Everyone here at AiPT! wishes you and yours a joyous holiday next week. Happy Local Comic Shop Day, everybody!

Wait, what do you think I meant? While the holiest annual geek celebration is of course May’s Free Comic Book Day, the Comics Professional Retail Organization (ComicsPRO) hopes to add to the spirit this year with the first ever Local Comic Shop Day on Saturday, November 28, coinciding with Small Business Saturday.

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Inspired by Record Store Day, which takes place on the “Black Friday” after Thanksgiving, Local Comic Shop Day momentarily shifts the focus from the books themselves to the friendly neighborhood stores that so lovingly feed our addictions. ComicsPRO, a trade organization dedicated to maintaining and bolstering the health of the direct market, has teamed with some of comics’ best and brightest publishers to offer special, exclusive items to folks visiting their shops next Saturday, including a snazzy Bitch Planet hardcover from Image and an All-New Wolverine #1 sketch variant limited to only 500 copies.

“It’s a partnership between the publishers and the independent comic stores,” says ComicsPRO president Peter Dolan. Eagle-eyed AiPT! readers will recognize Dolan as our “retailer on the street” for all things Secret Wars. His Main Street Comics opened in Pine Bush, N.Y., in 2001, before moving to the more bustling Middletown a year and a half later. With business continuing to boom, Main Street uprooted again, relocating to a much larger building to accommodate the increased traffic.

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“This space is nearly twice the size that space was,” Dolan said, adding that the current location also offers “better parking [and] better accessibility.”

So what’s Main Street’s secret? “It’s not brain surgery,” Dolan says. “My main goal is to make sure that everybody who comes to my store leaves happier than when they come in.”

To that end, Dolan’s grateful the expanded space provides for wider aisles to make browsing easier. It also allows him to stock more than just comic books, with dedicated areas for collectibles, children’s items and a whole corner for the hardcore gamer. Although Local Comic Shop Day aims to shine a light on the hardworking retailer, Dolan knows why he’s really in business.

“Ultimately, it’s all about the customer experience,” Dolan said.

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