A couple weeks ago, we told you about Mission Comics in San Francisco having a community meeting after they’d experienced some sales drops and were concerned about staying in business.
They had the meeting and the upshot is that the store will attempt to stay open and Patreon is being used to supplement the business.
We’ve just re-launched the Patreon with new rewards and the new goal of getting 200 supports by the end of the month. At that level I can keep the store open with some confidence and a cushion for when sales slip.
It’s no secret that 2017 was a bad year for many people, in many ways. It was particularly bad for comic book stores. If Mission: Comics was just a normal business, I’d have put up a “Closing Soon” sign weeks ago.
But it’s not a normal business. It’s a comic book store that countless people have consistently expressed to me how grateful they are to have in our neighborhood. I’m not ready to give up yet, but I need help to keep it going.
We need the support of people who value the community they’ve found here and want to see it continue; we’re looking to build upon that community and make it even more inviting and welcoming. We don’t want this to be a stopgap measure to keep things the way they are – we want it to be a bridge to a better shop that can serve the Mission in a even better ways.
I know and understand from all the appreciation I hear that the store offers more than the just the books we sell, and we’d like this Patreon to be a way for people to support the store in a way that matches that value that it adds to their lives.
I believe there’s a better outlook for 2018, but I can’t keep the store operating in the way it should with just hope. We need to experiment with expanding our business model and reaching new customers. This Patreon account is a big part of that effort, and I hope you’ll become a supporter.
The actual Patreon page lists a goal of $3,000/mo for the store to stay open. As this is being typed, the total stands at $1,850.
The rewards for the Patreon include a trade collection of the month, donating a graphic novel to a local school and members only events at the store, so this campaign has the feel of a club with club benefits.
As we said previously, this sort of arrangement is not without precedent in San Francisco and customers coming together to buy store memberships in a similar fashion kept the science fiction bookstore Borderland Books from shutting their doors a couple years ago. Will this technique work for Mission Comics? Time will answer that question. I can tell you that I’ve shopped there and it’s a fine store that doesn’t deserve to get caught in the current retail crunch.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.