WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - In downtown Wilmington, the central hub of local business are located on or around Front Street. It's filled with a bountiful amount of restaurants and bars, in particular. However, if you've looked there lately, you may see a shop that acts as a haven for a dedicated faction of the Wilmington community: comic book fans.
Previously residing in the Cotton Exchange since the holiday season of 2012, Nerdvana Comix has steadily served those who not only enjoy reading comics, but who are passionate about everything that represents "nerd culture" for lack of a better term.
Those dedicated customers have allowed for Nerdvana to relocate to a larger location and better facilitate those interests.
One might ask why a comic book shop is so important to downtown Wilmington. To Nerdvana owner Richard Davis, the answer is simple. "Every downtown area needs a comic shop. It's as American as apple pie."
It's recapturing that slice of Americana that sets Nerdvana apart from other business ventures whose primary focus would be defeating their competition.
"We foster community over competition," Davis explained, referring to Jake's Memory Lane Comics and Fanboy Comics, both located within the Wilmington area. "When we're strong, they're strong. And vice versa."
Operating in a larger space, Davis is excited about bringing new ideas and products to Nerdvana. For instance, he is more than willing to help display the work of local aspiring artists, whether it be paintings or even handmade comics.
As far as products go, an increasing amount of T-shirts, posters, baseball cards, action figures, and memorabilia will find their way into the store's inventory.
One addition that looks to be a huge new focus for Nerdvana is board/table-top games. Multiple tables and chairs occupy an area in the store set aside for customers to fully engage with their friends in a rousing game of their choice.
When asked about reaching out to the board game community, Davis reiterated that he was not looking to impede on similar businesses, such as Cape Fear Games.
"Again, it's all about expanding the pre-existing community," explained Davis who is even planning to be in contact with Cape Fear Games so that their schedules don't collide with one another when hosting events.
Even with all these new additions, Davis knows that reading comics is at the heart of what Nerdvana stands for. With a medium that many dismiss as juvenile, Davis believes there lies a true literacy initiative behind those panels. He cites a study that saw a 40% increase in the SAT reading scores of those who read comic books regularly.
The new location of Nerdvana has been open for a majority of March to serve their diehard customers. However, Davis is planning a grand opening of sorts during the first week of April with some major festivities and sales specials being planned.
You can visit Nerdvana Comix at their new location at 130 N. Front Street, right next door to Chop's Deli. To find out more about this local establishment, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/nerdvanacomix.
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322 Shipyard Boulevard