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Opening a comic store and looking for advice (Comic Book Forums)



Author Opening a comic store and looking for advice
Posted: December 23, 2009 10:16:09 am
Hi,

I'm opening a comic store in the near future (and no I am NOT crazy...much) and could use some sage advice from other successful store owners here. I've been planning this for awhile and have collected some great input, but I'm always open to additional advice.

Thanks in advance.

Kevin
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Posted: December 24, 2009 6:09:43 am
im not a store owner or anything like that but i would say make sure you have good people working for you. make sure they are friendly and know their stuff. also here is a topic from awhile ago with more buyer ideas http://comicbookrealm.com/topic/8/6342 and yes the helpfulness goes away very quickly as the discussion goes down hill lol
Posted: December 24, 2009 7:14:44 am
Opening a comic store anytime in the near future is a wasted venture. Comics being $2.99-3.99, fighting against online shops, etc. Just a no win situation imo. It's in the same vain as wanting to open a CD DVD type of music store. The market to profit at a brick and mortar store is just not there really.

Just the way I see it. Crying or Very sad
Posted: December 24, 2009 9:45:41 am
It's a riskey business!
In Belgium is it the same story...
The one's exists have trouble to survive and newbies are most of the time drowning...
Do not have a large stock but make good deals with the publishers you cane win a lot with making good deals with them (short cuts)...
in the beginning wait for rare one's see what the publick wants and play on that, its inportant to lissen very well to you custumors!

All the best of luck!

Last edited December 24, 2009 9:50:20 am
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Posted: December 24, 2009 10:54:56 am
smeggie42 said:
also here is a topic from awhile ago with more buyer ideas http://comicbookrealm.com/topic/8/6342 and yes the helpfulness goes away very quickly as the discussion goes down hill lol


I like the Hooters girls employees idea (LOL), but the rest are basically just wishful thinking that benefit the buyer but not the LCS owner. Nothing I can actually use.

Thanks, though.

Last edited December 24, 2009 10:55:34 am
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Posted: December 24, 2009 11:15:49 am
Rocket2600 said:
Opening a comic store anytime in the near future is a wasted venture. Comics being $2.99-3.99, fighting against online shops, etc. Just a no win situation imo. It's in the same vain as wanting to open a CD DVD type of music store. The market to profit at a brick and mortar store is just not there really.


I keep hearing people say that e-comics are the death of comic shops and printed comics, but I don't believe it, and neither do a lot of other people. Comparing CDs and DVDs isn't a fair comparison either. Those two have ALWAYS been digital. All they changed was the method of viewing or listening to those files.

At the same time, there are a hell of a lot of people who like to pick up and read a comic on paper rather than a digital screen. You can read comics anywhere -- even the bathroom. Would you take your $300 digital reader into a bathroom and risk damaging it? And if a paper comic gets stolen or lost, you just replace it. You lose your digital reader, you not only have to replace that expensive piece of hardware (or replace it every couple of years when it becomes obsolete), but probably ALL your files, as well. It's like your entire comic collection of paper comics going up in flames.

You also can't get digital comics autographed by writers and artists at Comic Con or other events -- or resell them. An auction was held recently for vintage comics in my city and they sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And they were NOT digital files.

There are 16 comic shops total in my city and all are doing very well. I know because I've talked with most of them, especially the successful ones. Most have been around awhile but one opened two years ago down the street and they are still going strong. Also, while attendance may be down some at the local comic cons in my area, they still get good crowds. And most of the visitors are people getting comics signed or looking for older comics to fill their collections. Again, NOT something you can do with digital files.

So, have you owned a store, Rocket, or just passing on info you read elsewhere?
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Posted: December 24, 2009 12:31:06 pm
Good luck to you! I'm not a store owner,but I would just take a little extra time and look at the economy and ask yourself , do I really want to take the risk now, or should I wait this storm out and see what the future might hold. You also say that there are a few stores around your area. So you'll already have established competition that you'll have to compete with. If you do go ahead with opening the store, I wish you nothing but great success! Merry Christmas to you khosey!!Very HappyVery Happy

Last edited December 24, 2009 12:36:15 pm
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Posted: December 24, 2009 3:38:59 pm
Don of the DED said:
Good luck to you! I'm not a store owner,but I would just take a little extra time and look at the economy and ask yourself , do I really want to take the risk now, or should I wait this storm out and see what the future might hold.

Unfortunately, waiting isn't an option for me BECAUSE of the economy.

Don of the DED said:
You also say that there are a few stores around your area. So you'll already have established competition that you'll have to compete with.

I live in a HUGE metroplex and the stores are all spread out miles apart. Each has their own territory and loyal customers.

After some research, I've learned there are two upper-end areas -- where people still spend money and very few businesses have closed down -- with no comic shop competition closer than ten or fifteen miles. I'm zeroing in on a location right now. I''m hoping to capture the comic fans in those areas, as well as set up shop online, of course.

Don of the DED said:
If you do go ahead with opening the store, I wish you nothing but great success! Merry Christmas to you khosey!!Very HappyVery Happy

Thanks! You, too. Very Happy
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Posted: December 24, 2009 7:58:43 pm
So, have you owned a store, Rocket, (Yes I have ..1993 I was in a partnership n a store) or just passing on info you read elsewhere? (nope)

Look I'm just offering up the truth of it all. If you can open up a comic shop (with 16 already in your area) then by all means go for it. But what are the odds of being profitable? I mean really think about it. I am a collector of 25 years and think the comic market is getting close to a breaking point with cover prices vs other forms of entertainment. There are a lot of long time collectors dropping out of the current titles due to the economy and the cover prices. There are just too many books at $2.99+ that 3 months later are in $1 bins at comic shows.

