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.

11 and 18 Jan 2017

The after Christmas restock has started! We have been getting in huge shipments of new t-shirts and stuff at the mall for the past week and a half and today we just got in a large order of all new mugs and cups! Those will all be at the mall Comic Book Shop and also at Candy Works.
The Division location has been packing up their mugs and cups and moving them up to the mall location to make room for new stuff! We will bring it all back next October in time for Christmas.
Division has started receiving new t-shirt designs in limited quantities. We will have several new designs each month and move previous months out as quickly.
There is a new Pokemon release this month and of course we have a pre-release tournament. Pokemon is on a huge upswing and we have about 40 people who play each Tuesday—If you would like to learn, we hold classes the last Saturday of each month at 2:00 and they are just $5 for an hour and you get to keep the deck we teach you with. I play each week along with my son and it wouldn’t take you much effort to get better than me and kick my butt every Tuesday.
Free Comic Book Day is already back on the radar. The books are all in the current Previews and include a new Scottie Young book, a Rick and Morty, a new Spider-man and a Mysterious DC book. Of course the DC might not be mysterious, they might just no know what they are doing yet and are just pretending…..

-Craig!

We have almost finished packing up the mugs and cups from Division – there were a ton more than I thought there were. They should all be up at the mall withing a few days and we can start on the back wall. Right now, it looks like it will make a nice display for board games and wall art for the next couple of months. We will see what it morphs into.
I am putting in another tshirt order for Division this week as it looks like we already need some new designs. I like the small incremental orders better at the Division store better than trying to do it like the mall and just order a ton of a million styles. They have the traffic for that kind of ordering which Division lacks.
Division should be getting in several new/old statues in this week to add to the batch that we got in several weeks ago. If you havent seen the last batch, they are in the bookcases near the used graphic novels and include Grendel, Batman and even an Aeon Flux!
The first of the Marvel promotional comic boxes arrived this week and they look great! They are about the same size as a regular short box and feature Champions art on each side and top and only cost 5.99! Hopefully this program will continue as its probably the best promotional type item Marvel has offered in years.
-Craig!

3 January 2017

Its the new year! Spring is just around the corner! I cant wait.

It was a very good year for us and I would like to thank everyone who helped make it happen! That means you! We really appreciate all the support and friendship that you have given us for this year and for the past 27. I am grateful that you have helped make us one of the longer lasting comic book stores in the US. I think the average life span of a comic book store is under two years and very few that make it past that even get to five so what you and all of the current and past employees here have accomplished is really something special.

I would also like to get a special round of applause for our wonderful staff:

At Division we have Steven and Kevin! Our weekly bagging staff is Andy, Shawn, Adam, Madison and sometimes Keith and DJ!

At the mall we have Gabe, Jen, JW, Mitch and Josh!

At Candyworks its Anna (who works all three stores), Moonie, and Trinity!

They all put in a lot of effort each week to make the stores and events run smooth and look effortless which is a huge pain in the butt at times but they usually pull it off and you seldom hear the behind the scenes screaming, cussing and pain.

I hope you all have a great upcoming year and I am looking forward to lots of new directions and tinkerings ’cause thats what I really enjoy!