Future Looks Bright for Fantasy Realm Comic Shop
Cornwall Ontario - Randy Sauve operates one of the coolest stores in Cornwall – and you can be a fan even if you don’t have super powers or look particularly good in spandex.
Fantasy Realm has been supplying fans of comic books with their monthly fix ever since it first opened in 1985. And with some of the biggest movies in recent years featuring superheroes such as Batman, Spider-Man and the Avengers, the popularity of the genre doesn’t show any signs of waning.
Randy scoffs at the idea that comics are just for kids.
"I have never thought so – our typical customer is over 30,” he says. “The idea of telling stories with images is timeless, and has been popular for centuries.”
Born, raised and educated in Cornwall, Randy opened his store after experiencing the retail environment while working at nearby Carl's Smoke and Gift Shop.
“I've had a passion for comic books since I was 10 years old and wanted to share my hobby with others,” he recalls. “Carl let me put a couple of boxes of comics on the counter to see if there was any interest, which there was. I learned a lot about customer service watching him and his wife Katherine.”
True to the nature of the close- knit downtown merchant group, Randy also received help from Jack McGaughey, who owned the building where Fantasy Realm was to eventually open its doors.
“When I finally decided to open, Jack allowed me to set up my store even though I had no money for rent. He said, ‘Just get in there and see what you can do’.”
Randy has never looked back.
After establishing Fantasy Realm with a solid and loyal clientele, he opened two more stores in the mid 1990s. A few years later he decided to consolidate back to Cornwall in preparation of going global with eBay in 1999.
He continues to do a lot of business on eBay and has created a robust subscription service for comic books and magazines with customers around the world. He has continued to build Fantasy Realm’s brand on Facebook, where he announces new product releases and special events like Free Comic Book Day (the 1st Saturday in May every year).
As a fan as well as a retailer, Randy is able to stay on top of trends and ensure he stocks what customers are looking for. While comic books have remained consistently strong over the years, other products rise and dip in popularity. Dungeons and Dragons role playing games were big in the mid to late 80's, sports cards exploded on the scene in the early 90's, Magic The Gathering and Pokemon were big trading card games in the mid to late 90's and action figures gained popularity a decade ago.
“Comic books remain very popular, and have been getting stronger every year with the exposure of successful movies and television programs,” says Randy. “Anything related to The Walking Dead is very hot right now, and product related to The Big Bang Theory television show is also popular.”
Randy remains committed to doing business in Downtown Cornwall and is very happy to see the success of fellow merchants and restaurants. He recently joined Team Cornwall to help promote the store and his city, and helps many organizations raise money for charity by donating product for silent auctions.
“Cornwall has been very good to me, and I am happy to return the favour,” he says.
It is a noble sentiment that can be found in the pages of many of the comic books that line the shelves of Fantasy Realm.
You can find Fantasy Realm on eBay at http://stores.ebay.com/FANTASY-REALM-COMICS-CARDS-FIGURES and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/FANTASY-REALM/203683406949
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