When Bob Gordon opened up his first Acme Comics Store in 1991 some people laughed at him. Okay, to be more specific, two people laughed at him: My brother Jim and I. I’ll explain.
Back in 1991, I didn’t know Bob that well, but I had met him and run into him on different occasions. Then I heard that he had opened a comic book store on Main Street near Sheridan Road. I told my brother and we made a trek to his shop as we had both been comic book fanatics as kids and we were curious about the shop. We went, bought some stuff, wished Bob good luck and got into my car. Then we both started laughing and saying, “This guy thinks he’s going to make a living selling comic books? He must be nuts!” And we continued laughing on our ride home.
Well, I have to admit, Bob got the last laugh on the two of us! Not only has he made a living these last 21 years, he’s turned his shop into the biggest comic, record and collectible store in Peoria! I’d tell you more, but Bob sent me some of these interesting Acme factoids, you can read the bulleted list below:
• Opened June 1991 where One World currently resides. Moved to University and Glen 1994. Present location since 1998.
• Acme has sold appproximately over 2 million comics since opening. Longest running comic shop in Peoria
• The store employs two full time employees: Randy Witte, manager and Luke Gleason. John Bankes is a part time employee.
• At one time there was nine collectible stores in Peoria-area, Acme has been the only one to survive since 1996. Last competitor closed when my wife Danielle and I were on our honeymoon—our best wedding gift! One reason for survival—diverse product away from comic books—dvd, cd, video games, toys and pop culture stuff. I've always tried to make non-comic fans that come in the store with their kid, boyfriend or spouse comfortable. Star Wars, TV tie-ins, Simpsons always placed at front of store so newcomers don't feel alienated.
• Set up at comic conventions 2 years prior to opening helped learn business. Used to do the giant SanDiego Comicon. Stopped shows 3 years ago to focus more on online sales.
• Picked Acme name for Looney Tunes reference, humorous name - always brings smile to people's faces, plus 1st in phone book when there were other stores. Also all encompassing—sounds more than just comics.
Those are some cool factoids and here’s one more: Bob’s also a writer and has written for the Peoria Journal Star, POP magazine and he’s going to be a contributing writer right here at MBIP! His first post will be this Saturday and he’s going to be writing about the old Peoria kids TV show, Captain Jinks and Salty Sam, so stay tuned for that!
Okay, let’s hop into Acme Comics and see what’s shaking!
Here we are at Acme Comics. My brother Jim designed Bob's logo.
He also drew the cartoon image of Bob on this sign on the side of the store. Okay, let's go in and see what's happening.
The view from the front door, looks like Bob's crew is already at work behind the counter.
Randy and Luke are in the back room getting ready to stock the store for the day. Randy is the store's manager and Luke isn't. So there!
Bob's filling out the day's mail orders, watching these guy's work is wearing me out!
Vintage comics are housed in the glass case directly below the Captain Jinks and Salty Sam photo.
Of course ther'e's plenty of comic books in here, but there's a lot more inventory to check out as well.
This magazine rack is sprinkled liberally with Bob's favorite magazine as a youth: Mad magazine.
I remember this issue! Here's a sad tale: When I was in high school, I had a huge box stuffed with old Mad magazines, some of them really rare one's from the early '60's. When I was a junior I traded the whole box for an ounce of pot! I hate to think what that box would be worth today! And yes, I put the "high" back in "high school!"
There's racks of used DVD's to be had in here.
Holy moley, check out the huge vinyl record section in the store!
Let's play a game and pick a random album in the middle of the bin and see what we get.
Whoa, this is a great album! Not too many people know about Phil Seymour, but he was a member the Dwight Twilley Band and had some great solo albums, including this one. DJ Gidget spins his tunes on her and "Boris'" Secret Weapon show on Woody Radio. It's on the air now, tune in while you read this blog!
There's a lot of vintage vinyl in here, like this Beatle Mania album from the '60's. Bob told me the most collectible vinyl is hung up at the top, so let's crane our necks and take a look.
"Ronald Reagan Recommends," if this would've been recorded in his latter life, it would've been the same song over and over and over.
Holy spinning turntables, Batman, check out this soundtrack album!
In addition to Mad magazines, there's also Mad vinyl in here too. It's a Mad, Mad world in here!
Plenty of Elvis cassettes in here, these would make great stocking stuffers for the Elvis fans in your family!
Very cool pint glasses from DC comics.
If you're into graphic novels, Acme most likely can fill your needs.
Just like the records, the more collectible games are kept up on the top racks near the ceiling.