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Pop Culture

Opening a comic book shop advice5151

Collector neyko private msg quote post Address this user
Don't.

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Collector neyko private msg quote post Address this user
One more

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Collector KatKomics private msg quote post Address this user
yeah - don't.
MY LCS has just changed hands but has been around since before I was 12 (43 now).
I am fully aware that it is the long time pre-order people that keep it going.
Many other have come and gone - one is now just a booth at a weekend flea market.

Pretty sure one not too far away was originally just to launder money, has changed hands and now probably sells 'other things' to stay afloat.
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Collector helsabot private msg quote post Address this user
I worked in a shop for 18 years and struggle with this topic, and yes don't do it. It is a hard business to break into unless your in a market with no shops around. Even then let's just say your competing for people's $$$ when they would rather spend it on other entertainment. What I have found these days is doing small comic centric conventions usually one day event is the most lucrative, but still a hard thing to really break into. I could go on with what is just my opinion for working these for more than half my life, but yes in the end it will suck your life and love of comics away.
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Collector RRO private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by helsabot
I worked in a shop for 18 years and struggle with this topic, and yes don't do it. It is a hard business to break into unless your in a market with no shops around. Even then let's just say your competing for people's $$$ when they would rather spend it on other entertainment. What I have found these days is doing small comic centric conventions usually one day event is the most lucrative, but still a hard thing to really break into. I could go on with what is just my opinion for working these for more than half my life, but yes in the end it will suck your life and love of comics away.


I come from the opposite end of the spectrum to you helsabot. In my 3 decades of LCS ownership I have to consider that it was one the best life decisions that I ever made, both personally and financially.
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Collector helsabot private msg quote post Address this user
@RRO I am very happy to hear this! And I do know it's not always the case, in my area, southern AZ, the comic scene is very different from everywhere else in the country. When I started doing the convention circuit and meeting retailers from the different parts of the country I realized the comic scene where I am at is completely backwards. That is why I say know your market of where you live, a shop can prosper and be the best ever and the happiest part of your life, or it can ruin your life. I have seen both.
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COLLECTOR drchaos private msg quote post Address this user
You may want to consider selling online as opposed to having an actual store. Either way has its advantages and disadvantages.
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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
I think both articles sum it up well. The demographics of every community will be different. Catering to customers in one area will different from another. First, you need to make sure that there are potential customers in the area with enough disposable income in the area to afford it. The shop will end up being an extension of the store owner's personality whether intentional or not. If you're not enthusiastic about Batman, the Batman fans will pick up on that and it will affect how they feel as they are buying Batman comics. I saw one store that was a haven for selling anything Star Trek related go to being the opposite when the store manager left the company.

I've seen stores where 90% of their sales were coming from two walls. The opposite two walls and every square foot was just dead inventory gathering dust. As a retailer, you are paying for every square foot of floor space. If it isn't generating sales, it's costing you money. You are paying rent to stockpile every item in the store that isn't selling.

Comic shops have problems with employee theft. Low paid staff see high dollar price tags and they are bad about slipping it out the door when no one is looking.

Customers that run into bad life situations aren't going to tell you. Rather than face the shame of telling you that they won't be able to afford things they've preordered, they'll let you keep the stuff on order for months until that one day they quit showing up.

The most valuable thing you own when you run a store is not the merchandise. The most valuable thing you own is a want list from paying customers. If you know what they want and what they can afford, there's very little financial risk.

A store opened in my area maybe a years ago. They hadn't built up a customer base for new comics. They were offering a steep discount to build a customer base which means they had a very small profit margin. I estimated the value of their inventory and estimated what they must be paying for the storefront. I shook my head, because there wasn't enough inventory in the store even to pay the rent on a day by day basis. Unless they were cycling through their entire inventory as fast as they stocked it, there was no way they were making a profit.
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Collector KatKomics private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by X51
I think both articles sum it up well. The demographics of every community will be different. Catering to customers in one area will different from another. First, you need to make sure that there are potential customers in the area with enough disposable income in the area to afford it. The shop will end up being an extension of the store owner's personality whether intentional or not. If you're not enthusiastic about Batman, the Batman fans will pick up on that and it will affect how they feel as they are buying Batman comics. I saw one store that was a haven for selling anything Star Trek related go to being the opposite when the store manager left the company.

