After twelve years on Castro Street, comic book shop Whatever Store has opened at 2275 Market St. (between 16th and Sanchez streets).
Owned by married couple Rich and Cougar Andrebou, the new location is a former Books Inc. store that closed in 2016. Since then, the space has been divided into smaller storefronts, and Whatever Store is one of four businesses to share the space.
"The lease was up," said Rich. "With the rents the way they are on Castro Street, we chose to move." As we reported, the shop closed at its former location in February.
Prior to the move, Whatever Store faced financial challenges; in 2014, it held a "trying not to go out of business sale," followed by a 2016 GoFundMe campaign that raised $9,500 to help the business stay afloat.
These efforts allowed the store to continue operations, but the Andrebous realized they needed to find a less expensive location.
Rich and Cougar Andrebou inside their new store.
Rich said he and Cougar are happy with the new store. "We've been looking at this spot since last year," he said. "We started talking to them at the beginning of the year, so we were just waiting for the spot to be ready."
The biggest challenge, he said, was letting customers know that they haven't closed, especially after making two moves in relatively quick succession.
"We spread the word through our Facebook page, and by word of mouth," he said. "On Free Comic Book Day we saw lots of familiar faces we hadn't seen since we moved. Now they know we're here."
The Andrebous in front of their store.
"We've had our ups and downs," he recalled. "We did what we had to do--we have some amazing and loyal regulars that have followed us over here. I have some customers from twelve years ago who still come to us every week."
Whatever Store will continue its policy of selling books by local comic book artists and writers, including books that are self published. "We want to build up our LGBT section, but we also want to be inclusive of everyone," said Andrebou.
And though the store is open for business, there is still more work to be done. Andrebou said that there was painting to be done and artwork to be displayed. "These are the final touches," he said. "We're here to stay."
Comic-book shop Whatever Store finds new lair on Market Street
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