Herbert W. Crandall III is taking comic books to the next level.
The 39-year-old business owner, who started Sanctuary Comics in 1997 out of a house at 750 Bradley St., has been busy since the fall gutting a 1,000-square-foot building that will become its new headquarters at 24764 Route 12 in the town of Pamelia. The building, which has been vacant for about six years, was previously Watertown Appliance and TV Center.
About triple the size of his current shop, the new location will enable Mr. Crandall to expand his offering of comic books, board games, toys and collectibles. The space also will allow the business to host larger gaming tournaments, which have been held at the shop for many years.
Weve really outgrown our shop, he said, and the new store will have a much larger selection. Well be able to expand into new products.
Mr. Crandall purchased the building in the fall. The building will get a new ceiling, flooring, roof, counters, handicapped-accessible bathroom, signs and paved driveway. Once the labor is finished, the structure will have to obtain final municipal approval. He has been working at the location two days a week while spending the remainder of his time managing his Bradley Street shop. He said he hopes to have the work finished by the fall.
Im pretty much taking a dilapidated building and refreshing it so its new again, he said, and doing most of the work himself.
The niche business has attracted customers steadily over the years, Mr. Crandall said, and enthusiasts of trading-card tabletop board games compete in weekly tournaments. Drawing crowds of 20 to 30 people, the tournaments feature popular games called Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer. He plans to add a popular historical tabletop board game, Flames of War, when the new location opens.
The tournaments have played a pivotal role in attracting business to the shop.
Now well have a space for tournaments with 40 and 50 people, he said.
Comic book fans will enjoy a greatly expanded selection. In addition to a wider offering of old comic books, more contemporary comics will be released every week at the store. With its larger offering and better visibility, Mr. Crandall said, he expects the shop to lure a larger customer base to expand his business.
Its actually two miles closer to Fort Drum, so thats a good plus for military people, he said.