Building a Comic Store From Scratch – ‘The Adventure Begins’ Opens Just North of Houston, Texas

This is where the adventure began. In August last year, something called The Adventure Begins Comics and Games said it was coming soon with this announcement on Facebook, from owner/manager Bill,

It’s been a life long dream of mine to open my very own comic and game shop. While selling our technology company last year left me with a few melancholy memories, I am very grateful it’s afforded me the opportunity to pursue this passion. So, what’s the shop going to be about? Well, with 3500 square feet, we’ll have plenty of room for a full spectrum of comics, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels. We’ll also have a gaming area with around 10 tables for table top gaming, with a full wall for gaming product – board games, roleplaying games, miniatures & supplies, the works. We’ll also carry collectible card games, such as Magic The Gathering and Pokémon. There’s a planned Anime/Manga section, along with room for collectibles (toys & figurines). Throw in a few sports and collectible cards, and that should mostly cover what will be for sale. In addition, we have a pair of private rooms where we’ll host kid’s themed birthday parties, Summer Camps, and Parent’s Night Out (the new Xscape Theaters are just across the street). We’re going into a new retail/dining center along FM 1488, at Old Conroe Road. I couldn’t be more excited about the location! That’s it in a nutshell. I’ll expand upon the business in the coming weeks. We’re slated to be open some time in November. Hope to see you there!

It wasn’t going to be November. But we got updates as the building in Conroe, Texas, was being constructed.

And where the comic shop would go, as Bill worked on both the nitty and the gritty.

Sorry I’ve been quiet for about a week, been working on my initial Diamond order for the shop. Diamond Distributors will be my primary vendor, as they’ll provide all my comics, hobby supplies, and most of the collectibles. I’ve been heads down since Thursday working on the order.

Unsurprisingly, sifting through multiple spreadsheets to review 10,000+ rows of potential product to carry is not as much fun as it sounds. Because it doesn’t sound like fun at all, in the first place. 

 

And of course, there were glitches.

I met with Will the project manager again today, and unfortunately we’ve hit the first issue with construction. See below pic with a wall in it. Walls are going up, that’s good, right?

Well, unfortunately the contractor working on the space next door put that wall roughly 6 inches into my space! 😯

The good news is the space next to me hasn’t been leased yet, so I’ll still get the space I was planning on. Just the columns will be a bit more awkward as they’ll come out of the wall 6 inches more than expected.

The building work continued into September.

 

My building plans have been approved by the county so now interior build out can begin in earnest. Yay!

Unfortunately we’re a bit held up by all the rain in the area. No power has been run to the building yet. Something about electricians not wanting to work with power lines during a downpour? The nerve!

Before we knew it, October brought doors and walls…

….but by the end of the month, it wasn’t looking good for November…

On the downside, still no power to the building. 
That’s going to become a big issue pretty soon if the weather doesn’t clear up.

On the upside, work continues, albeit slowly. Drywall going in. Hopefully flooring soon?

And the news came down,

We’ve been pushed back on getting the Fire Marshal approval as well, so now December is a “maybe” and we could be looking at a January opening. It’s likely we’ll be ready to go by early December but stuck waiting for the Fire Marshal to do their thing.

You can write this yourself now, yes? But November did bring the store’s sign…

A new look inside, with spacing marked out for gaming tables. You know they could have left the ceiling like this and run it as a Brazil-themed store.

While there may be no store to sell out of, the Diamond orders were coming in.

Exciting news this week- WE HAVE POWER!
Now we can hopefully get fire marshal approval and be open in a month or so.
Painting and the ceiling grid is going on this week. I’ll get more pics up later this week. Here’s a riveting view of primer on my wall. I’ve never been so excited to, yes, watch paint dry. Also, special bonus pic of weird pipe sticking out of the floor I never noticed before. Contractor says it’ll be cut off and capped- but not before having me going for a few minutes about how we’d discussed it and I was supposedly going to put a top on it and make a gaming table out of it. Everyone’s a comedian.

The floors, ceilings, and cabinets came…

 

As promised, here’s a bonus construction update. The ceiling grid is in and the sprinkler system is being installed as I type this. As a bonus, some of the cabinetry was installed today as well. I also learned that the building got it’s Fire Marshal certificate yesterday. I’ll still need the Fire Marshal inspection for my interior space, but things are moving along.

