Wednesday, May 11, 2005

So What Exactly Should Big Monkey Sell?

Okay, here are my initial thoughts on what the store is gong to have. Please feel free to tell me where you think I should make edits and the like.

Store Name: Big Monkey Comics

Focus of the Store: The store will focus most heavily on selling comics books and those games and related products that support the theme of comic books. These products will include (in no particular order):
  • Significant portion of the top 150 comics
  • Indy comics as they pique my interest or are demanded by my clientele
  • Manga (I have to admit I know very little about the genre, but – as I understand it – it can be purchased and sit on a shelf for a while before going stale, so it seems like a safe bet to make at least a small investment in this area)
  • Back Issues (I’ve got about 4,500 of my own that will form the core back issue stock. I doubt I will buy back issues from customers unless they are rare finds and the like.)
  • Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks
  • Magazines
    ∙ Wizard
    ∙ Star Wars Insider
    ∙ Previews
    ∙ Etc.
  • Games
    ∙ Hero Clix
    ∙ Star Wars Minis
    ∙ D&D Miniatures
    ∙ Pirates
    ∙ VS Cards
    ∙ Teen Titans Go! Cards
    ∙ City of Heroes Cards
    ∙ Magic The Gathering Cards
    ∙ Yu-Gi-Oh Cards
    ∙ D&D
    ∙ Hero System Accessories
    ∙ Dice & Dice Bags
  • Statues, maquettes, busts, replica swords and phasers, and other decorations
  • T-shirts
  • Action Figures
  • Posters
  • Comic book storage
    ∙ Bags
    ∙ Boards
    ∙ Boxes
  • Vending machines (If I do a gaming section then I think it would make some sense to put food and drink in the store)
  • A gallery space that would allow for the sale of full-sized and framed comic book art, whether it is page layouts and the like or stand alone, original art. (THIS is something that I envision as helping to broaden the appeal of the store and the products being sold. Have you noticed that when you frame something, you force a viewer to immediately invest a bit more attention in the item? It may invariably still be dismissed by the observer, but for a brief second, you have them and you are forcing them to review the work rather than simply pass it by. I’ll talk more about this in later installments.)
  • Gaming tables (The square footage and layout of the space will dictate exactly how many and in what configuration – permanent or folding tables, a prominent placement or more tucked in the back.)
  • A Donkey Kong video games (You HAD to see that coming.)

And now for something completely different.... I will be visiting the first of the existing Richmond stores tomorrow. My first stop will be Velocity Comics on Grace Street down by VCU. I’ll provide you with my thoughts on Friday, but don’t expect any flames (unless there is something REALLY wrong with the store and the way they treat their customers). I am committed to keeping everything I write for this blog, if not positive, at least civilized.

I can’t wait to check it out!


At 8:38 PM, Blogger Ed Sizemore said...

Jack, if you will be doing a gaming section with vending machines then make sure to check out One-Eyed Jacques. They are a gaming story on Cary Street with a similar set up. They are strictly gaming and a few novelties. They have been around for over 20 years.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Jack--

Thanks for stopping by this morning--I suspected that might be you. Good luck!

Patrick Godfrey
Velocity Comics

At 12:31 PM, Blogger JackM said...


You are one astute guy, you know that?! Then again, I'm not exactly James Bond....

Dude, if you're up for it, I'd love to take you out for a drink to talk about the biz...and hell, Richmond for that matter.

At the very least I need to reward you for peering through my carefully crafted persona.

And for what it's worth, I really loved the fact that you guys were so friendly and I dug the vibe of the store. Any place that would let my kid run amok will ALWAYS be number one in my book!

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Johanna said...

You'll need to learn more about manga in order to intelligently select from the ever-growing list and backlist. (Or hire a manga buyer, or maybe one of your employees has the knowledge to help make sensible selections.) There are just too many titles out there to wander in blind, and more than with comics, you can't plan to stock everything.

Back issues -- what kind of period are you going to carry? Only recent back issues (from the last ten years or so)? Classic Silver Age books? Really expensive older titles? Bronze Age?

You've got a lot of different types of merchandise listed, much of which requires an investment in different types of racking systems. You might not want to start out with all this stuff, but expand slowly into different areas based on demand, deals, and having money available to experiment with. Remember, if something takes up 60% of your space but only brings in 10% of your profit, it's not a good idea.

Beware of sloppy customers; you don't want the vending machines responsible for more product damage than profit. Similarly, in-store gaming can be a turnoff for some customers; you don't want to end up with deadbeats who treat your store like a clubhouse without spending money.

And please make sure that your video game has a switch to make it silent. Those audio loops will drive you crazy and keep some customers from shopping.

Anyway, sorry to ramble on. The advice is worth what you paid for it, but hopefully you find some of it helpful.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger jason @ RIOT said...

yeah...i'm kinda in the same boat as Johanna. you picked A LOT of product lines. not sure they'll all work for you and they may take up space you could have devoted to other things.

i'm also in the process of opening a store (and writing a blog about it) and i've seriously culled my products down to comics, trades and original art. and that's it.

just something to think about.
specialization might be more profitable than a scorched Earth policy when it comes to products.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo, Jack. It's Wes. If you get Donkey Kong, I'll be there within seconds. I've been looking for that game on PS or anywhere. Almost bought an old Coleco on eBay to play it. Ahhh, the days of Yummie's.

Oh, and was SIn City any good?

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