Just on the cusp of the announcement that they have received their 3rd nomination for the Harry Kremer Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer Award, Vancouver BC’s Elfsar Comics and Toys has announced that the popular retail store is closing in late May 2010 due to rent increases cutting into profitability.
Many of you are probably wondering why there has not been a monthly reminder to read Elfbytes or that your orders are now due. Well the truth is Elfsar has been involved in some lengthy negotiations over the past few weeks with our landlord and unfortunately it has not worked out like we had planned.
Upon the renewal of our lease our landlord has demanded more than two and a half times what we were currently paying to be in Yaletown (which was not chump change to begin with). We half suspect that the Shoppers drug mart above and next to us is after all (or at least half) of our space for added storage and is willing to pay a premium to take it.
The numbers simply no longer add up and Elfsar as a retail store would cease to become a viable business. Even if I were to let go of all staff and get rid of all saver file discounts and free bags and boards we would still be required to double the amount of sales and I truly do not think that is possible in an industry which its own future is in question.
Faced with either moving the business/starting over or cutting my losses/shutting it down, I have had to make the very hard decision to close Elfsar as a retail store.
We will be shutting the doors down on Sunday May 23rd – the day before Victoria day. Saver files should get in contact with me regarding any issues they have left to commit to. An email or printed copy will be made available so that you can transfer your file to another store with the least amount of difficultly. I deeply apologize for the short notice as I was hoping to finally work out a deal with our landlord so that we could continue to bring you the very best in comics and service.
The three most convenient stores that offer a subscription program are as follows:
GOLDENAGE – The closest store (location wise) to us. They offer saver files. No discounts. No charges. Go one month without a pickup and they sell your books to other customers.
THE COMIC SHOP – The closest store (operation wise) to us. A security deposit of $25 is needed to set up a file. They track your sales for 3 months. If you spend $100 per month you then qualify to get 10% off, $200 per month you get 20% off…etc. As long as you keep spending you qualify to get the discount.
RX COMICS – The closest store (service wise) to us. No security deposit or membership fees. Saver files save 5% off the U.S. cover price.
All mail order files will be contacted via email with the remaining comics and toys left to come in and those who have CGC orders still remaining will be contacted once your order has been completed. All shipments will be forwarded to a new office in North Vancouver which will be the head office for www.elfsar.com .
For those of you who will be on vacation at the time, we will mail your deposits back along with any outstanding items that had come in while you were away to the address you have provided us. Other deposits from other customers will be returned in store upon the final visit.
Many of you that know me understand that I have been closely watching what has been happening in the comic book world (not just as a fan, but as a retail business owner). The fact is the “modern age” of comics is changing at a rapid pace. With one million in sales through mobile formats such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Kindle, and PSP formats in 2009, I believe that in the next 5 to 10 years we will see the most significant changes to the comic industry as a whole. Heck the biggest threat, known as the iPad has not even hit Canada yet and we have already seen the ripple effect in our business. Yes, they are not offering any new comics for the time being but as costs and availability change over the next few years the comic book retail world is becoming a scarier place to be. A new age is starting to emerge, let’s call it the “Digital age” of comics. Even though torrents have existed for years now (with minimal effort one can get any new comic instantly) I applaud those who are trying to make digital comics a sellable format.
I like paper comics, don’t get me wrong, but the new digital formats for comics is exciting. What can be achieved in storytelling by changing elements within the same panel is new and ready to be played with (here is a fine example of what I am talking about: http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/about-DIGITAL-COMICS-111966969 or check out http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/ABOUt-about-DIGITAL-COMICS-112523191 )
Is this the end of Elfsar? Not entirely. We are restructuring and will be switching to a more e-tail based business. www.elfsar.com will be changing over the next year to a site that is focusing more on the art of comics, fine art and other digital formats.
However, Elfsar is not done yet….
We plan on pulling all the stops as we offer the biggest sale we have ever had in our 7 year history!
As a big thank you to all our comic saver files, we invite you to come in a day earlier on April 30th to beat the rush to get first dibs on our special deals. *note you are still encouraged to come to the event on Saturday to meet the creators, get the free comics, participate in raffles and get your photo taken with members of the Xavier institute for gifted youngsters. We also have a few surprises on May 1st… that I am being tight lipped about.
Our special sale is as follows:
SAVE 20 to 80% OFF - Toys, Statues, Models, Novelties, T-Shirts & Posters!
SAVE up to 50% OFF - Graphic Novels, Art Books, Comic Sets & Magazines
(with our new and improved Buy 1 get another 1 FREE sale!)
A BACK ISSUE CLEARANCE SALE THAT GEEKS DREAM ABOUT
SAVE 55% OFF - on any single comic.
Or BUY 10 comics for only $10
Or BUY 30 comics for only $25
Or BUY a short box (approx 150 comics) for $75 and fill it up with as many comics from the back issue bins as you can.*
Or BUY a long box (approx 300 comics) for $100 and fill it up with as many comics from the back issue bins as you can.*
*Note: To be fair to everyone, you may not select more than 1 copy per comic of the same cover. In other words you can not grab all 50 copies of Wolverine #1 to fill a box. However, you can buy as many times as you like (if your goal is to get more of the same comic with the same cover). Comics placed in boxes must be stacked vertically and the cashier must be able to insert one finger in on both ends to qualify. Boxes must be able to close with a lid.
For more information about Free Comic book Day check our website: http://www.elfsar.com/FCBD/2010/Event.htm
My thanks to everyone for making my job a joy to come to every day,
-Ethan (A.K.A. The Big Elf)