ending…..

25 January 2017

We had our Pokemon Pre Release last Sunday and it was a huge success! We had 86 people show up to play which as of today is the largest Pre Release in the state by 22 people! There is still a week to go for other stores to beat it but as of right now, Gabe has a nice feather in his managers cap.

We have another higher level Pokemon tournament this Sunday and will be interesting to see if we get any boost from our Pre-Release. The game overall is growing fast across the US but Spokane seems to be ahead of the curve on this one player wise. We are lucky we got into it when we did so we were ready to ramp up quickly when it hit.

All the cups and mugs are now up at the Northtown store so we can now start playing with the back wall. Along with that, we should have a regular supply of new games coming in starting in two weeks set up a bit like our comic book shipments. Game distribution is considerably different than comic distribution and I have been trying to figure out a way to mold it more to the way I do our comics and I think I figured it out. Hopefully.

Our second group of t-shirts for the division store should hit this week or early next! Small quantities of multiple styles.

If you havent seen the 2nd trailer for Logan yet, here it is. It looks to be the best of the Wolverine movies so far.