I've seen stores where 90% of their sales were coming from two walls. The opposite two walls and every square foot was just dead inventory gathering dust. As a retailer, you are paying for every square foot of floor space. If it isn't generating sales, it's costing you money. You are paying rent to stockpile every item in the store that isn't selling.

Comic shops have problems with employee theft. Low paid staff see high dollar price tags and they are bad about slipping it out the door when no one is looking.

Customers that run into bad life situations aren't going to tell you. Rather than face the shame of telling you that they won't be able to afford things they've preordered, they'll let you keep the stuff on order for months until that one day they quit showing up.

The most valuable thing you own when you run a store is not the merchandise. The most valuable thing you own is a want list from paying customers. If you know what they want and what they can afford, there's very little financial risk.

A store opened in my area maybe a years ago. They hadn't built up a customer base for new comics. They were offering a steep discount to build a customer base which means they had a very small profit margin. I estimated the value of their inventory and estimated what they must be paying for the storefront. I shook my head, because there wasn't enough inventory in the store even to pay the rent on a day by day basis. Unless they were cycling through their entire inventory as fast as they stocked it, there was no way they were making a profit.



Think you hit the nail on the head here.
Hope the new owners at my LCS figure it out (or at least there are enough of us pre-order types to keep them going!) I never, ever leave books to buy later - I want them to know if I order I pay
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Collector CopperAgeKids private msg quote post Address this user
For the most part, f you need advice on opening a store.....you should not open a store.

Comic shops can be succesful, but you have to know the market very well and be tight with buying weekly new books.

If new books don't sell by the next Wednasday, they are pretty much instant .50 cent books you can bleed hundreds of dollars per week on new books, easy....and having .50 cent blowout books in your own store is a horrible idea.

Most shops make a big chunk of their profit thru Magic cards and hosting tournaments; something I don't know anything about.

The best thing IMO about having a shop is the ability to buy collections that walk thru the door.

That said, a CGC boardie opened up a shop about a year and change ago, he kept a thread on it over there. If you are seriously considering opening a shop, you should read that thread.

His CGC boardie tag is Youmechooz, I just looked for the thread but didn't see it.

I'm sure it exists but I don't feel like wading thru possibly dozens of search results to find it, though.

Belowis a thread he commented in about having a Diamond account, just click on his user ID and search his posts....refining a search under his user ID and " comic shop" or "comic store" would probbaly yield the thread quick enough.

https://www.cgccomics.com/boards/topic/421740-diamond-account-dumb-idea/

Ona sidenote, that dude is a helluva nice cat, I met him(Jason) at Wizard Philly a few years back.

Hit up his eBay store, he also runs board sales on the CGC forums, I've bought from him before. : CAK Stamp Of Approval :

Just picked up a Miracleman #15 CGC 9.4 off him in auction for under $60 shipped, this week actually.
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Collector ZosoRocks private msg quote post Address this user
What about a Pop Culture shop?...not strictly comics, but, action figures, nostalgia, and the like?

I've thought about that for a while....
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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZosoRocks
What about a Pop Culture shop?...not strictly comics, but, action figures, nostalgia, and the like?

I've thought about that for a while....


Do the math. Get some quotes on a storefront. Get an estimate on what power and water will cost for a month. Determine what salaries you'll need to pay for a month. Once you add up all the fixed expenses, that will be how much inventory you will need to sell to break even. Actually, that's how much inventory you will be giving away each month. Because if you buy that much inventory at wholesale prices and sell it for what you paid, you haven't made one dime of profit. Whatever total you get, you'll pretty much need to double that dollar figure in actual sales to start making a healthy profit. Even after you factor fixed expenses, toilets might back up. The roof might have a leak that your landlord ignores month after month. Customers may steal. You might have to order 100 copies of a comic to get your best customer that variant he expects you to get him. Then you have to charge him 80 times cover price on that variant to cover your costs on the extra 80 copies that you have no customers to sell to. Your best customer then thinks you are ripping him off by charging him so much. Unless your store is doing healthy enough volume to keep a staff on hand without you, you are running the store's day to day operations and have no time to seek out the lucrative collections of comics, toys and nostalgia that will keep customers going back. It used to be that you could get people bringing in good collections and selling the stuff to you low enough that you can mark them up for a profit. Now people pretty much cherry pick the good stuff from a collection and bring you the hard to sell stuff. They either keep the valuable items for themselves or sell them on eBay directly. Your store fills up with books that none of your regular customers want. That's what I was saying above, 90% of the floor space isn't moving and isn't helping to pay rent at all. You are paying to store dead inventory.
Diversifying helps, but it doesn't resolve any of the root problems.

