Santa Fe’s Big Adventure Comics Dec 3, 2015 13:18:54 GMT -6
Post by The Ultimate Nullifier on Dec 3, 2015 13:18:54 GMT -6
Retailing | New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall chooses a small business to highlight every Small Business Saturday, and this year’s pick was Santa Fe’s Big Adventure Comics. “This is a guy with real courage. He bought a business during the recession,” Udall said of owner Kevin Drennan. It seems to have worked out, though, as Drennan says he has a strong base of regular customers. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
Udall goes to bat for small businesses, puts spotlight on comic store owner with ‘real courage’
Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2015 8:00 pm | Updated: 12:22 am, Sun Nov 29, 2015.
By Chris Quintana
The New Mexican | 1 comment
Tom Udall probably isn’t the biggest fan of comic books. That much was apparent when a reporter asked him about his favorite comic book series at a local store, Big Adventure Comics, and the senator replied, “Charlie Brown.”
But Udall does support Kevin Drennan, the owner of Big Adventure, and his entrepreneurial spirit. Udall was visiting the shop on Cerrillos Road near downtown Santa Fe to promote shopping at small, local businesses.
“This is a guy with real courage. He bought a business during the recession,” Udall said.
Every year, Udall chooses a small business to highlight on Small Business Saturday — a response to the popular day-after-Thanksgiving shopping mania known as Black Friday — and this year he chose Big Adventure Comics at the urging of one of his staff members. Mayor Javier Gonzales also joined Udall in promoting Santa Fe’s only locally owned comic book store, where local comic book artists set up tables and peddled their creations.
Throughout the day, a steady stream of customers flowed through the store. Udall spoke to most of the employees of the small business and the local artists — all while holding a cup of coffee from international mega-chain Starbucks.
The front portion of the comic store houses thousands of books. Batman, Superman and others in the “men who wear tights” genre — as shop employee Bram Meehan described it — populate the majority of the store’s inventory. But Drennan also stocks plenty of indie comics and local artists.
In contrast to local businesses downtown, such as restaurants or bars, nearly 100 percent of Drennan’s sales comes from repeat, local customers. Without his Santa Fe supporters, Drennan and his employees would be out of jobs, he said. Drennan used to work in the world of information technology, but he bought the shop about five years ago.
The following years weren’t been easy, but Drennan said he has managed to grow the business. When a solar company vacated the adjacent property, Drennan said, he snatched it up. That space now serves multiple purposes, but he most often uses it as a gaming space for fans of Magic the Gathering, a collectible card game that Drennan also sells at the shop. He now has four full-time employees, and Drennan is considering further expansion.
He said he faced challenges raising capital to buy the business in the first place, so he had to borrow money from friends and family. His limited budget also means he has to rely word-of-mouth to bring in new customers.
What seems to be a hallmark of small businesses, Drennan has to compete with both larger chain stores and online options. A few miles away, Hastings sells many of the same comic books Drennan offers. And Amazon and other online retailers sell comic books. A few companies have started to offer subscription services that allow readers to view comic books online.
But Kevin said he has bigger worries than his competition.
“I’m more stressed about coming up with $2,500 for a new computer,” he said.
And maybe Drennan is right not to worry about his competition — as those interviewed in the shop said they were loyal to Big Adventure.
Gabriela Ortiz, an 18-year-old visiting home from Brown University, said she prefers to shop local because it helps the economy and offers more diversity for customers.
Karen Meador is a regular at the shop. She even has a standing order to reserve a few comics every month. Meador, a state worker in her 60s, said the Big Adventure staff members are able to give good recommendations. Plus, she said, local shops have more character.
“You can go everywhere and see the same big-box stores,” she said. Big Adventure Comics “has a more interesting variety.”
Contact Chris Quintana at 986-3093 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cquintanasf.