1.03.2006

Retailers Doin’ It Right – Part 3

Today’s retailer spotlight is for Robert at Comickaze. The nicest compliment I can pay him is about the bold way he embraces customer service. When I moved to San Diego, I struggled to find a decent shop to frequent. I’m a firm believer in voting with your wallet so this was not an easy selection process. I was striking out huge and just shocked and appalled by this fact. I mean, this *is* San Diego, home of the 100,000 person attended Comic Con International for God’s sake, and the stores I was walking into were such crap! Had I been spoiled by the San Francisco Bay Area? Home of Comic Relief and Isotope and Comix Experience, AiT/Planet Lar, Slave Labor, Lee’s, Hijinx, and the birthplace of the underground scene?! But I digress…

Depressed and ready to give up, I begrudgingly tried one more. Ready to consider making monthly treks up to Golden Apple in LA if I ever wanted to see David Mack again or having a hometown San Jose shop send me my favorite independent titles, I walked into Comickaze’s new location. Right away, I was impressed by a display up front that contained Adrian Tomine, a rare Danijel Zezelj book, The Goon by Eric Powell, and even a handful of material from local creators. When I noticed the Darrow print of Shaolin Cowboy on the wall, I thought this could be the one.

But I was ready for a fight. Prove it to me, I thought. I laid it all out there, informed Robert that I was looking for a regular store and why should I pick the one he owned? Turns out we knew some of the same people and we shared a lot of thoughts on the industry. He did tell me why he thinks his store is the best in the area, and he did it honestly and objectively. He explained his transition plans and gave me a personal tour of the store and the merchandise. He exhibited a clear passion for retailing and takes steps to ensure solidarity in the industry.

Business leaders in consumer markets often acknowledge the “lifetime value of a customer,” and know that you can make or break that in 5 minutes. The savvy ones understand that you don’t sell a man one car, one time, and swindle him. You treat him right and sell him 4 cars over a 20 year period. Robert, thanks for taking the time to convince a very skeptical stranger that you’d never met to become a customer.

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