In the 90's, stores could sub-distribute. They could order 20 copies of new comics for themselves and 2 cases for local sports card dealers or small book shops. They could order a case for convention dealers who would actually go out and create new customers by selling to their neighbors and coworkers who would never even know where to go to buy comics. Diamond eliminated that and you are in violation of their terms if you resell at deep discounts. The retailer is now tied to whatever customers they can coax into walking through their door.

Oh yeah... when you factor your fixed expenses, go ahead and budget money for advertising. The publisher isn't going to do it. The distributor isn't going to do it. Once you've placed your order, they have your money. You were the only customer they had to worry about. All the advertising is your burden.
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Collector KatKomics private msg quote post Address this user
@X51 don't forget any new customers come in after seeing a movie only to find out there are a dozen spidermen, Thor is a girl, DC is on yet another re-boot etc. etc. Movies may help individual comics (1st app) but don't help with on-going series/sales (where the bread and butter is)
Also have to love $5.00 comics - hard sell as an entry point, your die hards (and many on these boards) may care about variants etc. but joe blow doesn't. I bring my 10 yr old to the LCS once in a while - he could care less about all the gimmicks - just wants to read a Rocket Raccoon book.
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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatKomics
@X51 don't forget any new customers come in after seeing a movie only to find out there are a dozen spidermen, Thor is a girl, DC is on yet another re-boot etc. etc. Movies may help individual comics (1st app) but don't help with on-going series/sales (where the bread and butter is)
Also have to love $5.00 comics - hard sell as an entry point, your die hards (and many on these boards) may care about variants etc. but joe blow doesn't. I bring my 10 yr old to the LCS once in a while - he could care less about all the gimmicks - just wants to read a Rocket Raccoon book.


Yes.
Forgot to mention that you are a free babysitter. Moms drop off their kids to shop for an hour with no money while they get their nails done. They come back to pick up the kids. The kids beg mom to buy them a comic or toy. The mom looks at the price and says "absolutely not". She drags the kids out crying.
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Collector RRO private msg quote post Address this user
Well, this has turned into a lexicon of negatives and worst case scenarios. Anyone that goes into business with only these expectancies is doomed. A business, LCS's included, will rise or fall on the ability and savvy of the proprietor to formulate or garner a sound business plan, have reasonable working capitol and the willingness to adapt.
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Collector KatKomics private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by RRO
Well, this has turned into a lexicon of negatives and worst case scenarios. Anyone that goes into business with only these expectancies is doomed. A business, LCS's included, will rise or fall on the ability and savvy of the proprietor to formulate or garner a sound business plan, have reasonable working capitol and the willingness to adapt.


True..I just think you are behind the 8 ball from the start. Hard to entice new readers (high $ entry point and too many story lines/universes etc. heck I have 7k comics and even I've largely stopped buying new DC and Marvel) and harder to steal customers from other LCS. There are a lot of ways to spend your entertainment dollar and it's not like to old days when comics were literally in every corner store.

Hate to be negative but you don't want to go into things thinking it is all sunshine - there's a reason I have only 3 comic shops in a 45 minute radius (with approx 1million people)

Sorry 3 that I would go into - about 3 or 4 more around but in sketchy areas (need to afford rent) and some are open less than 24hrs in a week, one I'm pretty sure sells pot etc. and appears to be run by homeless people - which I'm ok with but not to take my 10yr old into
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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by RRO
Well, this has turned into a lexicon of negatives and worst case scenarios. Anyone that goes into business with only these expectancies is doomed. A business, LCS's included, will rise or fall on the ability and savvy of the proprietor to formulate or garner a sound business plan, have reasonable working capitol and the willingness to adapt.


Most people start a comic shop based on the idea that it'll be fun and that they'll be able to get paid for a hobby they enjoy. They have no business related skills or acumen to even run a business. They squeak by while sacrificing everything they can to keep things afloat. Many years later they look back and see everything they've sacrificed. Sometimes it even costs them their marriage. If I could save one person from having a decade of regret in their life, I'll lay it out exactly like it is so that they are well informed and know exactly what they will face. There is not one store within a 20 mile range of where I live that even interests me enough to walk through the door. Their selection is horrible. People are sitting around playing Magic the Gathering or Hero Clicks for free because the store has to offer some reason for people to come back. This isn't a worst case scenario. These are daily issues. Unless you start out with large cash reserves these days and build up a rich clientele to buy those books, you're going to be struggling. Even then, if you've got customers buying Batman #1's, the new stuff you are selling is a throw away portion of your business.

