Wednesday, April 21, 2010
My Life With Comic Books: Part # 83
Cast of Characters:
Paul: age 37
Mal: my wife
MY LIFE WITH COMIC BOOKS: THE HISTORY OF A COMIC SHOP - Part 83
We had successfully purchased a 20,000 square foot commercial building in Worcester in a great, safe area, on the third busiest street in the city. My friends, Jim Stoll and his wife, Patty, had worked hard for over three weeks to demolish the existing office partitions, clean out all of the debris, build a huge work platform (so we would have a clear sight-line of the entire retail floor from the cash register position), and painted the huge cement floor. It was now ready for us to move into.
I originally intended to move into this new location a little at a time so I wouldn’t disrupt my business at my original location and planned to start by moving in the entire inventory from my “back room.” Then the important store inventory would be moved a little at a time until everything was done. Because I needed every penny of sales in order to pay for all of the new expenses of buying this new building and getting it prepared to open, I didn’t want to lose any days of retailing at my old location. Neither did I want to inconvenience any of my loyal customers. They were all accustomed to my stable store hours of operation. The store was open seven days a week and three hundred and sixty three days each year (We were closed only on Christmas and Thanksgiving). I didn’t want to close my store.
So, one Sunday afternoon I rented a truck and many of my loyal friends came to the store and began to fill up the truck with my back-room inventory, shelves, tables, and supplies. Paul Dinsdale, Stanley Hosmer, Daryll Hunt, Chris Ball, Jose Rivera, David Hartwell, Kevin Simpson, and a few others helped me. We all took turns waiting on customers while the rest of us carried boxes to the truck. My cousin Steven and his buddy, Chris, also came to help us. Business was always good on Sundays but by about 4:00PM it had slowed down so we began to pack up all of the new comic books from the display racks and the new comic books that we were “holding” for our customers as part of our subscription service. I was nervous about doing this because I would have felt bad if a customer made a special trip to my store to pick up his weekly comic book shipment and the comics were packed away in a truck.
I wanted to be able to close my store on Sunday in my old location and be open for business the next morning in the new and improved location on Park Avenue. We had been telling our customers to expect the move soon, and we had signs prepared to alert them about the move. We certainly didn’t want anyone to think we had just gone out of business. My faithful friends worked late into the evening and got everything into the new store but I was left with the job of setting up most of the store, unpacking the boxes of product, and arranging the displays. Jim Stoll had built all new comic book display racks and he had securely fastened them to the wall. Ten new glass display showcases had been previously ordered and they were placed on the newly built platform. My cousin Steven cleaned the glass and installed the shelves. Knowing I’d have to get back to the store by 6:00 a.m. to finish up enough to open again by 10:00 a.m., I finally went home at 2:00 a.m., exhausted. The store wasn’t very well organized, but we opened up for business as scheduled. Many of our customers were shocked that we were able to completely move the whole store in one evening.
Next chapter: Our product, “Classic Toys Trading Cards” causes friction between Brian and I.
Pictures: Our old store location and our new store location.