The Shop Around the Corner

There’s a little comic store in a strip mall in the middle of nowhere.  Opened less than a year ago.   The man who owns it is about my age.   He is open 6 days a week and works every shift since he can’t afford any employees.  And each time I enter his store, I feel a sense of guilt.  Lingering in the air is the sense that his dream is dying.

What drives a man to start his own comic shop is different than the man that owns a restaurant or laundromat.  The odds are he’s been dreaming of it since childhood.   So to see someone losing the very same dream I have is heartbreaking. 

Sure, I don’t know for a fact that his business is failing.  But the evidence seems damning.  The fact that his store is in a place that cannot be found except by chance or specific determination. He has no employees and I rarely see customers.  More to the point he’s up agaist the local comics juggernaut.  His competition has been established for decades and is the most well known in the area.  In a city with very little comics community, that means everything.  I should know, I shop there myself.

I’ve developed  a relationship with the employees and the owners.  In the world of comics, that familiarity breeds loyalty.   Should I choose to spend my money at the Shop Around the Corner, every dollar that I spend is taken from the mouth of the child of my current establishment.  Having met said 1 year old daughter, I would feel especially guilty.

But still. Every once in a while I pass the little shop and buy a few things.  I consider offering to work with him on the weekends.   The things I could teach him about marketing could severely impact his sales.  But then that loyalty thing pops up.  And I shy away.

My dream has always been to own my own store.   And it scares me to think of it.  Risky business.  The future of comics is uncertain.  And it could go either way.  The Old Juggernaut.  Or the Little Shop Around the Corner.

It’s a good dream.   But is it a risk worth taking?


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