April 12 marks the opening of a new comic book store in Greensboro. Ssalefish Comics has been providing Winston Salem’s comic book fans, readers and collectors with outstanding service for sometime now, and have decided to open a branch here in the Gate City.
This new store marks a partnership between Ssalefish and Greensboro’s own comic book giant, ACME Comics. Bret Parks, the owner of the Ssalefish Winston outpost, has brought on former ACME employees Stephen Mayer and Jay Ewing as co-owners of the Greensboro location.
Part of the appeal of the new location is that it ventures away from the traditional notions of a comic books store. The store will offer a wide range of collectibles, including posters, figurines, magnets, statues, and other novelties. This of course will still include comic books and graphic novels, chooses to eschew the traditional crate-to-crate method that comes to thought at the mention of shopping for comics.
Stephen Mayer was the co-manager of ACME Comics for over five years. He envisions the store as an inviting outlet to both comic novices and aficionados.“We’re looking to provide the best experience possible for customers of all interest levels,” says Mayer. “Whether it’s accessibility, cleanliness, brightness or loyalty programs, we want it to feel like everyone is welcome and able to take advantage of what we have to offer.”
This comes at a time when comic book stores are showing health and growth when compared to other print outlets. This spawns from that comic book stores are still the best way for fans to get the latest release of a series they have been following, partnered with the fact that most new releases of a comic book will run around $4-5, making them fairly affordable. And for most comic book fans, the immediacy of having the latest issue generally trumps waiting for an ever cheaper price just a few weeks later, or even going through an outlet such as Amazon.
Another aspect of comics is that their digitization actually can be seen as a negative for many fans. Music and other print media benefit in the online market due to options of either the same, or upgraded, product for a comparable cost. Comic books have the advantage in that they are still largely formatted to be a physical print medium, so that between the crossover from hard copy to digital, some of the story or emotion can be lost if it isn’t formatted properly. That, and the fact there is nothing like feeling the tension of what could happen on the next page, especially with the graphic detail that comics provide. It’s still by and large a medium that caters itself into being a physical product.
Parks chose to partner with Stephen after initially trying to purchase ACME Comics. “Stephen was actually the first non-family member to work at my store,” Parks says, “and I offered the deal to him because I trust him and he is also one of the best comic book retailers in the country. Both Jay and Stephen work hard at what they do and deserve more than just a salary.”
Ssalefish’s Greensboro location will hold their soft opening today from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. In accordance with Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 6, the store will also be having its Grand Opening Celebration. Regular store hours are 12 to 5 p.m. on Sundays
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays through Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. The store is located near Carmike 18 Cinemas on 1622 Stanley Road, off Wendover Avenue in Greensboro.