The Joe Shuster Awards love comic shops big and small, so we will be placing a special emphasis on small town stores. If you would like to see your store profiled here, please contact us: email@example.com, and we would be happy to help you show off your store.
Dave Hermary of Amazing Fantasy is a great example of entrepreneurial people who are involved with comics because it’s something they enjoy doing. Dave really, really loves comics.
Store Name: Amazing Fantasy
Owner’s Name: Dave Hermary
Manager’s Name: Dave Hermary
Number of Employees: 2
Years in Business: 29
Physical Address and Phone Number: 5003 Ross Street, Red Deer, AB T4N 1Y2
How did you choose your store name?
I sell comics and science fiction & fantasy novels.
Favourite Comic Book, published in the past few months:
Five all-time classic comics, graphic novels or story arcs:
V For Vendetta, Banana Splits #1, Thor #133, Flaming Carrot #1, Lowlife
What are you excited about for this coming year? What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Working on renovations for the store, mainly all new comic/trade paperback fixtures. Also, almost have the website ready to go live.
What has been one of the most rewarding parts of running your business?
My relationship with my customers.
What has been one of the biggest challenges?
Keeping up with changes and trends in the industry and keeping my store “current” (fixtures, layout, etc.). There is never a dull moment.
Why are you a comics retailer?
Because I (REALLY) love comics!
Product Lines Carried:
Comics, TPs, hardcovers, science fiction and fantasy novels, little bit of merchandise.
Best selling books:
In collected form, Walking Dead & Ultimate Spiderman. Singles and back issues, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Deadpool, Wolverine, Amazing Spiderman & Conan.
What percentage of your business is comics compared to the peripherals of a ‘culture store’?
What books do you find yourself recommending the most?
Anything by Ed Brubaker
What great comic/manga should everyone under 14 be reading?
What comic/manga would you recommend for an adult interested in returning to comics?
Depends on the person and their tastes.
How important is the web to your business?
Don’t sell on the net, never will. However I can’t wait to get my website up and running so that I can assault the entire planet with a plethora of wacky stuff.
Does your store have an area of expertise? What makes your store unique?
I think the most unique thing about my store is me, not to sound vain or anything. I think every comic shop is defined by the personality(ies) of the people running them. Nothing is worse than going to a store that is just like every other store and the people working there might as well be robots.
Describe the comic book scene within your community?
Not much of a community as such, although a great number of my customers live for the annual conventions in the area (Calgary and Edmonton).
Do you participate in Free Comic Book Day?
What aspect of your store are you most proud?
My customers. When competition opened up in my town four years ago, I lost less than 2% of my customers to them, even when they offered them better discounts. At conventions they will stand in two hour line-ups just to get a sketch for me, then surprise me with it because they like to see a grown man cry. They just can’t wait to show me their new tattoos (sometimes, it’s best to wait, at least until it’s healed a bit…). They invite me to their weddings. We shoot pool together, go to movies together, consume adult beverages together (the ones that are of legal drinking age). My customers are my friends. I am not a millionaire and I never will be. My wealth is my friends. I have the best customers in the world and would do anything for them.
What have been some or your best/most fun promotions/events?
Hands down, the annual Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, for which I am a perennial sponsor. Biggest show in western Canada, always a blast, and every year it just gets better and better.
Have the last few years of Hollywood film releases changed your customer base?
Movies never really seemed to create much in the way of comic sales until just lately.
Graphic Novels have been a growth product for large bookstore chains, does this affect your customer base or business?
I thank the book trade everyday for growing awareness of the medium and “legitimizing” it. Acceptance of comic books as a fun and exciting medium of entertainment is a beautiful thing. As I said, I (REALLY) love comics!