Comic Retailers – Stadium Comics (Brampton, ON)

Owner’s Names: Rob Sinnott and Kevin Hickey

Manager’s Names: Same

Number of Employees:  4

Years in Business: 20 years;  1.5 years under current ownership

Physical Address:  104 – 499 Main St. South, Brampton,  ON,  L6Y 1N7

Telephone Number:  (905) 451-3751

Website:  http://www.sidekickcomics.ca

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/stadiumcomics

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How did you choose your store name?

Stadium Comics was the name of the store when we took it over.  Our customers were familiar with the name and the brand, so we kept it.

Favorite Comic Book, published in the past few months:

Green Lantern

Five all-time classic comics, graphic novels or story arcs

Identity Crisis

Infinite Crisis

Green Lantern Rebirth

Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga

Batman: No Mans Land

What are you excited about for this coming year? What are your plans for the next 12 months?

We are excited about the Blackest Night Story line coming from DC Comics, and also ‘Wednesday Comics’.   We intend to grow our customer base over the next 12 months by getting the word out that Stadium is not like your average comic store: we are a fun, cool place to shop, and we like to make our customer’s shopping experience special.

What has been one of the most rewarding parts of running your business?

Being able to wake up everyday, go to work, and surround yourself with the things you love.  It’s always great to meet new readers and share with them the stories that remind you why you love comic books.

What has been one of the biggest challenges?

Not a lot of people had heard of our store prior to us becoming owners.  We have put a lot of effort into making our presence known in Greater Toronto.  Events like our Free Comic Book Days, creator signings, and through our website and social networking sites we believe we are making an impact.  It’s almost a daily occurrence for us to have someone from out of town come into our store because they have heard good things from someone or have seen us online.  It’s a great feeling!

Why are you a comics retailer?

We are comics retailers because we love the medium.  We have always read comic books and will always read comic books.  It’s not often that people actually get to work their dream job and we feel very lucky everyday when we throw open our doors.

Product Lines Carried:

Comics, Trades and Graphic Novels, Action Figures and Toys, Manga, Collectible Card Games, Original Comic Art, T-Shirts

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What percentage of your business is comics compared to the peripherals of a ‘culture store’?

70%

Best selling books

Trade Paperbacks – Y The Last Man, Watchmen, anything Joker-related

Manga – Naruto, Deathnote, and Bleach

What are your Best selling montly floppy comics?

New Avengers, Green Lantern, Batman, Uncanny X-Men, Justice League, Amazing Spider-man

What books do you find yourself recommending the most?

Y: The Last Man, Fables, Green Lantern, JSA

What great comic/manga should everyone under 14 be reading?

Comic – Tiny Titans

Manga – Naruto

What comic/manga would you recommend for an adult interested in returning to comics (superhero / non-superhero)?

Identity Crisis / Y: The Last Man

How important is the web to your business?

The web has been very important.  We recently launched our website which focuses on our subscription program.  Our customers can manage their pull list at the click of a button and receive discounts on their books.  It has been quite successful for us and very well received.  Our customers are able to have their own blog on our website.  We use social networking sites, like our Facebook and Twitter accounts, to communicate with our customers and provide the latest news to them about sales, promotions, signings, etc.

Does your store have an area of expertise? What makes your store unique?

We could say we are experts in comics, but every retailer would say that.  ;)

Our store carries a lot more original art and sketchbooks from talented artists than your average comic shop.  Much of the art comes from homegrown talent in and around the GTA.

A selection of Original Art available at Stadium Comics.

A selection of Original Art available at Stadium Comics.

Describe the comic book scene within your community? (e.g.: amateur comics, anime/manga clubs, comic clubs, convention events)

It’s hard to pin down a ‘scene’ in Brampton, being that it is only 15 minutes away from downtown Toronto which has such a great pop-culture scene going on. However there are a lot of comic fans in Brampton.  We want to help show the community that we can have our very own scene right here in our city.  When you have people coming out to our store from Toronto on Free Comic Book Day instead of some of the bigger stores downtown, you know you’re starting to take steps in the right direction!

Do you participate in Free Comic Book Day?

Absolutely!  This year was our second Free Comic Book Day as owners.  It was honestly the most successful day we’ve ever had, and the moment we were most proud of.

In our opinion, Free Comic Book Day should be akin to Boxing Day for comic retailers.  It should be the day where you create the most exciting and memorable experience for your customers, especially the new ones who are coming into your store for the first time for all the free stuff!

We started planning for our event at the beginning of January and we were able to put together an impressive guest list of NINE artists with the likes of Francis Manapul, Alex Milne, Marcio Takara, and Agnes Garbowska.

Francis Manapul makes an appearance during FCBD at Stadium Comics

Francis Manapul makes an appearance during FCBD at Stadium Comics

We promoted our event in store, at comic shows, and on the internet through Twitter and Facebook.  On the day, our store was packed and the artists were working non-stop all day!  Rogers Television News even came out to cover the story. We gave away over 2,000 comics and blew our previous sales record out of the water.  It was a tremendous day and everyone – customers, employees, and the artists – had a blast!

You can read our roundup of the day, complete with pictures, here:

http://www.sidekickcomics.ca/blog/kevin-hickey/free-comic-book-day-roundup

What aspect of your store are you most proud?

Our great selection of trade paperbacks, the original comic art and sketch books we bring into our store.

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What have been some or your best/most fun promotions/events?

See ‘Free Comic Book Day’ above :)

Have the last few years of Hollywood film releases changed your customer base?

Absolutely.  A lot of our customers who enjoy graphic novels and trade paperbacks have come to us because of movies like “The Watchmen” and “The Dark Knight”.  These movies have helped introduce them to comics.

Graphic Novels have been a growth product for large bookstore chains, does this affect your customer base or business?

Yes, more so in the past than now.  We implemented a rewards card that allows our customers to receive a free Trade Paperback, Graphic Novel, or Manga once they have purchased 10 books.  This has actually made customers who are used to buying those items at the large chains buy them in our store exclusively.

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