In the 90's when the Death of Superman came out, I was enlisted to pick up a store's comics from the distributor because I had a truck. Three of us hauled cases of books to the store and unloaded them in through the back door. Some store employees started sorting out the comics into pull boxes for the customers who had pre-ordered their comics. The manager was on the phone taking an order for movie posters. The manager looks up and sees customers clawing at the glass and crawling all over themselves to get a peek into the store. The store was going to open in 5 minutes. The manager got angry. He said "This is why I hate new comics!" I was baffled. I said, "You're about to have the biggest comic sales day in your store's history!" He shook his head and said "They may be true, but I just made more profit on that one phone order and I didn't have to deal with all that."
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Collector Drogio private msg quote post Address this user
I have an LCS that's been business as long as I remember...I've been living in my current area for 20 years. It's a decent size store in a decent location. It has several walls of newer books, and dozens of long boxes. The back issue selection has been cherry picked. Even with that, what's left is overpriced by about 200-300% or just overgraded. There is a decent wall of keys behind the counter, many graded, but I could get any of them off EBay for a fraction of what they offer.

They have a decent staff..(3-4 working at any one time), but it seems like the staff always out numbers the customers at any one time. They get new books, but e hot ones sell out within hours, and I make it a point to get there when it opens on Wednesdays to be able to not only get the newest issue, but pick from the small selection for the best condition (don't like pull lists as so many issues recieive damage from the distributor these days....I like my new comics 9.6 or better).

They also diversify, new and used action figures/toys, card games and books...they used to sell pirated movies, but the owner got in trouble a while back and I believe the court forced him to sell the shop rather than face jail time. They host magic and hero click game sessions.

Anyway...somehow they stayin business..staff is nice and helpful. Location helps, and not having real competition 60 minute driving radius also helps. A smaller shop opened up this past summer around the corner, not offering much other than a few copies of new issues and a few long boxes of Drek...it was gone in 3 months. I felt bad as it was run by a young man and his wife, but it was obvious hey were scrapping buy as the wife running the register and their very young kids were always there watching tv or reading. Very nice people, but not a good business model to start.

I don't know how all the shops I walk into stay in business, but thankful they do. I like walking into a store and the thrill of the chase for a book...not quite the same for an on.ine store.
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COLLECTOR drchaos private msg quote post Address this user
One store near me just changed hands and has a new owner. The appearance is slightly better but the new owner mostly wants to keep it the same as it was.

Another store near me always seems to have a great number of back issues and wall books. I have no idea how they manage to restock so quickly, especially after their bi-annual half price sale. They have two stores and set up at many shows including NYCC so they go through a lot of books. In addition to his uncanny ability to obtain back issues the owner has my respect for driving out to Chicago to set up there. Toronto is closer and the drive home took a lot out of me.

Other stores in the area don't seem to turn over their back issues as often unless you want to talk about the NYC stores. Midtown, etc. are in a whole different ball park.
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Collector moodswing private msg quote post Address this user
I haven't bought a "modern" comic is probably 15 years. When you hire writers with no experience and then they decide to completely change a character that you followed, bad things happen. Sales are way down and if you are depending on current issue sales to stay afloat, you are going to be in a lot of trouble. Marvel needs to get their act together. I think DC is doing ok but I am more of a Marvel guy. My initial thoughts it would be less risky just to sell online but I am not sure what goes into getting moderns at wholesale.
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Collector ZosoRocks private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by X51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZosoRocks
What about a Pop Culture shop?...not strictly comics, but, action figures, nostalgia, and the like?

I've thought about that for a while....


