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Chicago paper on local retail situation

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I spoke recently to the reporter for the Northwest Herald, a suburban Chicago paper, for her piece on the local comics scene, recently posted. The reporter interviewed Al Armstrong of Al n’ Ann’s Collectibles in McHenry on surviving in the recession. “We’re established, and we’ve got a really solid customer base," Armstrong said. "I don’t see us going anywhere.”

The reporter also interviewed the former owner of two Overload Comics and Collectibles locations in Fox River Grove and Cary, who had turned to internet sales after closing down. “It was a passion, and I just went for it,” Michael Knick said. “Unfortunately, the market has changed, and it’s gone in a bad direction.”

Reporter Sarah Sutschek appears to have looked closely at other closures to find their real reasons; she told me she'd decided not to mention the closing of one store, whose owner had died. Not all "recession watch" stories go that far; but in comics, where so many businesses are owner-operator, it's best never to assume a closure was market related. (I couldn't stop the "Biff! Pow! Bam!" headline, though, for which the moratorium should have begun 20 years ago by my watch...)

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