More than 60 retailers from 23 different states attended the 2nd Annual membership Meeting of ComicsPRO, the Comics Professional Retail Organization, which took place at the Texas Station Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas NV. The ComicsPRO annual meeting is the comics industry’s only retailer-directed trade event, offering face-to-face discussions and programming for professional retailers with peers and key suppliers.
Additional attendees were personnel from sponsoring suppliers, including Cartoon Books, DC Comics, Diamond Comic Distributors, Dynamite Entertainment, Graphitti Designs, Bitter End Systems
(makers of MOBY point of sale software) and Slave Labor Graphics
. Inspiring presentations were also provided by Alan Caplan from InkWorks and the speakers from SCORE, Jim Camburn and Bob Cushman.
After the successful conclusion the group’s meeting, reactions are pouring in attending retailers and suppliers: Filip Sablik, Top Cow Productions
"Top Cow was proud to be both a sponsor and an active participant in the 2008 ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. We found the gathering to be one of the most fruitful and productive opportunities we've had in a long time to interact with our direct market retail partners. I personally want to thank Chris Powell, Amanda Fisher, Gary Dills, and all of the great retailers at ComicsPRO for inviting me to participate and creating a great environment for a dialogue between publishers and retailers."Derrick Taylor, Comic Oasis, Las Vegas, NV
"The honest and straightforward communication with the publishers and distributors showed a lot of paths for the continued growth of my store and the industry as a whole." Ralph Watts, Comics and Paperbacks Plus, Palmyra, PA
"I came away with important ideas to make my shop more visible in my community and I plan on implementing them soon." Rory D. Root, Comic Relief, Berkeley CA
"The conversation on how to best grow our industry and art-form continued at the second annual ComicsPRO meeting. Retailers had ongoing discussions with creators, publishers, and distributors, as well as the non-profit organizations that serve our collective community. It was fruitful and I believe the best is still yet to come." Charles Brownstein, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
"ComicsPRO truly does represent the best of the Direct Market. The opportunity to interact with such a large swath of its membership in one room allowed for some tremendously useful discussion about our industry. The forum that ComicsPRO's annual meeting provided is a vital and much needed addition to the industry conversation." Andrew Neal, Chapel Hill Comics, Chapel Hill NC
"Being able to speak face to face with publishers and the most forward-thinking retailers in the industry is always great. I came away from the meeting not just with new ideas for the store, but with renewed excitement for the medium and the industry." Mimi Cruz, Night Flight Comics. Salt Lake City UT
"Essentially, we all want to flourish, working together to discover successful paths in our industry is indispensable. The ComicsPRO meeting this year opened dialogs between retailers, publishers, manufacturers, artists, writers and enabling us all to connect on all our mutual goals. I believe I can operate better stores due to these positive and human interactions." Joseph Rybandt, Dynamite Entertainment
"ComicsPRO affords publishers the opportunity for quality face time with a group of the most dedicated retail professionals in the direct market. The focus groups, panels, question and answer sessions and more allowed for a real discourse to open and continue with this group. As a publisher, hard data emerged and new communication lines opened. I encourage any specialty retailer seeking more information on ComicsPro to seek them out and add their voice to this exceptional group."George Stasky, Brave New Worlds, Willow Grove & Philadelphia PA
"The face-to-face time with publishers and other retailers has created several interesting promotion opportunities for my stores. I also believe we’ve been able to effect change in the comic book marketplace ---and increased dialogue between retailers and publishers will ensure future changes will be beneficial to both." Chris Powell, General Manager Lone Star Comics Dallas TX
"It was very gratifying to see the healthy interaction between retailers and our partners in publishing and distribution. A number of important discussions were begun, and I think they will lead to significant progress for our members and the industry as a whole." John Munn, Comic Book Ink, Tacoma, WA
"The contacts that I made, both within the industry and with my fellow retailers, made the trip more than worth it! I am sure that the connections that I made will prove to be invaluable assets in the years to come." Jim McLauchlin, The Hero Intiative
"I'm continually impressed at the membership of ComicsPRO. It continues to grow in number, and since Day One, it's been the leading edge and vanguard among proactive retailers seeking solutions to big questions. I'm convinced that in a few short years, ComicsPRO will grow into one of the most important organizations in this industry."
Atom! Freeman, Brave New World, Santa Clarita CA
"In my years as a retailer, I'd be hard pressed to point out a weekend where I learned, was inspired, or earned more than the ComicsPRO meeting. Every dime and volunteer minute paid off with the information, camaraderie and connections made. I look forward to spending some of the increased earnings we'll no doubt be making on next year's meeting." Joe Field, Flying Colors Comics, Concord CA
"We packed a lot of business into two full days in Vegas, we continued our quest to make a difference for all direct market retailers, and we now have a packed slate of new and challenging projects. ComicsPRO continues to grow in numbers and influence, so there’s never been a better time for every direct market retailer to join."
ComicsPRO is the only trade organization dedicated to the health and progress of direct market comic book retailers. ComicsPRO goals are for direct market retailers to speak with a unified voice on important industry issues, to provide educational and mentoring opportunities to current and future retailers, and to offer opportunities for retailers to reduce some common fixed costs.
More information is available at http://ComicsPRO.org.