The shop at the centre of Bedford’s comic book culture is celebrating ten years trading in the town.
Close Encounters opened in Midland Road in 2004 after owner Bub Chahal ditched his music and DVD retail career to set up his own store.
He said: “It’s worked out really well and I think the shop has bought something extra to town. It is the only comic book shop in the area and our catchment area is quite big.”
Like music and films, comic books are available digitally but, as Bub says, it is not the same as holding a real book.
He said: “People enjoy coming in and chatting with the staff and other customers about their interests. That way, we can tailor recommendations to the customer.”
Over the years, the type of customer has changed with more young people coming in attracted by the superhero movies, and also more girls.
Bub said: “There are more female creators in the industry and the books have more appeal to women and girls.
“We also have two women working in the shop, and while I don’t believe there are girls’ comics and boys’ comics, they can make recommendations to our female customers.”
Comic books appeal to fans of all ages with Adventure Time attracting younger readers and Saga the over-18s.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Close Encounters is offering 10 per cent off, and has 1,000 comic books to give away on Saturday.