The winners of the Diamond Retailer Best Practice Awards: Fall 2018 were selected by retailers and were revealed on the Thursday morning of New York Comic Con at the retailer breakfast presentation.
The awards seek to identify and honour comic book retailers that demonstrate “best practices” in their stores, thereby offering their patrons and community a consistently appealing shopping experience.
Presented three times a year, the award categories change with each season. This time round, the categories were Best Kids Section, Best Themed Display, Best Holiday Sale, and Best Store Promo T-Shirt/Apparel.
Best Kids Section
The KidsKorner at DreamDaze Comics Fun & Games is a double decker comics corner full of fun! Designed originally as a reading loft for a first- grade classroom our focal point for the under 10 crowd is a hand-crafted wooden loft strong enough to support the three grown men who installed it.
The upper deck is a cozy nook filled with pillows and sample reading material. Down below is our bean bag chair and merchandise. Grown-ups and children alike relax in the chair while glancing through our all-ages trades and comics. Just like with the “grown-up” comics, we mark each New This Week issue and keep at least 3 previous issues immediately available behind the latest release of each title.
The selection of graphic novels, chapter books, board books, and other all-ages product is carefully curated by co-owner Joetta Pittman. Joetta has a Master’s Degree in Library Sciences along with a Bachelor Degree in Child Development. And since introducing parents and young readers to the world of graphic literature can be daunting, she is always happy to help them find the perfect items for their children’s interests.
Best Themed Display
One of our favorite aspects of comic book retail is coming up with interesting ways that best showcase a series, creator or even a theme around the store. Probably our most successful display has been our recreation of John Blacksad’s desk. The anthropomorphic hard boiled detective has the classic gumshoe’s desk with all of the vintage tools of the trade.
Being big fans of crime noir, we took a chance on this European series when Dark Horse first released the English translation. We were just blown away by the quality of Juan Diaz Canales writing and the hauntingly beautiful Juanjo Guarnido art! We started to recommend the book to anyone that would listen and loved seeing the reaction it got from customers. It was then that we began to think it would be great to pay tribute to the detective in some way so when we moved to our current, bigger location we started hunting down pieces for this display, starting with junk shops, thrift stores and then eventually online auctions. We wanted each piece to have the right fit, from the bakelite radio and phone, to the Corona portable typewriter. It was important to us that it looked like Blacksad had just gotten up from his desk to go investigate a missing persons case or solve a mysterious blackmail case. There is the well worn oak chair,battered desk as well as vintage recording equipment and a super 8 camera for capturing any miscreants red handed! The metal blade desk fan and articulated lamp reek of long steamy New Orleans nights, with Blacksad trying desperately to find an answer to a puzzle that doesn’t want to be solved.
We were lucky enough to be given a beautiful water color print of Blacksad by a friend which we put up over the desk as a finishing touch. We constantly get compliments for the display and have sold many books because it has piqued customer interest. The funniest moments come from kids who marvel at the “vintage laptop” and try desperately to work out how to use the old phone. We let them bash away on the typewriter and love hearing the parents tell them all about each item. One day we might get the chair repaired …..but what detective has the time to do that!
Best Holiday Sale
We celebrate the holidays hard but jolly. The 12 days before Christmas we do pop-up discounts on different items in the store. It keeps customers guessing and checking each day to see what’s on sale. If they are thinking about you, they are more likely to shop with you (and not online).
We also continue to add decorations and events to keep the attention. We decorate the store with ‘fairy boxes’ of super-hero characters with Christmas tree lights. We also create the Batman symbol out of hundreds of Christmas ornaments (pixel art style). We paint our windows with famous superheroes in holiday attire. And we have our ‘jingle bell’ display to keep customers guessing (see the picture) . We also decorate our tree with PVC superheroes that we have screwed hooks into to make ornaments.
We also dress our staff as elves to keep the holiday cheer. And customers look forward to our treats. We make ‘melted snowman’ cookies, and Strawberry Santa’s, and a Millennium Falcon made out of ginger bread.
To coincide with our Toys For Toys participation, we also show the terrible ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ from 1977. Aired once and instantly disavowed by all. Nothing celebrates the holidays like bad Star Wars. All these decorations, treats, and events help bring in customers for the Holiday sale.
Best Store Promo T-Shirt/Apparel
Our 100 percent cotton promo t-shirts designed by a local independent comic artist not only promotes our store, but also promotes our one-of-a-kind Reading Raiders library . At Treasure Chest Comics our exclusive library section was instituted to help promote literacy throughout the community. The proceeds from the sale of the shirts go back into the library for the purchase of new comics for its readers.