Fat Jack’s Comicrypt in Philadelphia is one of the oldest comics shops in the US, and owner Mike Ferraro is a legefigure in the local comics scene. The store has been selling comics for 42 years and is a fixture for many.
But like many comics shops, the latest ups and downs in the industry have left them with some debts that are heard to overcome, and employee Eric Partridge has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help them over the hump. The ask is not small, but the outpouring of love for the shop in the industry is.
The tale told by the GoFundMe page could be a boilerplate for some of the the perils of running a comics shop these days, especially the doom of the unclaimed pull lists.
The last few years have been really tough for us, not only because sales in the industry have been softer as the industry has shrunk a little, but because many costs have gone up. Two major costs that have gone up are health insurance and rent. Collection sales have fallen due to the ability of individuals to sell on Ebay and Amazon selling some collections even at below wholesale. Some customers have lost their jobs and cut their orders or haven’t picked up their hold box comics in a while (we work with our customers, but when customers just can’t afford to buy all of the books they pre-ordered, we are understanding; the problem then lies in that the books may not sell months later). This has all added up over the last few years. We’ve all worked hard, and no one harder than Mike. He’s been in the industry well over 40 years as the oldest comic store in Philadelphia, and one of the first and oldest in the country. But again, times have been tough.
As I mentioned, Mike has been doing his best to make this work and not burden anyone else with this. Mike has made many sacrifices for everyone at the store and for our customers who are family. He’s gone without pay for stretches of time to ensure we’ve all been paid and had our health insurance taken care of and ensuring the fans have gotten their comics on time each and every week. Mike loves the industry and treats all of our customers as family, and their enjoyment is first and foremost. If fans can’t buy their books, or they decide to stop buying comics, we all lose out. We’ve fallen behind on bills to a few vendors, and we’re trying to get out from under. Our long-term relationships with suppliers and our landlord have helped us through some tough times, but they are running businesses too. We appreciate all of the leeway that they have been able to give us, and we’ve come through, but again, need more help to get past this.
Hopefully the outpouring of support from friends and the community – along with updating their business practices a bit – will help this OG comics retailer get back on its feet.