This past weekend I left the city and traveled very far north, all the way up to Sudbury in fact. While there I had to visit the local comic book store (as I do whenever I go to a new town), but to my surprise after Googling “comic store” only one red pin popped up on the map. For the size of Sudbury I couldn’t believe it. They only have one comic book store!?
Comics North is Sudbury’s one and only comic book store, and I can see why. They have a great central downtown location, when you walk in the store is bright, spacious and clean. As soon as the door opened the owner, Brad Hayes, popped up with a big smile and said “Hi!” in a very friendly manner. We got to chatting and I knew right away, this guy knows his stuff. I asked him what it was like owning his own store, and how he continues to own the only store in town. He said the store is laid out for women, wide aisles, bright lights and windows, and he keeps it clean and dust free (I must admit that it worked on me). Men don’t tend to mind the dark tight stores, but for women, especially moms, this technique works very well and I don’t think the men mind it either. It also allows new customers and children not to be so intimidated to come in and look around. When my ultimate goal in life of owning my own comic book store came up in conversation, Brad was very happy to spill any information he could to help me out. He even gave me two books on comic store ethics (for free!) and told me to call him any time if I had any questions.
Comics North has been in business for 30 years, although like a woman verging on a major birthday, Brad thought it was only 28 years. He then realized he has had the 28th anniversary a couple times now. Brad is still surprised he has the only comic store in Sudbury, “the city is large enough to support three comic book stores, and I wouldn’t mind a little friendly competition.” There are a couple gaming stores, but as for comics, Comics North stands alone in the city. This wasn’t always the case, there have been other stores in Sudbury, but Comics North has outlasted them all.
I think I liked Comics North so much because it really took me back to the old days of the local comic shop. As customers came in and out of the store you could see the great relationship between them and the owner and because of the warm atmosphere it made it easy for customers to chat with each other. Sadly I was on a schedule and had to leave or I would have stayed there all day.
If you are heading North and want to get some information about the store beforehand it may be a little hard; Comics North does not have a website. If you want their hours (which by the way, haven’t changed in 30 years) I would suggest picking up the phone and calling them. Brad admits that he is not computer savvy, but is lucky his clientele is. There is a Facebook page created by a loyal client, but that is it. I think it says a lot about Comics North and Brad that a client took the time to make a Facebook page for a business. Customers really want others to know about the store and want to extend the community feeling outside of store hours.
Leigh I have had the opportunity to pop into this store 3 times over the past 20 years and my expierence there was just about the same as yours every time. An old school store (some may call it a dinosaur)that has a charm all its own. Great post. I see the snow still hasn’t melted in Sudbury yet LOL!!
I live in Sudbury and shop at comics north on a regular basis. When I googled comics and Sudbury and I saw this my heart melted, every word is absolutely true about Brad and his shop, no matter how many times I go I always walk out with a smile. Long live Comics North!!
When I come across a great comic book store I feel that its customers should shout it from the roof tops, and I hope it encourages other comics stores to follow suit
If you look a little harder, there are actually two other places that sell back issues, but I remember them being fairly disorganized altogether. They were both more of gaming stores that sold the issues actually, rather than comic shops outright. I lived in Sudbury for 8 months for school about three years ago, so I got my books from Comics North that entire time. It’s a great little store, and I remember Brad giving me directions to the closest grocery stores my first week there. Great guy, great store.
Andrew is right. There is another comic book store called Adventure ‘n Games. Their focus is more gaming, though they do carry comic books, and will order back issues for you. However, I still do my comic book shopping at Comics North and probably always will. You cannot beat the friendly staff and willingness to help when back issues are needed.
A little late to post, but I just came back to Sudbury after many years, and I drove by the comic store and there was Brad. So I went in and browsed for old times sake – and Brad actually remembered me (it had been 6 years since I had been in).
Love this store. To me, it’s a big part of what I remember and love about Sudbury.
And what everyone is saying about Brad is true: he knows his stuff and is always very genuinely friendly.