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Comic book supplier shutdown hits struggling comic stores

YORK, Pa. – Brian Waltersdorff has been strolling the aisles of Comic Store West here since 1986. He was the store’s first customer.

Fast forward 22 years, he found himself buying a portion of ownership into the store. This past January, he bought out his partners for sole ownership of his childhood comic book shop. 

“First-year businesses always have problems. I didn’t think it would happen (here),” he said. “But here we are.” 

Waltersdorff is one of several comic book shop owners across the country who are battling an unprecedented level of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak

The restrictions on movement have been catastrophic for him – as they have for most small business owners. However, the comic book industry is navigating a different sea of change: their main supplier has completely shut down its distribution chain.

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Inside Comic Store West in York, Pennsylvania. Comic book stores face required retail shutdowns, decreased foot traffic and throttled distribution.

Earlier this week, Diamond Comic Distributors announced it would shut down its distribution network for all new comics beginning April 1. Diamond is the sole distributor for nearly all major comic book publishers, including Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Boom! Comics and Dark Horse.

On Tuesday, Diamond-owned board game manufacturer Alliance also ceased delivery options until further notice, according to a statement from Diamond founder Steve Geppi. 

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