Business

Retail Tipsheet: New owner at Bellingham’s The Comics Place

Django Bohren, new owner of The Comics Place in his downtown Bellingham store on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Bohren says today’s comics are “written by everybody and enjoyed by everybody.”
Django Bohren, new owner of The Comics Place in his downtown Bellingham store on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Bohren says today’s comics are “written by everybody and enjoyed by everybody.” pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Django Bohren is back in the retail game.

Bohren, who operated the funky novelty gift shop Merch Bot for seven years before closing it in September 2013, recently took over ownership of The Comics Place at 221 W. Holly St. Bohren has been involved in the business for about a year, helping with the transition after the previous owner, Art Delgadillo, died in August. Bohren said Delgadillo’s wife, Ardell, wanted to make sure the comic shop continued, and he officially took over in December.

For Bohren, who has been a comic book reader for 30 years, it was a chance to get back to running a store with products he enjoys. He feels he is coming in at a very appealing time for the industry.

“I don’t think the quality has ever been better,” Bohren said, adding that the storylines and variety of comics have not only kept the regular readers happy but are bringing in many new customers. One of the fastest growing customer segments is women, because there are many more comic books with female leads. Bohren said their most popular comic book is Batman, which traditionally has a strong male following, but the second most popular is Saga, which is known for its strong female characters.

“It’s great to see the comic book industry opening up in that way,” he said.

Planned events, such as Free Comic Book Day, also are popular and pack the store with customers (the next Free Comic Book Day is Saturday, May 7). Bohren wants to do more such events to help build the comic book community.

Building community also could help provide an alternative to online shopping. Bohren said The Comics Place is fortunate to have a customer base willing to pay a little more to support a destination place where they can run into other fans and talk about comics.

Bohren’s Merch Bot influences also are starting to show at The Comics Place. Merch Bot’s slogan was “We sell stupid stuff” and novelties like the Chicken Machine have been making appearances at the comic store.

Other plans for the store include expanding its board game selection, Bohren said, adding that the intention is to add games not found at other local game stores.

For details about The Comics Place, visit its Facebook page.

EAT RESTAURANT IS UP AND RUNNING

Once home to the Shrimp Shack and the Thai restaurant I & Wife, the space at 1200 Cornwall Ave. reopened Friday, Jan. 29, as Eat Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant offers lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on weekends.

The owners are aiming for an American farm-to-table restaurant with a French twist. That means working with about a dozen local farmers and incorporating the food they grow into French dishes, said Amberleigh Brownson, general manager and co-owner of the restaurant. Examples of dishes include local braised ratatouille, cassoulet duck confit and house-made salmon ravioli with smoked gouda. Prices range from $8-$16 for lunch and $12-$24 for dinner.

Eat will have a grand opening celebration 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11. Details about the restaurant can be found at 4u2Eat.com or its Facebook page.

BELLIS FAIR MAKEOVER CONTINUES

The beginning of the year is typically when retail stores exit the mall, and 2016 is no exception at Bellis Fair.

Several retailers have left in 2016, including Radio Shack, Red Fox, Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Silver Safari and Things Remembered.

Bellis Fair General Manager Rene Morris said the businesses left because of expired leases. The mall is bringing in several as yet unannounced tenants and also will be moving some current tenants into other spaces. One store getting a remodel is Buckle, with work expected to take place in March.

OTHER TIDBITS

Bikesport announced on its Facebook page that it will be closing on March 15 and is currently having a sale. The bike shop opened at 2416 Meridian St. about two years ago. ... A state liquor license application was submitted for a new restaurant at the former Big Fat Fish Co. space at 1304 12th St. in Fairhaven. The new applicant is Alessandro Bettin, and the proposed business name is Whiskeys Burger Bistro. ... A liquor license was submitted to put in a Portugese-style restaurant at 111 W. Holly St. called Tasca Del Tinto Iberian Bistro. The applicants are Miguel and Claudia Losada. ... Bellingham’s Hammerhead Coffee has achieved organic certification for its coffee products. ... Pizza’zza is having a custom food trailer built by Ferndale’s TriVan Truck Body that is expected to be ready this spring. The 21-foot trailer will be used for catering and some street vending, said co-owner Will Annett in a news release. The company also is raising $10,000 on Indiegogo to finish the purchase of a Wood Stone oven, which would be mounted in the trailer. Pizza’zza is inside Yorky’s Market in Fairhaven and has a second location on Alabama Street. ... The Local bar and restaurant has completed its expansion next door at 1427 Railroad Ave. Called the Annex, the space has more seating, billiards and shuffleboard. Details can be found on its Facebook page.

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