Los Angeles’ Oldest Comic Shops Shut Down, Put Blame On Covid, Marvel, And DC
Los Angeles’ oldest comic shops Geoffrey’s Comics and Hi-De-Ho Comics, which both opened in 1977, are shutting down.
In a post to Facebook, Geoffrey’s Comics announced, “Geoffrey’s Comics and Hi De Ho Comics opened in 1977. We were literally the first comic book stores in Los Angeles. But now, sadly, Geoffrey’s and Hi-De-Ho Comics must close their doors December 31, 2023.”
While the shops are shutting their doors, the business is going to attempt to keep pull lists going for customers. The post explains, “Our pull service will continue on! Geoffrey’s and Hi-De-Ho Comics would love to keep our most loyal customers and continue to offer our pull service as a delivery option! ‘Geoffrey’s Comics Pull Parties’ will be found at locations around the city.”
The business adds, “We are also reaching out to coffee houses to offer different times and days for you to stop by, pick up your comics and hang out with your other fellow super-fans. Even though Geoffrey’s and Hi-De-Ho must close their doors, they will live on in this new exciting form where we can all still gather and share our enjoyment together.”
As for why the comic shop is shutting down an image attached to the Facebook explains, “It wasn’t one single thing that caused this closure; though COVID was a major contributing factor.”
Geoffrey’s Comics explained, “The shutdowns depleted our savings and grants which strained us to the breaking point. A year prior to the pandemic we signed a long term lease to be closer to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, but Covid left us unable to make the rent. Still, we soldiered on. We moved to a smaller location while eventually finding a sublessee for the location we were legally responsible for.
“Unfortunately, between payments owed from the pandemic to the loss of our sublessee, we are not in the position to pay our landlord what is now being demanded in full,” the shop explained.
As for Marvel and DC’s role, the shop stated, “For the first 40 years Diamond Comics was our single service supplier, as they lost the rights to distribute Marvel and DC comics, what had once become a streamlined process or doing one order and picking up from one location became multiple orders, with multiple ways of delivery, with multiple days of releases.”
The shop asserted, “The powerhouse that used to be ‘New Comics Wednesday’ has ceased to be, and with it, a lot of the spending habits of the customer base.”
The company also noted that costs for their tabletop business had also increased, “A large part of our business, tabletop card gaming has continue to grow more expensive to the retailer as companies seek to find new avenues to sell directly to the consumer or through online marketplaces and big box retailers.”
“One of the most popular card games in the world now sells for less through Amazon than what we have to pay for getting it through our distributor, in addition to specialty product that was never made available to us through wholesale,” the shop noted. “Simply put, it is an unstable situation for us and we worry about the retailers that remain.”
The owner of the stores also indicated he’s been suffering from some health issues as well, Geoffrey Patterson II said, “I was diagnosed with nerve disorder that causes constant pain and migraines. I regularly lose vision in one eye, randomly vomit uncontrollably, suffer pinched nerves and cramps in my back, and even lose the ability to verbally articulate. I simply can’t physically do all the work necessary to run a business in the 21st century.”
Patterson II added, “While all the aforementioned things contributed, I ultimately can only blame myself. I made mistakes. I ordered too much and kept hoping those pre-covid numbers would return. Some days now don’t even have a third of the revenue they did pre-Covid. It is very hard to stay in business losing over 50% of our revenue.”
He went on, “Ignoring the writing on the wall that the world had changed permanently – during Covid the customers in nearly every business were trained to get everything they need online – we all spent a year inside and learned that everything we wanted was available for delivery, and when the world did reopen, we all just kept ordering everything online.”
“I kept hoping over and over again that those customers would make their way back, but I lost too many customers – where once there was one option for comics, now there are hundreds of places: Target, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, movie theaters, digital downloads, libraries, and countless others.”
“Geoffrey’s and Hi-De-Ho went from zero competition to a hundred competitors in the blink of an eye,” Patterson asserted.
“I didn’t want to admit that my health had left me in a place where running two businesses wasn’t possible,” he continued. “Having (literally) blinding pain at random times throughout the week makes changes difficult to implement, everything slowed down when I needed to be working faster than ever. In fact, our biggest mistake was that we should have closed during covid. I just didn’t want to admit that Geoffrey’s and Hi-De-Ho could not survive in the same version it was pre-covid.”
“Geoffrey’s and Hi-De-Ho have always been more than stores to me,” he said. “More than a business, they were a home to me and my employees. And I loved welcoming you all into our home every Wednesday. That same passion that lead us to keeping a comic store open for 40 years was also the same passion that made me ignore the signs that the world had changed permanently.”
Geoffrey’s Comics and Hi-De-Ho Comics will remain open until the end of the year when they will officially shutter. As noted above the business will attempt to transition into a delivery business with offerings to places of business as well as residential. Delivery is free if one has more than 10 books to be delivered. “We will hold your pull until you have 10 books. This can be from one week or multiple weeks,” the shop explains.
If you want the books delivered before you have 10 waiting, the delivery fee will be $5. Comics will be delivered on Wednesdays between 8 am and 5 pm.
What do you make of Geoffrey’s Comics and Hi-De-Ho Comics shutting down?