Comic shop

Open on time, don't gouge your customers. Vaccume and shower regularly.


Also, don't treat your female customers like pieces of meat, or like they're stupid.
Keep air circulating. I'm dead serious. I don't think many shop owners realize how bad many of their customers smell, especially the ones that come in for Pokemon or Heroclix tournaments or whatever it is they are doing. It stinks up the whole store.
I visit two comic book stores regularly. One, I have been going to since I was 13, and I am still incredibly intimidated every time I go inside. The windows are blocked off by obscure posters and racks of magazines, the lighting is low, the small space is cramped with shelves, and the staff is not out and out mean but is not particularly friendly either, and I've never once felt comfortable enough to ask one of them a question about anything. I'll remind you that I have been going to this store since I was 13.

The other store I visit is located in Chicago's tourist-heavy Loop area. It's spacey, not just because it has twice the space of the other store, but because it chooses to sacrifice some product space so that its customers don't feel like they've just entered some kind of graphic novel labyrinth. It's well-lit and the windows are decorated sparsely with Marvel and DC superhero cut outs, which I've witnessed real children excitedly point at and then practically drag their parents inside. The staff actually smiles, greets people, strikes up friendly conversation with you, asks you if you need help.

The former kind of comic book store has a certain kind of appeal - it makes reading comics and being into geeky things feel like some sort of secret special cool people club, which is probably why so many comic stores are just like that and why many of their frequent customers prefer it that way. But it's precisely the reason why the industry is dying, because no kid could possibly walk into that kind of environment and not feel like they are unwanted there. Basically, run a comic book store like an actual business that wants actual customers, and not the Super Secret Comic Book Club (NO GIRLS ALLOWED).
Read the comics. I know you wouldn't think I would have to say that, but read the comics. A comic shop os a forum. People come in and want to talk about ahas happening in the books they read. So be able to talk back, but don't be immediately dismissive. My LCS owner barely reads anything that comes out and what he doesn't he brushes off as crap. It annoys me to no end when o see him kill a sale with his poor attitude to his product.
Basically, run a comic book store like an actual business that wants actual customers, and not the Super Secret Comic Book Club (NO GIRLS ALLOWED).
Repeated for emphasis. I have to confess, though, it's been years since I felt unwanted in a comic shop. My two local shops treat their female customers well (one is owned by a woman, and the other is frequented by the owner's girlfriend, so that may have something to do with it), but even the one I stopped in while visiting Portland, OR earlier this year had a professional staff that treated me like a valued customer, despite there not being another woman in sight.

My other advice: stop into a comic shop, or track down CS owners at conventions, and talk to them. It never hurts to get some first-hand information.

Definitely read the books, or hire people to work for you who do. It's the same deal as working in a bookstore or library -- the better you know your titles, the better your recommendations will be.

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