Last month I had the opportunity to visit The Dragon in Guelph Ontario. I had heard good things about the store and wanted to see it for myself.
The location is in a mall with a unique layout, designed as a covered street. It allows each store to look and feel like a separate building. I picked a bad day to get a sense of general operations since The Dragon was having a sale and signing; for that a few things were out of place, like back issues in front of the store and artists where the back issue would normally be.
They have a lot of window exposure showing cleanly the inside of the store, which is bright and clean. No clutter or product over the walls: everything had it’s own area.
First thing you encounter is the low shelving for the children’s area. This allows complete access to all material by even the youngest children, retailing to them at easy access levels. My two children ages three and four kept running from item to item, picking it up and enjoying the layout. Once they tired of that each grabbed a comic and sat down in the tiny Ikea chairs for a little read.
This is easily the best layout I’ve seen for children: it gave me a clear view of what interested them.
Along two walls a series of bookshelves hold an extensive and varied range of trade paperbacks and graphic novels. In the corner are comics, followed by a wall of manga. By the cash is are low shelves holding new and notable releases, just barely visible in the photo above.
The book section has two endcaps where material can be shown off and face the door; easily visible from the door as you approach the section. Oversized and adult material along the top of the shelves made for a difficult reach.
There was a breadth of material, including Humanoids, Fantagraphics and other smaller publishers.
The back corner holds gaming materials, miniatures and role-playing. The large green tables around the store are for gaming events held regularly; I promised not to pass any judgement about the boxes under the tables but the store had moved recently.
I had my family with me and didn’t get a chance to speak with Jeff Lemire or Scott Chandler. Jiminy christmas!
While perusing I had a chance to see the staff in action: they were helpful and courteous. A troublesome pre-teen that I would have given up on was treated with respect and patience as they coaxed out of him what he was looking for exactly.
Overall The Dragon is well stocked, well organized and a pleasure to visit.