Comic book retail in the 1990s was very different. Due to a vast distribution system there was a relatively low start up cost, and it seemed that anyone and everyone was opening up a shop with little more than a personal collection and a thousand bucks in product. This led to a glut of stores, and while some were very good, most were not and they no longer are in business. Now, being a good store doesn’t guarantee that you will be successful, but it is a helpful start.
Following the steps we’ve outlined in this series should provide you with enough information to know whether or not comic book retail is for you. Test out how much you selling comic books at small one day conventions, learn about the industry and decide on your inventory, and think about what the layout of your store will look like. Once you’ve followed these early steps you can think more seriously about whether or not opening a brick and mortar store is for you.
There are many retailers that only sell at conventions. They are their sole employee and they don’t need to deal with the extra responsibilities of opening a permanent fixture. If that is where your journey ends that is great! We need great dealers at conventions too. But if you are excited to go further and want to become part of the industry in a real way, then we do hope you will consider opening your own shop.
The industry is heading into a difficult time in 2016. Relaunches of both Marvel and DC have not resonated with readers, the cover price is increasing, and for Canadian retailers the strength of the dollar will impact sales. But with these difficulties comes opportunity, and, for retailers willing to offer customers a diverse range of products, a chance to make some changes in the industry.
We hope that these articles have been informative for any of you thinking about opening up your own shop. It can’t be stressed enough: it is a lot of hard work. However, for those willing to put in the hard work, listen to the customer, and support a diverse range of product, there will be great rewards and a fulfilling and lucrative career.