Do the math. Get some quotes on a storefront. Get an estimate on what power and water will cost for a month. Determine what salaries you'll need to pay for a month. Once you add up all the fixed expenses, that will be how much inventory you will need to sell to break even. Actually, that's how much inventory you will be giving away each month. Because if you buy that much inventory at wholesale prices and sell it for what you paid, you haven't made one dime of profit. Whatever total you get, you'll pretty much need to double that dollar figure in actual sales to start making a healthy profit. Even after you factor fixed expenses, toilets might back up. The roof might have a leak that your landlord ignores month after month. Customers may steal. You might have to order 100 copies of a comic to get your best customer that variant he expects you to get him. Then you have to charge him 80 times cover price on that variant to cover your costs on the extra 80 copies that you have no customers to sell to. Your best customer then thinks you are ripping him off by charging him so much. Unless your store is doing healthy enough volume to keep a staff on hand without you, you are running the store's day to day operations and have no time to seek out the lucrative collections of comics, toys and nostalgia that will keep customers going back. It used to be that you could get people bringing in good collections and selling the stuff to you low enough that you can mark them up for a profit. Now people pretty much cherry pick the good stuff from a collection and bring you the hard to sell stuff. They either keep the valuable items for themselves or sell them on eBay directly. Your store fills up with books that none of your regular customers want. That's what I was saying above, 90% of the floor space isn't moving and isn't helping to pay rent at all. You are paying to store dead inventory.
Diversifying helps, but it doesn't resolve any of the root problems.

In the 90's, stores could sub-distribute. They could order 20 copies of new comics for themselves and 2 cases for local sports card dealers or small book shops. They could order a case for convention dealers who would actually go out and create new customers by selling to their neighbors and coworkers who would never even know where to go to buy comics. Diamond eliminated that and you are in violation of their terms if you resell at deep discounts. The retailer is now tied to whatever customers they can coax into walking through their door.

Oh yeah... when you factor your fixed expenses, go ahead and budget money for advertising. The publisher isn't going to do it. The distributor isn't going to do it. Once you've placed your order, they have your money. You were the only customer they had to worry about. All the advertising is your burden.

Sounds like you shouldn't have invested you time and money. Bummer for you.


But there is no need to explain to me the overhead costs....trust me...I know.

I've made my career in Matls Management and the Supply Chain and Logistics.

I understand the operations of a business from start to finish.

I have about $30k of my own inventory already, and have been doing the eBay thing since about 2007....but have been on eBay since 1998.....when it was just beginning.

My point was to see if pop culture would be a viable thriving business and if pop culture really does sell?

....Versus owning a LCS.

I'd never be that guy, although I think nostalgia and comics could go together...and have talked partnerships with comic collectors.

Granted it is a lot of work....work I have not made that leap of faith to.

Thanks for responding.

Good info for someone.
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Collector doog private msg quote post Address this user
My son opened one, 1 year anniversary is now. (Milwaukee, The Turning Page). Best thing he has ever done.
The old time owners told him “don’t do new comics” so he found a partner who wanted to do new ones, and rents him a store wall. The guy keeps it as a separate business, license and all. He closes the store and does conventions regularly, buys collections, sells on consignment, does toys, games, figures and such. Sells on eBay.
I say go for it, beats a regular paycheck for some folks, and you do something hopefully you love
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Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
I started up in September, doing very small scale, by appointment & online only, running things out of my garage. I've only made $3k since I opened shop, but I have zero debt, and zero overhead.

The plan is to remain small-scale for a couple of years; buying small collections, building sets, and selling whatever I can. I need to develop experience; what books are key, learn how to evaluate condition, get a feel for what book sells at what price...the comic-specific skill set, as well as the business skills of bookkeeping, budget, payroll, taxes, etc.

I'm not doing this to get rich (though I won't complain if I come across a barn full of stuff from 1900-1980); but to learn what I need to learn so that someday in the very-very-very-far off future I can retire from my day job, and open/operate a decent LCS.
Post 23 • IP   flag post
Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZosoRocks
Quote:
Originally Posted by X51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZosoRocks
What about a Pop Culture shop?...not strictly comics, but, action figures, nostalgia, and the like?

I've thought about that for a while....


