The Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer /Le Prix de Harry Kremer pour Détaillant Exceptionnel Canadien de Bandes Dessinées
Shops are recommended by the general public and a separate Retailer Award Committee reviews all materials received and select a store that has shown merit in a variety of categories (see details elsewhere on this site). Named after the late Harry Kremer, original owner of Now & Then Books (in Kitchener, Ontario)
Les boutiques sont nommés par le grand public et un Comité distinct pour La Récompense de détaillant exceptionnel passera en évaluation tous les documents reçus et choisira un magasin qui a montré du mérite dans une variété de catégories (voir les détails ailleurs sur ce site). Nommé en honneur du défunt Harry Kremer, premier propriétaire de Now & Then Books (a Kitchener, Ontario).
Anyone may nominate a worthy comic shop including employees, owners and Joe Shuster Award committee members, but the nominees must meet the following conditions:
- the retailer must be in business for at least two years to be considered eligible
- previous winners are not eligible for nomination (this includes the specific shop as well as franchises or other stores held by owners who have previously won)
All nominees will be considered by the Awards Association Executive. Nominated stores will be contacted to provide further information, as well the shops will be researched, through use of secret shoppers, to determine how well they meet the award criteria.
The criteria for judging includes:
- Support of a wide variety of innovative material
- Overall appeal of the store
- Community activity
- Adherence to standard ethical business practices
The judges of this award, aware of the award criteria, are given the freedom to determine their own preferences within the criteria (perhaps they feel that back issues are the most vital component of a comic book store) and grade the shops accordingly.
A 4 point scale is used:
0 = poor
1 = good
2 = great
3 = excellent
Total points scoring, as well as debate amongst the judges, determines the final winner.
For persons considering the nomination of a store, here is a breakdown of the criteria:
Support of a wide variety of innovative material. Providing opportunities for creators’ material to reach buyers is important and this is reflected by a retailer stocking a diverse inventory. Special focus is given to the following areas:
- age appropriate / kids comics
- self published comics / zines
- Canadian comic creators and publishers
- smaller press comics (back of Diamond publishers)
- larger press comics (Marvel/DC/Dark Horse/Image/IDW)
Overall appeal of the store and usage of space. If comic book retailers are the face of the comic book industry to the public, it’s important that the store put forth a quality image of themselves and the comic industry. We look at:
- professional and well-maintained outside appearance
- professional and well-maintained inside appearance
- quality signage (interior and exterior)
- quality fixtures and lighting
- attention to new comic racking, back issue availability and evergreen products (trades)
- store layout
Knowledge. Comic retailing is a broad and diverse business which requires specialized knowledge. It’s important to stay informed of modern retailing practices as well as building product knowledge.
- what distributors do you use?
- are you a member of any outside organizations?
- what events / conventions / seminars have you attended?
- have you written articles or scholarly papers about comics?
- were you interviewed in the press?
Community activity. Expanding the reach of comics is key to the growth of the market. Promoting comics to the community, building and maintaining relationships with schools and libraries, keeping active in social, business, and arts community organizations are all ways to market your business and help you stand out as a community leader.
- what advertising have you used?
- what in-store events have you hosted?
- what charities have you worked with?
- what is your level of community outreach?
Adherence to standard ethical business practices. Judges discretion is given here, but this would cover minor things like racking new-release ‘hot’ comics at cover price rather than marking them up, or major things, like staying off the crime blotter. Other issues, such as market competition and tactics used in growing or maintaining market share may be considered.
Winners are announced as part of the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Ceremony.
The Harry Kremer Retailer Award, is named after the late owner of Kitchener, ON store Now & Then Books. Kremer’s store was one of the first comic book specialty shops in North America and Kremer has a tremendous impact as a retailer, aficionado and patron of the sequential arts.
2005 – Now and Then Books (Kitchener, ON) – awarded posthumously to Harry Kremer, Owner
2006 – Strange Adventures (Halifax, NB) - Calum Johnston, Owner
2007 – Happy Harbor Comics (Edmonton, AB) - Jay Bardyla & Shawna Roe, Owners
2008 – Big B Comics (Hamilton, ON) - Walter Durajlija & Marc Sims, Owners
2009 – Legends Comics (Victoria, BC) - Lloyd Chesley & Gareth Gaudin, Owners
2010 – The Beguiling (Toronto, ON) – Peter Berkimoe & Shane Chung, Owners
2011 – Librairie Planète BD (Montreal, QC) – Carrefour Inc. BD, Owners
2012 – Silver Snail (Toronto, ON) – George Zotti and Mr. Gingras, Owners 2011 – present; Ron Van Leeuwen, Owner 1976 – 2011