and Bianca Moise
As a child growing up TJ Veith would find himself with a pencil in one hand and his drawing pad in the other drawing superheroes for hours. As he got older his passion for drawing grew and he realized he can turn something that he loves to do into a business.
Next month, Veith’s dreams will become a reality as he opens his pop culture gallery, Flippin’ Comics. The new comic book store at 218 Grant Street, is just one of the many new businesses calling the West Side home.
Veith, a resident of the West Side, has been selling comic books online for the past five years. Flippin’ Comics will not only be a place for customers to find collectible comic books but a shop where local and international artists can showcase their work. Veith combined his two passions of comic books and pop culture and created his first brick and mortar that will be both a comic book shop and a gallery dedicated to pop culture.
“Having a brick and mortar establishes a sense of legitimacy to a business where online presence is kind of fairweather,” Veith said.
Veith flashes back to a time where Grant Street was considered to be “sketchy” but now it has made a full turnaround and was the ideal place to fulfill his dreams of turning his online comic book publication to a brick and mortar.
Veith’s vision for Flippin’ Comics was to create a hub for art and music lovers in Buffalo. He plans to not only have comic books in his store but to have a platform for people creating podcasts, recording music, and showing their artwork.
Veith found success in art mainly on the social media site Instagram. Social media plays a large role in Veith’s business. He’s able to share his artwork with hundreds of people who share and repost his work, which he credits for being the reason his online sales have increased.
Veith seems to be bucking a shopping trend that is shifting away from storefronts in favor of the online marketplace.
“People that do what I do with online sales that target comic books they’re the ones who spend the majority of the money because they are trying to resell, whereas an online consumer would usually buy one book and a reseller would buy comic books in bulk. Those are the people that will come to a shop like mine,” Veith said.
Prish Moran, store owner of the Sweet Ness 7 Cafe who is also the landlord of the building where Veith is renting said Veith should set and keep regular store hours.
“Be consistent in your opening and closing hours, that is the biggest thing I see with new businesses. It’s slow, so they decide to close and that is the worst thing you can do,” Moran said.
Moran also disagrees with the idea that Grant Street is not safe.
“The media and everyone has made us believe that it is unsafe here, and that's not true things happen, sure they do but they happen everywhere,” Moran said.
Renovations for Flippin’ Comics are set to complete within the next month.