Comic expo gives store owners a chance to market themselves
For a few small Calgary businesses the weekend of Oct. 19th was a chance to pack up shop and drive north to Edmonton.
Companies like Redd Skull Comics made the journey to attend the first ever Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo where it showed off their wares to fans from all generations.
The owner of Redd Skull Comics, Kelly Dowd was on hand to help his staff sell their wide variety of comic books, toys and t-shirts, which typically sell in its store in northeast Calgary, just off of Edmonton trail.
"Basically this is a testing ground to see if we could take the store to Vancouver, or maybe some of the other different cons (what does cons mean?)," Dowd said.
"It's a nice opportunity to test the market and show people who we are."
The media and guest relations expert for the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo, Steve Hodges, also has the same role for the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
This is due to the fact that the founder of the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo met with Edmonton's Toy and Comic Expo founder and the two of them decided to give Edmonton a much bigger expo for the fans.
This is also what led to several of Calgary owned and operated stores driving up to Edmonton to help the expo.
"Edmonton has always been a supporter of the Calgary show, so it's very nice to see Calgary come up and support the Edmonton show," Hodges said.
Attendees, some in elaborate costumes showcasing their favourite characters, wandered up and down the Edmonton Expo Centre's halls.
From shopping for comic books, toys, figurines or other memorabilia, to meeting some of the special guests and getting their autographs or even attending one of the panels, there was no shortage of things for patrons of the expo to do.
"Calgary and Edmonton are very isolated, but they're a very supportive community of creative individuals. Whether its clothing vendors, or pop culture vendors, or artists. So Calgarians want to go to Edmonton, or Edmontonians want to go to Calgary, to meet the fans and hopefully turn a profit," Hodges said.
For some of the Calgarians to travel to Edmonton, like Erik Scheelar, the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo made for a good chance to make up for not being able to get into the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo last April when record shattering crowds made the expo turn people away.
There is an increasing confidence that Edmonton's expo will grow based on how much more Calgary's expo does.
"I think Edmonton will really be able to ride off Calgary's success. They'll be able to get bigger people and it'll be nice for Calgarians because it's an easy day trip to see the expo and then drive home," Scheelar said.
Now that Calgarians have the chance to go to big expos twice a year, one will have to wait and see how much the expos, and the small local Calgary businesses that travel with them can grow.
- By Jeff Medhurst