Local Business Spotlight: Other Worlds Games & Comics
This month we are visiting with Ron Connell, Owner of Other Worlds Games and Comics. A SW PDX community meeting place for board games, card games, and comics since 2007.
Phil: How did you end up owning a gaming and comic business?
Ron: I've always wanted to own a book store with games. I used to go to shows and find books that were undervalued and then sell them on Amazon back when it was only selling books online. In 2007 I saw a Craigslist ad for a games store owned by two young guys. I thought 'this could be my bookstore!' and bought the store from them a short time later.
Phil: But your name is "Games and Comics" do you sell books too?
Ron: Ha! Well, being a new small business owner I neglected to realize there was a public library [in Hillsdale] very close by. People were not looking to buy books, but they would stop by my store on the way to the library looking for board games, role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, and card games like Magic The Gathering. Those products, and a growing collection of comics, are our focus.
Phil: When I think of 'Gaming' I think of teenagers with a Nintendo being anti-social, but your games are not like that?
Ron: Right, there are many different types of 'Gaming', the games we sell are played by everyone from elementary school to adulthood. Games like Pokemon are popular with little kids, and games like Magic The Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons are popular among all age levels. These games require players to be social and interact. We cater to a lot of families in our community and most are looking for games their kids will like. Most parents are really happy to learn we only sell tabletop games for all ages.
Phil: You also sell comics and graphic novels, what's the difference? Who do you see buying each kind of literature?
Ron: Graphic novels and kids comics have taken over the Superhero comics genre we all think of with comics. Graphic novels are like books with more artistic pictures than words. A lot of parents get graphic novels for their kids because they find them to be easier to read when a child has reading or attention issues. Girls have been kind of neglected by the industry so I always try to find products that appeal to them. Right now The Baby-Sitters Club is popular for graphic novels. Ms. Marvel is also popular, and is interesting because the character is like Wonder Woman but is Marvel's first Muslim character to headline her own comic book. AWA Upshot just released "COVID Chronicles" about true stories of the pandemic. Marvel paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman on all new issues when he passed away. So we are seeing comics and graphic novels focus more on current issues and all ages are buying them now. Regular customers coming in to get new releases has been huge during these times.
Phil: How can we support you as a small business during this holiday period?
Ron: It has been a tough year as a big part of our business is about the sense of community we provide. This feeling comes from our weekly tournaments, gaming events, and camps for middle-school-aged kids. During the pandemic, we have been offering online play. We have over 30 kids enrolled and still have space available. We have a newly revamped online store where most of our games and graphic novels are available. We offer delivery, curbside pickup or in-store pickup. This is a super important holiday season to shop local, so thank you to everyone that has shopped with us this year, and to those who will visit us in-store or online!
Other Worlds Games & Comics is at 6350 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland. 503.244.0290 More info at OtherWorldsGames.com