After severe flooding hit Houston earlier this week, many local comic shops in the area report only slight delays and, fortunately, no major damage.
The damage “wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been,” 8th Dimension Comics and Games manager Jeremy Bulloch told CBR News. Likewise, Third Planet manager Jim Stanley shared, “We were open our regular hours… We still did business all day.”
Though most local shops reported that their places of business were fine, not all managed to come out completely unscathed. For instance, the 1960 W. location of Bedrock City Comics suffered some minor flooding. “We are at the right angle with our store in our whole strip center that, when it rains really hard and the wind is ripping, it’ll push it directly at our door, and it always finds a way under somehow,” explained manager Lauro Guerra. “We were really lucky, because it was controllable. It wasn’t like we got here and everything was floating everywhere.”
“One thing that I can say is that we have a lot of really cool customers,” Guerra added. “People were coming in that were volunteering to help clean up stuff… We have really cool people that try to help us.”
All the shops CBR News spoke with reported some delays with their weekly deliveries. “It just backed us up a few hours,” Stanley explained. David Wahlen, a manager at another one of the five Bedrock City Comic locations, explained, “All of [our] stores’ merchandise weekly shipment was delayed.” For Rober Quijano, manager of the Pop Culture Company, delays were a little more severe: “UPS put my shipment onto two different trucks, so we have half our shipment right now and we’re waiting for the other half.” DNA Comics‘ Wayne Tuttle also mentioned slight delays.
The delayed books didn’t come as a surprise to some of the shops’ patrons, regardless of the flooding. “Most people were assuming books were going to be delayed because of the Memorial Day holiday anyway,” Bulloch said. Guerra also expected delays due to the long weekend: “Memorial Day usually messes things up and, if it isn’t the holidays, it’s always the weather.”
Most shops took care to alert their customers about the impending delays through various social media accounts. “Luckily, we are in pretty good contact with most of our customers via Twitter and Facebook,” Bulloch said, “So we were able to keep everyone notified that books were delayed and let them know when books were finally ready for them to come in and pick up.” Likewise, Wahlen reached his customers prior to Wednesday: “Whenever we have delays, we do Facebook posts, letting all of our people know that everything is going to be delayed.”
“Houston weather is always pretty insane, whether it’s super-hot or super-raining,” Bulloch added. “Locals are used to dealing with all the extremes… If Thor wants to throw a temper tantrum, we can handle it, as long as we can let our customers know what’s up.”
“For as bad as they were, the storms actually happened convenient times for storeowners,” Quijano explained. “The rain started within about two minutes of us arriving to unload [from Comicpalooza, a Houston-based convention that wrapped on Monday],” Bulloch shared, “Leaving Comicpalooza was OK, but the people leaving the Rockets game were screwed… they wound up being held until about 2 in the morning because the streets weren’t safe.”
“We do feel sorry for the people who were affected by the storm, because of all the flooding,” Stanley said. “We’re just glad that a lot of people are safe and they’re still coming in to get their books.”
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