Michael Tierney of Collector's Edition and The Comic Book Store, both located in Little Rock, Arkansas, provides an update on the retail impact from the coronavirus pandemic (see "Comic and Game Retailers – What's Happening in Your Store?").

While the ever increasing restrictions because of COVID-19 has cost many of my customers their jobs, the majority of my regulars have continued to stay regular.  As long as we can keep the doors open, we will continue to do so.  Should we go to lockdown, then we will still continue to service our customers by mail.  We had started to ramp up our sales by mail just the very week before this hit.  Now… all of this is dependent on the publishers continuing to publish.

I realize that there are currently around 20% or more of retailers who are already in lockdown, and some of them want the whole industry shut down as well.  But, barring a nationwide shutdown, this is a bad idea.  Cut off the flow to the customers and many may never return to the hobby once this is over.  Help those stores who are closing down and not doing mail orders by suspending their orders or offering returns and extended terms--whatever would work best for each individual store.  They need help.  But I hope the other 80% of us who are still meeting payrolls and satisfying out customer base are not forced into the same drastic measures of sending our employees into the ranks of the unemployed--because without new comics, then filling the ongoing consumer demand by mail will no longer make sense.

Even should a nationwide lockdown go into effect, I'd hope the publishers will still find a way to keep comics coming to retailers on terms that we all can survive with, because an entire nation will be sitting at home--bored out of their gourd and looking for entertainment.  The government is sending them stimulus checks to encourage spending.  This problem could be turned into a huge opportunity--if we handle it right. 

I'm not interested in a vacation.  I want to keep my employees working and my businesses of 38 years around for another 38, and to come through this latest crisis stronger than ever before.

As they say on Frank Herbert's Dune, "The Spice must flow."

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.

[We're asking comic and game retailers to share your stories, good or bad, about what's happening in your store (see "Comic and Game Retailers – What's Happening in Your Store?").  Send your story to tips@icv2.com.]