A local comic book and collectibles shop is on the move.
On Jan. 1, Maxx Collectibles — a Portage Avenue mainstay located a few doors down from Sargent Sundae — will open shop in a larger space in the strip mall at Hamilton Avenue and Cavalier Drive in Crestview.
"I’m trying to accommodate everyone in this space the best I can, but I can’t do it anymore," said owner Garth Bowman, a Westwood resident, last week. "I’m losing business."
Bowman began his business selling items on consignment out of a local record store in 2001.In 2002, he moved into a small shop at Bruce Avenue and Strathmillan Road only to move into his current digs in March 2003.
But the 600-sq. ft. space has proven to be too small to accommodate customers along with his regular gamers, who show up to play miniature war and strategy games on the tables in the middle of the shop.
The average game night, held Wednesdays and on the weekends, can see more than a dozen players crammed into the space either playing or waiting to play.
Bowman estimates he loses about 10 to 15% of business from customers who walk in and quickly leave the shop on those nights.
"Bless their hearts, (the gamers) do support the shop really well," he said.
"It’s still a lot of business (to lose). I need to have customers able to get to the back of the store."
Bowman will move into the former Diamond Image shop at 835 Cavalier Dr. next door to Sobeys.
At 1,600 square feet, the new location will allow Bowman to have a dedicated room for gamers, and give him more space to display his collections.
Bowman believes being sandwiched between the Sobeys and the Mac’s convenience store will serve him well, not to mention the increased parking space he’ll get while still being locatedalong a major bus route.
For Bowman, it’s a return to the quieter feeling of small business.
"I like that neighbourhood shop feeling over the Portage Avenue business feeling," he said.
"The whole neighbourhood is going to know I’m there."
Ernie Nairn, president of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, said small business owners like Bowman are the backbone of the community and the country’s economy.
"When you look at all the big players, sure there are the Ikeas and the Bays and the banks, but it’s the little mom and pop shops that give Canada its economy," he said.
"Every time you see a small business expanding, it’s obvious the owner is doing (business) right."
Crestview resident Damien Coté, a Maxx regular since 2007, isn’t complaining about the move. Getting to the shop’s current location can be a hassle for him and often involves taking four different buses.
Coté hopes the bigger space means bigger games for fanatics like him.
"For us veterans with big armies, it’ll be great," he said.
Bowman plans to be open at his 2067 Portage Ave. location for Boxing Day, with the move happening in the ensuing days.
He plans to be open at 835 Cavalier Dr. on New Year’s Day from noon to 5 p.m.
For more, visit www.maxxcollectibles.com.