A profile on local shop Comics & More and owner Rob Charpentier
by Michelle Medford
Rob Charpentier is exactly the guy you want running your local comic book store. Charpentier, the owner of Comics & More, has been a comic book lover since he was a kid. He’s the guy you can ask about latest releases, chat with about your favourite series or even just rant with about your day while you shop.
Charpentier originally opened the store under a different name on Linsmore Crescent in June of 1987. It was his natural response to “a lifelong passion for the art form.” Five locations, two name changes and 24 years later, he finally has the location he originally wanted — on the Danforth. Conveniently located just outside Greenwood subway station, the store’s bright red sign is easy to spot. Inside, the compact store is wall-to-wall filled with comics, toys, collectibles, cards and more.
One of the reasons the shop has been around for so long is Charpentier’s relationship with his customers. His approachability, knowledge and care have allowed him to keep regulars from the start. “I’ve got one guy who started buying from me the first week I opened, who’s married and moved to Calgary,” he says. Although this regular customer now phones in most of his orders, Charpentier still sees him occasionally and has come to expect a visit every holiday season.
However, not all original customers have stuck around as the store’s regulars have begun to age. “For about 10 years I’ve been starting to get worried that a lot of the guys who have been with me have started getting married and moving,” says Charpentier. His hope was renewed when he noticed younger kids coming into the store, a new demographic of customers. He loves “to see these little guys come in with their parents and see their faces light up.”
With the shop’s 25th anniversary around the corner, Charpentier is planning to make it a special year with summer-long events, and writers and artists coming into the shop. While no plans are official yet, he hopes to tie in with Free Comic Book Day (http://www.freecomicbookday.com/) on May 5, an event across North America. Yes, that means free comics! It’s also a big year for comics in general with several superhero movies releasing in the summer, which he hopes to play off of.
25 years later, although his store has grown in inventory and sells more than just comics, Charpentier’s passion for art is still strong: “My love is still the comics.”