Do the math. Get some quotes on a storefront. Get an estimate on what power and water will cost for a month. Determine what salaries you'll need to pay for a month. Once you add up all the fixed expenses, that will be how much inventory you will need to sell to break even. Actually, that's how much inventory you will be giving away each month. Because if you buy that much inventory at wholesale prices and sell it for what you paid, you haven't made one dime of profit. Whatever total you get, you'll pretty much need to double that dollar figure in actual sales to start making a healthy profit. Even after you factor fixed expenses, toilets might back up. The roof might have a leak that your landlord ignores month after month. Customers may steal. You might have to order 100 copies of a comic to get your best customer that variant he expects you to get him. Then you have to charge him 80 times cover price on that variant to cover your costs on the extra 80 copies that you have no customers to sell to. Your best customer then thinks you are ripping him off by charging him so much. Unless your store is doing healthy enough volume to keep a staff on hand without you, you are running the store's day to day operations and have no time to seek out the lucrative collections of comics, toys and nostalgia that will keep customers going back. It used to be that you could get people bringing in good collections and selling the stuff to you low enough that you can mark them up for a profit. Now people pretty much cherry pick the good stuff from a collection and bring you the hard to sell stuff. They either keep the valuable items for themselves or sell them on eBay directly. Your store fills up with books that none of your regular customers want. That's what I was saying above, 90% of the floor space isn't moving and isn't helping to pay rent at all. You are paying to store dead inventory.
Diversifying helps, but it doesn't resolve any of the root problems.

In the 90's, stores could sub-distribute. They could order 20 copies of new comics for themselves and 2 cases for local sports card dealers or small book shops. They could order a case for convention dealers who would actually go out and create new customers by selling to their neighbors and coworkers who would never even know where to go to buy comics. Diamond eliminated that and you are in violation of their terms if you resell at deep discounts. The retailer is now tied to whatever customers they can coax into walking through their door.

Oh yeah... when you factor your fixed expenses, go ahead and budget money for advertising. The publisher isn't going to do it. The distributor isn't going to do it. Once you've placed your order, they have your money. You were the only customer they had to worry about. All the advertising is your burden.

Sounds like you shouldn't have invested you time and money. Bummer for you.


But there is no need to explain to me the overhead costs....trust me...I know.

I've made my career in Matls Management and the Supply Chain and Logistics.

I understand the operations of a business from start to finish.

I have about $30k of my own inventory already, and have been doing the eBay thing since about 2007....but have been on eBay since 1998.....when it was just beginning.

My point was to see if pop culture would be a viable thriving business and if pop culture really does sell?

....Versus owning a LCS.

I'd never be that guy, although I think nostalgia and comics could go together...and have talked partnerships with comic collectors.

Granted it is a lot of work....work I have not made that leap of faith to.

Thanks for responding.

Good info for someone.


I've never run a shop, but I was friends with many of the local retailers years ago. I was more into shop talk about what it takes to run a business than I was about character plots. One store manager was bragging about how well his store was doing under his management. on the surface, operations looked healthy. Playing devils advocate, I asked his to run the numbers. We went over the store expenses and he gave me estimates. I showed him how sales were not adequate for the expenses. He was shocked, but couldn't deny the hard numbers. 3 months later the owner closed his store. Another store in the chain had a reasonably nice selection of silver age. It was a longer drive for me to get there. I'd periodically look through their silver age books if I extra money to burn. Over the period of about three months, I saw their best silver age books disappearing even though they'd been sitting like rocks for years. I asked the store manager, he said he couldn't explain where they went but he thought an employee was stealing them. He couldn't prove it.

I knew another store where the owner was always calling the manager the day rent was due to find out how much cash was in the drawer. He'd get chewed out and told that he needed a certain amount in the drawer to help cover rent. One of the former employees who left the company knew that was going on and would call the manager the same day to find out what amount the store needed to keep the owner happy. He'd walk in with that amount of money and name his price on anything he wanted in the store to keep the manager out of hot water with the owner. He was buying high dollar stuff at a fraction of what it was worth. He was picking up $100 box sets for $20. The manager didn't know what else to do and he was authorized to set prices.

Another owner operated two stores for about 5 years. He was struggling month to month and barely paying bills. During that time, he was amassing more and more inventory that he couldn't sell. In a moment of frustration he decided to shut down both stores. He sold everything off with massive discounts. After it was all said and done, he was excited because he went from being in debt to having excess money in his bank account. He had all his money tied up in inventory. It's a catch-22. He needed inventory to attract back issue customers, but they weren't buying enough to cover the bills. All his money was tied up in inventory at a faster rate than he could sell the product. Once he flushed out all of that product out completely, he got his money out. It was the equivalent of investing money for 5 years poorly, and then getting back 2 years worth of his money in one lump sum.

