We had the good fortune of connecting with Howard Chen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Howard, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
As I had a booth selling at comic book conventions at 16 years old it was a dream for me to have a storefront business selling what I love!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Opening a comics and cards shop is not easy! Many shops have come and gone and I believe we are still in business after 30 years in Glendale, CA is because of our amazing crew and I love our hobby and want to show it off to our wonderful loyal customers who some have been with us from the beginning. There were many ups and downs during the last 3 decades with the hardest being our state-forced closure to my and all non-essential businesses to help curb the spread of Covid-19. We have never closed for more than one day in 30 years so to be closed for 69 days made us do what we always do when there are challenges – pivot. In the 90s when comic shops were going out of business in droves we went into collectible card games like Pokemon and Magic the Gathering to help bring in a new customer base and on day one of our shutdown we ramped up our online selling presence. We are very fortunate to be in an industry that can be taken online and that is where our growth is.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well my friends know I have good taste in food so good eating will be a must and I would show a friend some restaurants such as Holbox for Mexican seafood, Mint Leaf for Indian, Angelini Osteria for Italian, Kazu-Nori for sushi rolls and Bulgarini & Jeni’s for top-notch gelato & ice cream. Gotta have dessert! As an outdoor person I would burn off all of those calories with incredible hikes in Santa Monica.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate everything I have to my parents who shared the risk by loaning me the money to start my business at such a young age.