This is really sad. In a letter to customers, Ben and A.J. Trujillo, the owners of Star Clipepr COMis in Stalous, have announced the store is closing, with a liquidation sale beginning on Saturday. Opened in 1988, and going through three ownership changes, Star Clipper was always in front of retailing trends, and the Trujillos had definitely built up a great relationship with their community—as evidenced by the outpouring of support on their FB page—carrying a wide selection of comics for adults and kids, with a strong emphasis on female customers. Recent signings include Neal Adams, Cullen Bunn, Chris Samnee, Michael DeForge, Kate Leth, Tim Lane, Jeff Weigel, so you can see how eclectic their domain was.
As for the reasons for the closing, they are laid out in a excellent, detailed piece in St. Louis Magazine
“The decision’s been a long time coming,” Ben Trujillo confirmed yesterday. “It’s been bandied about for almost two years. The economy tanked in 2008, and we weathered that fairly well. There’ve been changes in the demographics of the area and in comic readers in general, which has made things unpredictable, as we buy products on an unreturnable basis. And with the social things happening in St. Louis, those’ve impacted business, as well. It’s sad to be the people who are shutting it down, but we feel a great sense of ownership and don’t necessarily see someone else’s custodianship here.”
To date, the news about Star Clipper’s end was kept tight, with only workers and, according to Trujillo, “a few select customers” knowing. (The Trujillos are the business’ third owners in 27 years.)
“Everyone’s been really disappointed and sad,” he said. “Everyone’s really disappointed. Surprisingly, a lot have said that they’ll stop reading comics. Or they’ve said that they’ll move to reading digitally. For a lot of people, it’s a shock. They see the store and have no idea what’s happening behind-the-scenes.
This is certainly a blowtogood comics and good comics customers in the St. Louis area. I had the great pleasure of working with Carol Denbow back in the Friends of Lulu Days, one of Star Clippers former owners, and a very ahead of her time retailer. I always thought of the shop as being out ahead of the curve. This store will be missed.
[Photo via the Star Clipper FB page]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.