Crawley comic book shop offers new hope for small business

Despite the pandemic, the team at The Comic Shop in Crawley have been resilient and are looking forward to a brighter future

Crawley’s only comic book shop that is nestled on the Old High Street, provides a meeting place for fellow geeks to play games, discuss comics and treat themselves to a hot beverage or two- there’s also a selection of food on offer!

The idea for the shop came from owner Chris Mills and it has created a safe place for people from all walks of life to socialise with friends, without the need to go to a pub.

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The first three years of the business has been difficult due to Covid related restrictions, but The Comic Shop has weathered the storm and is excited for what the future holds for them.

Chris Mills (Owner) and Aaron Payne (Manager)

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Mr Mills and Store Manager Aaron Payne said: “We’ve been here for three years, shut for the most of that because of what’s been going on.

“We started off as a small comic shop, with bits and pieces on the shelves but now we’re a bit different from that. Our team has transformed the space into a gaming hub with a nice community feel.

“We’ve expanded in the past couple of years, from trading cards to board games. It’s been a nice mix-up to have people come in and play games.

“I like to think the shop is a nice, safe place for people to come. Especially if people feel like they don’t fit in. They can come and be included in our community.

“We work with charities like Autism All Stars. We have events with cosplayers and make a big day out of it. Have some fun with it and raise money at the same time.

“What’s nice is people come here, play games and end up meeting new people. We offer an alternative to the pub.

“We are looking to branch out to selling alcohol in the near future and will offer a different drinking venue to your traditional bar or pub. We won’t be selling alcohol all day, only on certain nights. You can have fun playing games drunk!

“In the future, we would like to branch out on the food aspect, more of a board game cafe.

“There is a real need and want for people to meet up with friends, especially as we’ve all been locked up at home for so long.”

The pandemic has been particularly hard on small businesses in Crawley. On the subject, Mr Mills and Mr Payne said: “It’s tough running a small business in Crawley, in fact it’s brutal.

“It’s been even tougher with the pandemic going on. We’ve done the best we can. It’s very rewarding running a small business, but tough.

“There is a nice feel around the Old High Street and we get along with our neighbours- there is a nice sense of community.

“We like to say confidently that we’ve helped our community with their mental health. It’s rewarding to see people’s faces when they first discover us.

If you would like to know more about The Comic Shop and their upcoming events, please take a look at their website: https://www.thecomicshop.co.uk/