Business Monday: Unique comic book store finds new home outside downtown Glenwood Springs
Grinning monsters, sword-wielding heroines, and flying superhumans adorn thousands of comic book covers at Tesseract Comics and Games’ new location on Grand Avenue.
Past a posing puma, climbs dimly lit stairs and descends an easy to miss hallway, a single glass door leads to a thousand painted worlds waiting to be discovered by young people and rediscovered by those who have not forgotten their youth.
“It’s a little hard to find at first, but I think I like it,” said Toni Grenko, 65, as she and his wife, Kat Sing, 58, perused a comic book wall. recently published. “We’re avid readers, so when our favorite bookstore closed downtown, we discovered Geoff and his comic book store.”
Tesseract owner Geoff Alleger, 40, laughed behind his counter, slipping a crisp copy of Rafael Maldanado’s “Pilla: Season One” Bad Hand into a protective plastic sleeve. Denver-based artist, Bad Hand does graphic design for Tesseract and frequents the boutique for artist signing events.
“We sell more ‘Pilla’ comics than any other store in the country,” Alleger said. “It’s about this 7-year-old girl who survives a post-apocalyptic landscape filled with mutants that feed on human flesh.”
Grenko scanned a copy of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, a new favorite she discovered with help from Algiers.
“I know that sounds silly,” she said, thinking twice before Sing urged her to finish the sentence, “but, what I really like is” Scooby Doo “It’s simple, fun and reminds me of my childhood.
Sing, on the other hand, said her preferences lie in the sci-fi realm of “Star Trek” and “Dr. Qui”, with a touch of mythological fantasy “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
The third time is a charm
Since opening in 2018, the comic book store in Algiers has moved three times.
The first location was a storefront on Grand Avenue now replaced by a new bank, and the second, just above Brava Modern Trattoria, provided a prime showcase for shopping tourists.
“At the end of the day, tourists aren’t really interested in buying comics when they visit,” Alleger said. “I don’t know if our new location would have worked when we opened, but I know it’s the best thing for the business now. “
Landing the store in a city with little real estate to offer was a fluke, he said. Before examining the 1512 Grand Ave. shopping complex, Alleger considered moving to a space closer to the former location of the American Furniture Warehouse.
“Upon reading the lease, it became very clear that they were looking for a tenant business – and that’s just not who we are,” said Alleger.
Another potential location failed when the cost of renovations proved prohibitive. Then, at the eleventh hour, Alleger was offered the sequel # 212A.
“I wasn’t sure we would have a new location,” he said. “My garage is still full of comic book boxes from the previous location, as my old store lease ended before we could transfer everything.”
While officially less than a third of the advertised square footage of its previous location, Suite # 212A is better suited for comic book retail.
“There was a lot of wasted space that we just didn’t need in the previous store,” Alleger said. “Floor space is not extremely important for the comics displayed along the wall. “
The entrance to the store serves as a game room, which can be used after hours by customers due to its lockable entrances to the store itself and the lobby of the shopping complex.
High school kids stop by after school to play Dungeons and Dragons in the middle of the week, and Alleger said the store’s main game hour Friday night is reserved for an LGBT role-playing group.
“The (LBGT) community has been underserved and sidelined by the worst keepers of the comic book and gaming community for too long,” said Alleger. “It is a point of pride that they are getting the most desired game day from my store.”
Create an inheritance
Alleger bought his first comic book when he was around 10, mainly because his parents didn’t want him.
“I grew up during the satanic panic,” he said, explaining that the ’80s and early’ 90s were plagued by religious rhetoric aimed at unresponsive comics, toys and games. to the “Christian” message. “I was not allowed to read comics, and that attracted me to them. “
Born in New Jersey, Alleger’s father was a defense contractor, so the family moved across the country throughout his childhood. Regardless of the wishes of the parents of Algiers, the young comic book enthusiast hid his hobby in the closet, under his bed and on the shelf behind the books they preferred to read.
The hobby fell apart when Algiers entered high school, then earned a bachelor’s degree in radio, television, and film from the University of North Texas, and another bachelor’s degree in physics from State University. from Colorado.
In his mid-30s, Alleger said he was working at a comic book store in Denver when he decided to move to Glenwood Springs – closer to his family in Basalt – and start his own business.
“I chose this because it was compatible with raising my daughter on my own,” he said. “We can spend time together, create memories and one day this shop could be her heirloom if she decides she wants it.”
Journalist Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at [email protected].