(Scott here. I’m going to share the updates in my usual meandering way, but if you want to jump ahead to the important bits, just scan down the page to the red lines below.)
Being holed up during the Coronavirus health crisis is no fun. It gets lonely and we miss all your smiling faces (and a few of the grumpy ones)! One thing it has done, however, is give us the opportunity to ponder our place in the pop culture universe and assess where we are at with the business of being Back to the Past. The economic fallout from the virus is no joke and it is altering the landscape of small local shops everywhere.
New comics sales have been central to the DNA of Back to the Past since Andy started slinging the four-color funnies back in 1990. The stories that we have to tell about the weirdness and hilarity around that comics rack over 30 years could fill a book; the grand cast of characters who’ve walked through our doors to pick up the latest Batman over all those years rivals the gang on Cheers or Seinfeld!
Though we are proud of our run…through ups and downs where we saw major fellow retailers dropping out of the business, we not only survived but thrived…for anyone paying attention, you know that we’ve done this through diversifying, finding sales avenues in addition to maintaining the new comics rack.
Have you noticed how our name has shifted over time to reflect our focus? In the 1990s we were “Back to the Past Comics and Movie Materials”, but as comics were the real driver of the shop, by the end of that decade we had dropped the “movie materials” off the masthead. When we purchased the building on Inkster Road and embraced the shabby chic of light industrial, we were “Back to the Past Comics and Pop Culture Warehouse” and it was during this era that we really found our talent for discovering vintage collections and assisting sellers with getting the best return on their collectibles. With our move to Plymouth Road and the brighter retail store, we are now “Back to the Past Collectibles” and the bulk of what we do is assisting families with estate collections. Evaluating family assets and helping people bring their goods to market is now our primary business.
The new comics rack has been in the midst of it all, during this journey, and we have a deep appreciation for what it represents about our business and all the people who have been loyal customers through the years. There would be no Back to the Past if there was no new comics rack. However, we must deal with the reality of life in a post-Coronavirus world. Both of these things are true, so as we have been looking hard at how to improve the situation, we want to do so without letting down our long-standing loyal customers and friends.
So, today we are making two major changes to our store.
The important part one: Starting with whatever the next Previews will be (probably a June cover date as they will skip May), we will no longer be stocking a new comics rack. This means no “walk-in” service for new comics.
We will be improving the comics club for existing customers who choose to take advantage of it, and the good news is that if you maintain membership in good standing, you will now be getting more for your money!
Introducing the New Normal Comics Club for 2020:
- All orders must be submitted via Diamond Previews order book by the published due date.
- 10 books monthly minimum.
- 30% discount (new comics only – other Previews items not included)
- Must maintain credit card on file. Each week we will bill for new arrivals on Wednesday. They will be marked as paid and can be picked up anytime thereafter.
These are the broad strokes and we’ll have more details about exactly how to set this up!
We have a lot of books already in our order pipeline, so these changes may not have an immediate impact on the comics rack, so don’t panic! But as we move into future monthly orders, this is going to be the new process.
The important part two: When it becomes safe to re-open the showroom, regular hours will be Wednesday and Saturday 10am-7pm. Advertised special events may occasionally take place on other days as needed. We’ll still be here working on collections every day, so if you need us at other times we can assist by appointment or phone call.
We will continue to offer estate collections and other cool vintage finds through our live event Proxibid auctions , eBay listings and other special events , so please stay tuned to our constantly updating catalogs for all of those goodies you know we love to find.
Small business is a sink or swim prospect, especially with the massive upheaval we’re all feeling from the coronavirus crisis, but we are optimistic about where we are headed as a company. We are going to be here when you need evaluation or monetizing of your assets, from comics and toys to coins, original art, advertising & paper, vinyl records and lots more!
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat about what this all means for the future we are standing by for phone calls or emails.
Thank you so much for all of your support,
Scott & the BTTP Crew