If you open a shop you will have to supplement it RPG materials, toys, videos, etc etc just to keep above water. There is a lot of overhead trying to own a store. You better have a really good capital starting out and have a 1-2 year back up. I'm not saying it can't be done, but those that are out there doing it now are struggling (imo).

Good luck & Merry Christmas.

Last edited December 24, 2009 8:00:22 pm
Posted: December 25, 2009 1:16:58 am
khosey said:
Rocket2600 said:
Opening a comic store anytime in the near future is a wasted venture. Comics being $2.99-3.99, fighting against online shops, etc. Just a no win situation imo. It's in the same vain as wanting to open a CD DVD type of music store. The market to profit at a brick and mortar store is just not there really.


I keep hearing people say that e-comics are the death of comic shops and printed comics, but I don't believe it, and neither do a lot of other people. Comparing CDs and DVDs isn't a fair comparison either. Those two have ALWAYS been digital. All they changed was the method of viewing or listening to those files.

At the same time, there are a hell of a lot of people who like to pick up and read a comic on paper rather than a digital screen. You can read comics anywhere -- even the bathroom. Would you take your $300 digital reader into a bathroom and risk damaging it? And if a paper comic gets stolen or lost, you just replace it. You lose your digital reader, you not only have to replace that expensive piece of hardware (or replace it every couple of years when it becomes obsolete), but probably ALL your files, as well. It's like your entire comic collection of paper comics going up in flames.

You also can't get digital comics autographed by writers and artists at Comic Con or other events -- or resell them. An auction was held recently for vintage comics in my city and they sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And they were NOT digital files.

There are 16 comic shops total in my city and all are doing very well. I know because I've talked with most of them, especially the successful ones. Most have been around awhile but one opened two years ago down the street and they are still going strong. Also, while attendance may be down some at the local comic cons in my area, they still get good crowds. And most of the visitors are people getting comics signed or looking for older comics to fill their collections. Again, NOT something you can do with digital files.

So, have you owned a store, Rocket, or just passing on info you read elsewhere?


Rocket is 100% correct. It is a complete waste of money. i've never owned as store because I've reviewed the numbers and dynamics of it all with several good friends that have run ones or have managed ones. There is simply not enough profit margin to do well. Most of your customers can't afford the product and barely scrape by. It is a huge labor and time intensive venture. Once you are stuck in the store, you don't have time to go look for the products that will make it profitable in the long term. Stick to doing conventions and/or mail order if possible. If you do feel inclined to do it anyway, you will have to find knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly employees that are perfectly conten making minimum wage for the rest of their lives. Typically if someone has all the characteristics to make a competent employee, they are capable of making more money in any other profession. If you don't get employees you can trust that have no goals in life, they rob you blind by either stealing valuable books or selling them at unprofitable prices behind your back. Whatever rent you pay starting up, that will be the lowest rent you ever pay. The landlord will increase your rent after you are established. Fixed cost like rent, power, water, insurance, supplies etc. are like a ball and chain stopping you from getting ahead. Diamond offers no leniency on your distributor bill. They want the money before you sell the books and there is little or no negotiating with them because their profit margin is low also. Most stores sell little or no back issues after a book is 3 weeks old. You end up paying rent just to store dead stock. In a retail store, every square inch of floor space should be making you money somehow. The reality of running a comic book store is that only about 10% of your inventory moves. If you flush out your dead stock in quarter boxes, your customers just think you are ripping them off hen they pay a new price. If you buy their collection for a dime on the dollar hoping to actually make money on it, they think you are ripping them off because they want full price for it just like you do when you go to sell it. I do buy expensive books if they are what I collect, most comic book stores can't get the good stuff. They get stuck buying everyone's crap and hoping a good customer will be happy to get it.

My advice is to sell online and test drive that. If you can't make money with the whole world being your potential customer base, why think you can make money in some strip mall in a small community that no one thinks about most of the time. You'll also get a feel for how anal collector's can be about condition. They want books that look nicer than the books you pull out of the distributor's box.

I've theorized that it would be possible to flip midgrade keys and rarer books and make decent money but the biggest problem is establishing a customer base of people that spend large sums of money and finding a steady source of books that you can flip for nice percentages.

Think about it though. If you are only making a dollar on a comic and you are paying $1,000 or more in fixed costs, you have to sell 1000 new comics just to break even. You have to sell another 1000 comics just to buy cool collections so that you can leverage to make the big bucks and big percentages. My advice is to sell from home or do conventions.

Another thing, if you stock high dollar books, buying insurance is useless. The insurance companies won't pay. We had a chain of stores in Atlanta quit carrying Silver age because 1) The county raided them and charged them out the rear on inventory taxes. 2) They had some high dollar books stolen and couldn't get the insurance company to pay a dime. There were so many loopholes to get around paying, that it was just pissing money away every month. The tax structure is not setup for companies to stock collectibles that appreciate in value. Most stores are one tax audit away from closing.

BB



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