Mal and Kam met while working together at the comic counter in the back of a record store in Canberra. When the store was bought out by a larger retailer who didn’t want to sell comics the pair were quick to think on their feet and had a new store open within six weeks! They have since moved into a bigger location and Impact Comics is now one of Australia’s largest comic suppliers. We visited the team in Canberra to learn about how comic culture has evolved over time and how Canberra is the perfect place for a comic store.
SQ: How did Impact Comics start?
M: After our workplace was bought out we were brainstorming how we were going to open a new store and it just so happened that a guy who owned a nearby store had a tenant who was moving out. He and his wife came in and ran the initial business side of things. Four years ago we finally bought them out completely and they’ve retired down the coast.
SQ: How has the store evolved over the years?
M: Impact Comics started in 2004, initially sharing a space with a video game shop, but we quickly outgrew that location. By 2008 we had moved to a larger, higher profile, ground floor store. Over the years we’ve developed a great community and a loyal army of mail-order customers. Impact Comics has been involved with local events and clubs, and even hosts our own open-air market days and cosplay events in the heart of the city.
SQ: Why do you think comics have taken off so well in Canberra?
M: Comics are a unique medium with a long history. Canberra is a university city with high levels of literacy, book ownership, and disposable income. It’s the perfect sweet spot for appreciating comics.
SQ: What are you loving about the comic scene today?
M: We’ve been in business for eighteen years, and now the diversity of products is pretty amazing. While the big companies are producing movies and tv, the smaller companies are producing a ridiculous range of stories, it could be serial killers or professional wrestlers in some demon league. It’s a very interesting mix.
SQ: Why did you choose Square to power your business?
M: We started using Square for the easy start-up and convenience of running a small convention stall from a phone, but we kept finding new features that helped us grow our business.
Impact Comics serves customers in a number of ways, and Square helps us by offering a range of payment options. For everyday in-store purchases, we accept card payments from a couple of Square Terminals. For our online shoppers, Square is our main online payment gateway. For our regular mail-order customers who collect ongoing series, Square offers the ability to securely store payment details for future payments so we can process their orders quickly.