Longmont soon will have a new comic book and games store, thanks to Steve Falcon from suburban St. Louis. He’s expanding his comics and games business in a town that “grabbed us,” he said.

As a frequent vacationer in the Rocky Mountain region, Falcon was familiar with the area, but he chose Longmont, because it has a growing population, and there’s no other comic book store within 15 to 20 minutes of his NewCastle Comics & Games at 508 Fifth Ave. The store is slated to open Oct. 31.

His market research showed Longmont’s income levels and demographics are a perfect fit for his business.

There are seven comic book stores within 15 miles of his store (of the same name) in suburban St. Louis, said Falcon, who has run the business 12 years.

He said his sons, who help him take care of the family business, were a catalyst in the decision to expand to Longmont.

“My older son, Gavin, did extensive research on Longmont. He was impressed with the great fiber connectivity provided by NextLight,” Falcon said.

His younger son, Derek, will assist him at the Longmont store.

Wayne Winsett, owner of Boulder’s Time Warp Comics and Games, which is marking its 35th anniversary this year, welcomes the competition.

“I wish them good luck,” he said, adding a Longmont store will be helpful to many of his customers who don’t want to drive to Boulder.

Winsett ran comic book store in Longmont in the late 1990s when he lived there. He started with a small satellite store at Third Avenue and Main Street, and later moved it to 321 Main St.

“I closed it about 13 years ago,” he said, adding people zipped by Main Street then, he said. Longmont today is a big enough community to support a comic book store.

The comic book industry is better and stronger than ever before, he said. A lot of great stories and great art tied with great movies and TV shows is helping the industry, Winsett said. It appeals to all demographics, from ages 7 to 70, he said.

Sales of comic books at comic stores across North America are about $500 million annually, said John Jackson Miller, a curator and founder of Comichron, the largest public database of comic sales, and an author of comic books. In 2018 the combined sales of comics, including digital downloads and print sales at Amazon and chain book stores across north America, was a little less than $1.1 billion.

There are an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 stores devoted to comics, graphic novels and games in north America, Miller said. “Individual stores are stronger today,” he said.

In the early 1990s such stores peaked at 7,000, largely due to availability of easy credit and easy terms by distributors. The market has stabilized since then, he said.

A comic book store’s success often has to do with its location and area demographics, which tend to dictate the mix of comics and graphic novels a store would have for customers, Miller said. For example, urban stores generally have a smaller footprint and gravitate more toward graphic novels than super hero comics, he said.

Readers of comics are one customer category and gamers are another, said Winsett of Time Warp. At times, the two categories overlap as well.

“It’s a popular hobby,” he said.

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