All About Books and Comics owners Marsha and Alan Giroux have their hands full these days, and not just with stocking the latest titles from Marvel and DC. The couple, who have run the renowned Phoenix comic book emporium for 33 years, are getting ready to leave their longtime location on Central Avenue just north of Camelback Road and head for a new home next month.
And the store's dedicated fanbase are likely to beat a path to their door, since All About Books and Comics, the longest continually operated store of its kind of the Valley, has been an institution and go-to spot for local comics aficionados and other geeks for decades.
“We've been such a part of the community for a long time,” Marsha Giroux says.
So, um, why are they moving, then? The couple says it's because their current landlord reportedly has other plans for the location.
According to Marsha, Scottsdale-based real estate agency Case, Huff & Associates — the property management company that oversees the Central Avenue strip mall where All About Books and Comics is located — declined to renew their current lease. Instead, she says, they're planning to rent the space to a dermatologist's office and clinic next door, which will be expanding.
New Times was unable to reach Case, Huff & Associates for comment on the matter.
“Our landlord was more interested in renting to the doctor next door and we weren't given any choice, so we lost our lease,” Marsha says. “We tried to stay but it was too late, they already signed the new deal.”
So much like the Avengers sought refuge in Stark Tower after their mansion headquarters was destroyed (the first time, at any rate), the couple decided to “make the best of the situation” and move to new digs close to their current location at the end of June.
"We didn't want to just close up,” Marsha says. “We have too many dedicated customers that we had to keep it going."
The new home of All About Books and Comics, which will open on July 1, is situated “just around the corner” at a nearby strip mall located at 24 West Camelback Road that will offer a comparable amount of space for the couple to house the estimated one million-plus comic books they currently stock, as well as a surplus of collectibles, toys, games, and other geek-friendly items.
Its not the first time that All About Books and Comics, the longest continually-operated comic book store in the Valley, has had to relocate over the years. Besides surviving the tumultuous changes in the the comic book industry (and sticking around when other local retailers like Atomic Comics pulled an Atomic Knight and went belly up), the shop has endured at least two moves in its lifetime.
“We've had a lot of ups and downs over the years,” Marsha says.
All About Books and Comics started out life back in 1973 as A Little Bookstore on Third Avenue and Indian School Road before the couple purchased it in 1981, right around the time that comic book shops rose to prominence.
“We bought it when it was mostly books,” Marsha says. “That was at the beginning of the onset of the direct comics market, when comic books started coming to comic book shops instead of grocery stores.”
As a result, the couple refocused the business on the sequential art form and renamed it All About Books and Comics. In 1983, they relocated to a storefront at Seventh Street and Camelback before moving again to their current location in 2000.
Unlike the last two times that All About Books and Comics has had to pack up its back issues, however, the couple got some substantial financial assistance from their fanbase.
After securing their new location earlier this year, they launched a Kickstarter in February to raise money to help offset the “Overwhelming expense" of rehabbing the spot and moving the business, which Marsha estimates is somewhere between $60,000 and $70,000. The crowd-funding campaign exceeded its $33,000 goal by more than $4,000.
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"It has been so heartwarming and humbling to have the love and support of so many people,” Marsha says. “We won't have to take out quite so many loans.”
They will, however, have to finish rehabbing their new location and getting ready for the move, which will take place over five days from June 26 until June 30. Naturally, its happening after this year's Phoenix Comicon, where the couple has had a booth at for many years.
"It's just too much to move during Phoenix Comicon," Marsha says.