Kelley Poole, who owns Empire Comics in Enterprise, said he wanted seven years ago to be a business owner like his father and to do something with his life that could impact future generations.
Many would say Poole accomplished both those goals. Poole opened the doors to Empire Comics on a Friday in July 2005, where he sells comics similar to the ones he said his mother started purchasing for him when he was 9.
The store sells paperback and hardcover comic books, including back issues from the 1960s and 70s. Poole also sells statues, figures and trading cards and orders requested comic books.
He said a Magic tour is held at the store every Friday, and other events are held throughout the year.
Poole said he opened the store after being given an offer by a previous store owner.
He said return customers and word of mouth have helped his business succeed.
“I basically sell luxury items – not food or clothes or other necessities – but I do offer inexpensive local items that kids can grow up with and the geek community has a place to come to,” he said.
“I sort of look at it as an escape here from the political and religious discussions that happen outside the store.”
Poole said challenges to the business have been standing against a tough economy. But Poole said he weathered the storm and has faith his eighth year will be a successful one.
“I’ve been very blessed already, and comics are so inexpensive that most people can kind of still hang on to purchasing them,” he said.
His advice to potential business owners is to research the business and what’s going on in the market to determine if there is a need, and then strive to be different from any other businesses.
“Oftentimes you’re going to be the only employee at first,” he said. “You have to make sure that while your customers can go elsewhere, they have a reason to come back to you.
“And shop local to support other local businesses. It makes a difference.”