PoePoz Comics in Tupelo, Missouri is a smaller store, the only one around for miles, and as such it’s an important part of the local geek community. I spoke to owners Chris and Anne Inman about how they prepare for FCBD and what the event does for their business.
How long have you been doing FCBD?
This is the third year as a retailer, but many years participating. Before owning Poe Poz, Chris worked at [a different comic shop] and helped them for six years. Over the years we have had about the same size crowd. Though the age and gender ratio has changed throughout.
Do you build a larger event around it? Maybe with a particular theme?
Yes. Games and raffles and supporting whatever big events are happening at that time as well. [As for themes it] depends on what is happening in the comic book worlds. This year we are going with a welcome back Peter Parker/ New 52 Futures End/ dooms day theme. [We spend] at least three weeks prepping and one day to decorate.
Does FCBD result in a same day sales bump or new repeating customers?
Yes to both. More to the first than the latter.
Do you try to make your shop particularly welcoming on FCBD?
We make sure it is open and welcoming, with knowledgeable staff along with a few extra hands to help out. We have a family-friendly environment all year round, but on that day we will show movies and play games along with having special guests and treats such as an ice cream truck present all day long.
Do you target particular groups, for example, kids?
Yes and no. Yes, we have things just for the kids, but we also like to keep the day and store open to keeping the grown men and ladies of PoePoz feeling as though they are still able to walk away from the kids area into the adult area with ease. We will even have one person here to help the kids pick out the perfect type of books for them while the parents look for themselves.
What do you hope for from future FCBDs and what could they do to make it more special/effective?
That the books given out could turn into MORE return guests than they do now. It would be nice if it was advertised more on TV instead of just the net — just to get the word out more.
Advertising on TV is an interesting idea. I’m in Toronto, and we see a lot of street and occasionally transit ads for it.
I’m in Tupelo, Ms., so with such a small area and no other store for a hundred miles it would really help reach people that are not aware of the event. For example, when the New 52 was about to start, DC went to TV and we had lots of new faces around here just because they wanted to be a part of the next big event. When the event is nationwide and covered on TV, not just the net, you have people thinking they are starting on the next big trend first. Everyone wants to be in the know, and I believe that TV could provide that urge to go to their nearest shop so they can be the first of their friends to know what the commercials are talking about.