By Anthony Desiato (@DesiWestside)
In January, Bleeding Cool ran a story on Packrat Comics, a comic book store in Hilliard, Ohio, owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Jamie and Teresa Colegrove. They had posted a photo on social media highlighting the challenge of delinquent customers: pull list subscribers who sign up for titles and then do not purchase them. The photo in question featured Jamie sitting next to a stack of three months' worth of unclaimed books. It soon went viral within the comics community, evoking strong reactions from both sides of the counter.
To answer a question posed in the original Bleeding Cool article, the figure cited ($1,481.20) in the photo represented the retail value rather than the store's cost.
This week, the Colegroves are guests on one of the podcasts I host, My Comic Shop History, which is traveling to comic book stores around the country this season. At the top of the episode, I asked them about their motivation for the photo and some of the reactions they encountered after it went viral.
"We tried to make it a public service announcement to get to your local comic shop and pick up your books," Teresa said. "I think it hit home with a lot of retailers. We were very surprised because we didn't expect it to go as viral as it did."
As Jamie noted, "We got stores from all around the world that emailed us or texted us and said, 'Hey, thanks for putting that out there.'"
Addressing some of the backlash the post elicited, I asked Teresa and Jamie why they choose not to implement countermeasures, such as requiring deposits, keeping a credit card on file, or charging a fee for the pull service, to potentially alleviate the problem of delinquent customers. Give the episode a listen to hear their response as well as much more about their Eisner award-winning store.
The episode is available on iTunes and Podomatic. The previous episode features Aw Yeah Comics, which counts comic book creators Art Baltazar and Franco among its owners. Forthcoming episodes include Midtown Comics, Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse, Acme Comics, and more. I also host a companion show, Flat Squirrel Tales: Beyond My Comic Shop, which tackles a wider range of topics in and around the comic book world.