After a local comic book shop turned its final page in a Mechanicsville shopping center, an out-of-town edition stepped in.
Third Eye Comics opened last weekend in the former Blue Marble Comics & Games space at 8005-B Creighton Parkway.
It’s Third Eye’s first location outside of Maryland, where it operates three stores.
Owner Steve Anderson said the company found its way into the deal seemingly by accident.
Upon closing Blue Marble in June after three years in business, manager Kevin Smith reached out to Anderson, asking if Third Eye was hiring. The two had met before in Annapolis, Maryland.
“I said, ‘Well, can I talk to the owners at Blue Marble?’” Anderson said. “We worked out a deal where we bought their fixtures and whatnot, and I brought on Kevin to run the store. Honestly, the main reason we came to Richmond was because of Kevin.”
There were also other factors at play.
“I’m a huge metal head and punk rocker, and when I found out GWAR has a bar there, I was like, ‘Oh my god, we’ve got to go celebrate at the GWARbar,’” Anderson said. “The people in Richmond have been really nice and stoked on comics.”
Third Eye carries comics, graphic novels, toys and board games. Anderson said the Mechanicsville location carries only new comics now, but gradually will add vintage items.
Anderson, 36, opened the first Third Eye in Annapolis in 2008 after working at another shop since he was 19. He said he’s seen the comic book industry evolve over the nearly two decades he’s been in it.
“Honestly, I think the presence of online retailers like Amazon and digital comics, if anything, it’s driving people into stores like us, because it’s boring online,” Anderson said.
“I think people miss going to a place where the folks there know your name and what you like. The sense of community and atmosphere gets sacrificed in the name of point-and-click online.”
The store in Hanover County has a staff of three, including Smith and another former Blue Marble employee. It’s open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Anderson said he wouldn’t rule out the idea of more shops in the region.
“If the store does well and we can find the right people, we’re open to it,” he said. “We’d probably have more than four stores right now if it was easier to find people that have a combination of excellent customer service, reliability and product knowledge.”