Store Profile: The Comic Book Shop! (Wilmington, DE)

Submitted by Sarah Titus, Owner.

• Basic specs of your store – when you opened, where you are located, size of store(s)
What is your product mix?
The Comic Book Shop! of Wilmington, DE opened in 1989; I have owned/managed the shop with my husband (Titus) since 2010. Two years later we moved to a larger location; two years later we rented the neighboring unit so we could expand again.
There’s about 1600 sq ft of retail space, plus the adjoining room for book clubs, creator signings, buying collections, and whatever else comes up.
Besides new comics & graphic novels, we also have a huge back issue selection, discounted tpbs, and a growing Younger Readers section. We’re one of the only places around that buys old toys and collectibles, so about half of our shop is vintage toys and weird retro stuff.

• What was the first comic you read?
The first I remember reading is ElfQuest. My mom & I reread it every summer, so that’s how I eventually learned to read.

Favourite comic of all time?

• How did you end up in the comic industry/Why did you decide to open your store?
My family has always been on the alternative side of life. I spent summers hanging out at the comic shop where my brother-in-law worked, then I married a guy who’d been selling his own comics & toys at flea markets since he was old enough to go with his nan.
Titus had worked for The Comic Book Shop! for about nine years when the owner decided he wanted out. With Titus’ comics experience and my career managing local small businesses, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy the shop.

• What’s the overall impression you want people to walk away from your store with? How do you achieve that?
We want people to know that comics & comic shops aren’t all alike, and that TCBS is a welcoming place for everyone, unless you’re an unapproachable jerk.
Posted in our front window, on a Pride Flag (with bars for POC), is our “All Welcome, Just Be Nice” policy. Many people have said seeing that made them feel comfortable enough to step inside.
Throughout the shop we feature inclusive displays, often with photo cards of the creators so people can see who’s behind the books. It’s incredible to hear gasps of excitement when people see our LGBTQ+ Comics & Creators section 

• What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?
Keep a broad enough scope that you can lean on one area if others slack, but be focused enough that you do everything pretty well.
Also, that you’ve got to find your own way that works and stick to it! There will always be reasons to do things “the other way” and there isn’t necessarily a “correct” way for all shops to follow.

• If you had one thing you could fix in the industry, what would it be?
Direct Market returnability.

• What do you do when you’re not running your store?
Gardening, Being outside, Eating delicious foods, Snuggles with Cats.

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