Buddy Saunders turns over three stores to new owners

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201307142341 Buddy Saunders turns over three stores to new owners
Lone Star Comics, a five-store comic shop chain located in northern Texas, is known as one of the most venerable and successful comics shops in the US, with over 30 years in business. But after 50 years in comics retail, founder Buddy Saunders and wife Judy are selling three of their stores to spend more time on their busy mail order business. They’ve turned the Mesquite store over to regional manager Aaron Settle. The Hurst and Plane stores will form the “Collected” chain and be run by Brent Erwin, a long-time retailer (and also publisher of Ape Comics.)

Saunders is something of a comics legend, and has played many parts on comics history. Just google his name if you’re interested. The PR is below–it doesn’t mention the Arlington or Fort Worth stores, so I’m guessing Saunders will continue to own them.

Lone Star Comics has served as the North Texas hub of comic book fandom for more than 36 years.  When the first store opened in 1977 in Arlington, Buddy Saunders introduced comics, role-playing games, and related hobbies, toys, and collectibles to many of his customers for the first time.  Over the years, Saunders’ passion grew into a chain of stores and the largest comic retail site on the internet,  www.mycomicshop.com.  This September, Saunders and his wife Judy are turning over the reins to three of their stores to a new generation of comic fans and entrepreneurs. 

“The time is right for us to focus our attention on our online business, which grew out the mail order business I began in 1961, a time when there were virtually no comic book stores and no internet. To that end, Judy and I found two talented businessmen who want to carry the stores forward in a way that we’ll continue to be proud of.”

One of the stores will be owned by longtime Lone Star Comics Regional Manager, Aaron Settle.  “Having managed the stores in one capacity or another for 17 years, Aaron was the perfect choice to take over the Mesquite store,” said Judy Saunders, “and I know that he’ll bring his own vision for a family-friendly comic and game store to life.”

The Hurst and Plano locations will be owned by Brent Erwin, a longtime comics fan, publisher, and friend of Buddy and Judy.  “Brent’s vision of what a comic book store should be is very similar to ours.  I have no doubt that the store customers in Hurst and Plano will be pleased with the continuation of excellent selection and service in these stores.”  The two stores will operate under the name “Collected: Hurst & Collected: Plano” to coincide with the already operating “Collected: TCU” at 3467 Blue Bonnet Circle in Fort Worth Tx.

“It will be bittersweet to hand over the keys,” said Buddy Saunders, “but Judy and I want to continue working with our son, Conan, to develop new features for our growing internet business.  This change will also give us more time to travel and spend time with our family.”

“Having grown up as a long time customer of Lone Star Comics and having worked in the comics industry for the last 23 years, it fills me with a great sense of pride to know we will be carrying on a part of the Lone Star Comics legacy which Buddy and Judy have built over the years” said Brent E. Erwin.  “We plan to offer the same excellent customer service, family friendly atmosphere, and well stocked  and expertly merchandised stores which Buddy and Judy have cultivated over the years and Lone Star’s customers have come to expect” Erwin said.  “To learn more about the Collected family of retail stores please visit us at www.Staycollected.com.”

Collected’s mission to grow the pop culture industry by increasing awareness about comics, games and pop culture takes a giant step towards its goal with the addition of Lone Star Comics’ Hurst and Plano locations.  Collected hopes fans will discover the exciting world of comics, games, pop culture and all things Geek when they visit each location.

 

Comments

  1. R. Maheras says:

    Wishing Buddy and Judy the best wherever life takes them!

  2. I think the move to focus on the internet side is really great. Mycomicshop.com is by leaps and bounds the premier business for buying and selling comics. Both new material and back issues.
    The remaining two stores I believe are their oldest two stores — makes sense that they would keep those two.

  3. Buddy and Judy are some of the greatest, nicest people of comic-dom. I was knocked out by Buddy’s art for Star Studded Comics back in the day, I’m humbled and honored how he has generously helped and supported Yoe Books, best of all upon meeting the dynamic duo I found Buddy and Judy to be warm, caring, sweet, thoughtful folks. I send my very, very best wishes for the Saunders’ new focus. (P.S. collector types probably already well know and agree that their mail order business offers an incredibly vast selection of comics, a state of the art website, fast as lightning delivery and indestructible packaging that even a disgruntled postal worker couldn’t bend, fold or mutilate!)

  4. Given Buddy Saunders’s long history of trying to prevent access to mature/adult comics in the 1980s-1990s, it’s nice to see that MyComicShop carries pretty much everything now (except porn). I’ll take that as his equivalent of Orson Scott Card’s “sullen white flag.” Here’s hoping the new store owners’ idea of “family-friendly” leaves room for mature offerings as well.

  5. Jason says:

    Lone Star stores are just full of people playing role playing games now.

    Mycomicshop.com over grades back issues more than any other site

  6. Re Mike Hansen’s comment. Lone Star has always carried “mature” titles. What I did in our stores, and have urged others to do, is to limit access to minors. We still do that as do most comic retailers. We see it as the right thing to do in our community, and given that our stores have been around almost 35 years, it seems to have worked for us.

  7. Jason: I’ve sold many comics to mycomicshop.com. It’s a wonderfully well-run site. They sell at the same grade at which they buy (you can watch the listings go up and can tell by the run that those were your books). They provide scans of all books over $10.00 so that you can judge by yourself. Nothing could be more fair. I’d call it the best site to buy.

  8. Unfortunately, I was banned from mycomicshop.com. I had an order arrived damaged (packaging was damaged), so I returned it. I was told for doing this, my business was no longer wanted in the future. Frustrating for something that was completely out of my control.

  9. Mr. Saunders,

    I’ve found the MyComicShop site to be a very, very excellent website and resource. I applaud your and your employees’ hard work and professionalism in creating the best comics retail site on the internet, and congratulate you on your great success in a difficult arena.

    I was distressed by Steve Bissette’s recent posts discussing your treatment of certain publishers and their titles here:
    http://srbissette.com/?p=17606

    (The Beat link here:
    http://comicsbeat.com/kibbles-n-bits-51413-the-past-was-good-and-bad/
    )

    Further digging reveals other past tales of problems with the availability to some store customers of some “mature” product, such as Preacher, Herogasm, or certain role-playing games.

    As one of comics publishers’ biggest customers, I think it’s fair to say that your support (or lack thereof) of certain titles may have once had a significant effect on the success of smaller publishers. My original point was that, since almost all of this material is now available – at great prices! – on MyComicShop, I hope this means your position has evolved. Best wishes on your continued success.

Trackbacks

  1. […] you notice hat Ape’s former CEO David Hedgecock joined IDW in August and EIC Brent Erwin has been busy running a chain of stores he acquired from Lone Star Comics, it all adds up to a company that isn’t going anywhere too […]

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