December arrived…

 

The first coat of paint is on the walls, electrical is being setup within my 4 walls, and I’ve been told they start on the floors in the morning. It will be awesome to have the floors in, as then I can have the rest of my furniture delivered. Oh, and I do believe I’ve never shared a picture of “The Bog”. The below exterior pic is looking down the courtyard at the back of my space. This is about as dry as I’ve ever seen The Bog. It’ll be nice if we could dry out a bit so The Bog can be transformed into a Nice Courtyard.

Might be handy for some Swamp Thing promotions though. Suddenly, it was all starting to come together and resemble what might be a comic store.

I drove up to the shop today and was shocked to see the lights were on. Huzzah!
Also, the floors are underway. They should be done this weekend. My monument sign is up as well, and my POS display cases were delivered. Things are starting to come together.
Oh, and there was even a crew gamely working in The Bog while a light drizzle fell. Poor guys.

There was merchandise turning up–but still no store.

By mid-December though, you could see where this was going.

A lot got done at the shop this week. Flooring is done except for the base boards. The bathrooms are now operational. The slatwall has been mounted and my chairs were delivered. The shelving units are also onsite, though they need to be mounted to the walls and stained.

We had some new dates and new employees.

I wanted to thank everyone who applied to our want ad. The response was very gratifying and I feel great about the candidate pool.

Now then, let’s talk about our opening. Barring some further unforeseen delay, we’re planning on opening Monday 21 January!

To celebrate the grand opening week, we’ll be conducting a lottery to win a variety of prizes. Full details on the prizes to be provided later, as I have to rummage through my boxes in storage and decide what to put out- but they’ll include an Xbox as well as the rare newsstand version of red foil Venom #1, signed by Sam De La Rosa. The prizes will be placed on a table and the first winner gets first pick off the table, followed by the second winner, etc. The drawing will be held on Saturday 26 January at 6 PM. Come in once per day between Monday through Saturday to sign up for a chance to win!

Bill also had an idea for a loyalty scheme for the store.

With the disclaimer that nothing about the program is yet finalized- one idea I have is to let you purchase variant comic covers with points. So when we receive a Marvel 1-in-10 or 1-in-25 book, they aren’t put out for general sale but rather can be bought via points on a first-come-first-served basis. This gives loyal guests a nice benefit while solving a problem that I’ve been wrestling with, namely, what to charge for such books.

Other ideas include using your points to secure a spot in our Parent’s Night Out or summer camp programs for your child, as well as reserving a private room for your gaming group.

I have to say, that’s a fine idea. January saw the family help out.

This is my sister. Come out to Texas for your niece’s birthday, I told her. Free Disney cruise, I told her. It would be great to see you, I told her.

What I didn’t tell her was she’d be helping me haul boxes over to the shop as soon as we got off the boat!  :)

Final coat of paint went up on the walls today! We’re assembling furniture this weekend. Getting very close.

A couple of weeks ago everything was looking good.

It’s crunch time at the shop as we push towards the open. A big Thank You! to all my friends who came out this past weekend to assemble and move furniture around. I am ashamed to admit I didn’t get pictures of everyone who helped. I remain pretty bad at this newfangled social media thing

Hopefully Bleeding Cool can help with that. Display cases arrive and almost fitted.

What to do when your custom made display case won’t fit in the front door? Remove a glass pane and lift it in! A big thanks to Jamar and BJ with Contour Functional Art for my beautiful collectibles display case.

The gaming inventory went in.

But the comic book shelves? Oh dear…

The good news is we got the final Fire Marshal approval on the space so we are clear to open to the public. Hooray!

The bad news is our comic shelves will not arrive in time to open on the 21st, as originally planned. Having a means to display our comics is the definition of mission critical, so we will have to push the opening back a week, to Monday the 28th of January.

I’m sorry to disappoint everyone! But this gives us another week to work on polishing the store for an amazing opening. We will still proceed with the prize drawings as previously described, and there will be more details coming out soon.

One week today till the Grand Opening. And as of yesterday, another helping hand.

The Adventure Begins Comics and Games opens on January 28th, at the new build Marcel Town Center at Woodland Lakes, on the 1488 between Stonebridge Church Drive and Del Webb Boulevard, north of Houston. Do let us know if you are going along…

 

 

 

 

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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