Hurricanes make headlines, and then they leave the headlines. But the effects last far longer. Such as when Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, Florida, in October last year. Three months on, here’s the tale of three different comic shops in the city, with three very different impacts.
New Force Comics of Panama City is moving. After Hurricane Michael hit, their backroom collapsed–leading to 3,000 square feet of carpet being ripped out and the loss of original artwork, the store computer, and numerous collectibles.
Store owner Rick Whitelock told the local News Herald that “I would estimate half our customer base has fled the area. … A lot of people just aren’t here or have left or financially are restricted to the point where they can’t buy stuff because they can’t even put a roof on their house…. You’re not human if you’re not a little bit upset and depressed by the fact that the storm has altered our existence as we were comfortable with,” said Whitelock. “Our routine was clearly destroyed. It’s now led to the closing of something that I loved to do for all these years and our community and customers love. Part of it is sadness. I’m sad. It’s frustrating.”
New Force Comics is still operating from its old location, with future services to be operated out of their warehouse.
Meanwhile, Comic Emporium, which also had damage, remains open and in the same place–even though the roof now leaks. They are rebuilding and have seen customers return, which the owner puts down to community support after they crowdfunded their recovery.
While a third store, Arena Comics & Gaming, only suffered minor damage without an impact on sales.
How is everyone else doing?