Don't get me wrong though. Some people can make it work. It's usually not the guy who says "Oh I lost my job at the factory, running a comic shop sounds like a fun way to make money."
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Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by doog
My son opened one, 1 year anniversary is now. (Milwaukee, The Turning Page). Best thing he has ever done.
The old time owners told him “don’t do new comics” so he found a partner who wanted to do new ones, and rents him a store wall. The guy keeps it as a separate business, license and all. He closes the store and does conventions regularly, buys collections, sells on consignment, does toys, games, figures and such. Sells on eBay.
I say go for it, beats a regular paycheck for some folks, and you do something hopefully you love


It sounds like he's subcontracted away a lot of the headaches and responsibility. It would be interesting to see how that was structured. Especially, how the labor expenses are absorbed. Is the guy selling new comics getting free labor to ring it up? Are the customers okay with him closing the store to do shows? It's definitely a "divide and conquer" way to overcome obstacles.

I'm skeptical about supplementing store sales with eBay sales. When I talk to people who say they make "a lot of money selling on eBay", they are not usually factoring their time invested. Yes, they are making sales and doing what they want to do. They are also monitoring their auctions, answering questions, and packaging/shipping orders 24 hours a day. Some people are investing so much time that their financial returns are the equivalent of McDonald's wages. If that's your hobby, and that's how you like spending your time, I'm not going to knock someone for doing what they love to do. For me though, I prefer the 9-5 job with health insurance & benefits. I like to know that at the end of my work day that it's my time and no strings are trying to pull me one direction or another.
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Collector ZosoRocks private msg quote post Address this user
Oh X51...don't get me wrong, it is a hobby, amongst the many I have. I think I treasure hunt more often these days.

I like selling on eBay because of two things primarily....

1 - the stuff has been sitting, I've enjoyed it, but now when I find I bought it for enjoyment, I'm ready to sell. Investment? yes, Money made? yes.

2 - I sell, someone else gets enjoyment.

Do I make money? Sure...but this hobby isn't all about money to be made.....enjoying the world others did so you can enjoy the hobby is where I put my cards.

Do I make lots of money doing the buy and selling stuff...nope....just having fun putting smiles, upon others. But I did invest well....IMO

I'm way past living for the dollar....although I still do, technically....it isn't what I live for nowadays.

Cheers.
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Collector ZosoRocks private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by X51
Quote:
Originally Posted by doog
My son opened one, 1 year anniversary is now. (Milwaukee, The Turning Page). Best thing he has ever done.
The old time owners told him “don’t do new comics” so he found a partner who wanted to do new ones, and rents him a store wall. The guy keeps it as a separate business, license and all. He closes the store and does conventions regularly, buys collections, sells on consignment, does toys, games, figures and such. Sells on eBay.
I say go for it, beats a regular paycheck for some folks, and you do something hopefully you love


It sounds like he's subcontracted away a lot of the headaches and responsibility.


Probably a "sub-lease" if he owned the property.....and/or has allowed renters to setup individually.

You see this type of activity with strip mall outlets of sorts. One store may be an entire "flea market"...with individual sections of the store designated for an individual seller.
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COLLECTOR conditionfreak private msg quote post Address this user
What's the worst thing that could happen if you do open an LCS?

You lose a ton of money, slowly.

But, at least you will know. If you don't give it a try, you will never know for sure.

I say go for it. It's only money. Live the dream. You can always sell shoes with Al Bundy if it doesn't work out.
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Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
I made the decision to start very small because I have a fixed amount of money I'm willing to lose. So far, I've invested $5,000 into the business, and I've made $3,000 in sales. Most of the initial investment was for materials (boxes, boards, bags, dividers, shelving), office equipment (computer, desk, filing cabinet, printer), and product (comics). If things keep going the way they are, I'll have recovered my initial investment & transition to making a profit at some point in 2018.

It only works because I run the shop out of my home, and I don't have any employees. I don't have overhead on another location, payroll, health insurance, or any of the other myriad costs associated w/ a retail location. I did have to get a secondary insurance policy to cover the business assets, paid a lawyer to ensure my paperwork was in order, and I'll end up paying an accountant to hold my hand through the initial tax season; but that's the cost of doing business.
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Collector RRO private msg quote post Address this user
There are no absolutes in life and/or business. However, I would strongly caution against two aspects of small business: a partnership (although silent partnerships can work) and operating in contravention of legal boundaries, mostly city & state regulations and permits and tax aspects. I have known many a failure due to those factors.
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