Some Loyola students are having a hard time adjusting to Third Coast Comics’ move.
The local comic book shop moved its location to the Granada Center on the Loyola Lake Shore Campus, relocating from N. Broadway to 6443 N. Sheridan Road a few weeks ago — a move that has some regular customers frustrated.
Store owner Terry Gant, 46, said the move was partly to reduce costs, but it also had to do with making it closer for Third Coast’s large group of Loyola supporters.
Loyola students have become such a huge customer base for Gant that last summer he said he saw his first significant drop in business while students were gone.
“I’m pretty happy with [the move],” said Gant, who’s been in the comic book business since he first opened his store in Edgewater in August 2008.
However, with the move came several changes that upset some Loyola students. Although Third Coast is closer, the shop downsized its inventory, variety of comics on sale and floor space.
The new location has placed a larger focus on selling longer graphic novels than selling single weekly issues, but that decision was made due to business trends at the store, according to Gant. Third Coast has also dropped selling action figures and T-shirts because they didn’t sell well.
“I think people like seeing [action figures and T-shirts] in shops, but they’re almost like window dressing,” Gant said.
While maintaining good relationships with recurring Loyola customers, Gant still prioritizes his need to stay in business and said if people aren’t buying something, it’s not worth carrying.
At Loyola’s comic book club, opinions on the move were heated. To sophomore Collin Scott, 19, the move is frustrating.
“Previously, I would go there almost weekly,” said Scott, a film and digital media major. But, he said, the downsized selection has caused him to visit the store less.
Scott isn’t alone in seeking his weekly issues elsewhere. Several other comic fans said they no longer use the shop frequently, opting to either travel to Comix Revolution in Evanston, Graham Cracker Comics on N. Broadway or order online from Amazon.
Andrew Haberman, 20, a sophomore history major, said it’s sad that the store has decreased its supplies, and because of that, he shops there less than he did before.
“[I don’t go] every week now,” said Haberman. “I have to go to a different … store to pick up the single issues that I want.”
Eleanor Linn, 19, said Third Coast was convenient more for carrying countless comic genres and titles than for its close location.
“It was just nice having that big variety at a really local place,” said the sophomore psychology major. “Now, it’s just kind of a shame.”
Gant disagrees with the complaints and said there hasn’t been any noticeable decline in business so far. He explained that he thinks the move has been good for business overall.
“People criticize it because … folks are used to seeing larger comics shops,” said Gant. “I’m encouraged by the quality of business I’ve gotten since I’ve moved.”
Sophomore Tim Frye, 20, said the move and inventory change was good for creating a better environment for new and casual shoppers. He said being closer to campus also might attract people previously unaware of the store’s existence.
“I am a big fan of … the idea behind the store, which is they want to have a comic book store for anyone,” said the film and digital media major. “That’s kind of what Terry is going for and I appreciate that.”
Gant said that if a customer wants something he isn’t currently selling, he can probably order it for him or her.