Happy 15th Anniversary to Super-Fly

By | Tuesday, August 23, 2022 Leave a Comment
Fifteen years ago, I put up this post talking about how Super-Fly Comics and Games was opening in Yellow Springs, Ohio just as Antioch University -- the college in the Yellow Springs that was the primary reason for the town's existence -- was closing its doors. The school's plan at the time was to re-structure and re-open in 2012 but a lot of people, myself included, were skeptical. Super-Fly was also taking the unusual step of not stocking monthly pamphlet comics in favor of only carrying graphic novels. This was in part because Yellow Springs already had a comic shop: Dark Star Books.

Yellow Springs, if you're not familiar with it, is a town of about 3,500 people. It is well-known as a pretty affluent town, but much of its population is centered around the university. (Strictly speaking, during the restructuring, Anitoch College formally separated from Antioch University. The University still maintains a presence in Yellow Springs, but it's entirely administrative. Any references here to "Antioch" or "the school" refer to the University prior to 2009 and to the college after 2011.) While the school itself employs about 150 people and has only about 120 students, that's about 8% of the town's population being directly tied to Antioch. And that doesn't factor in jobs that indirectly support the school -- nearby gas stations, grocery stores, housing, and such. My point being that it's very much a college town.

All of that seemed pretty convincing to me that opening a comic shop in Yellow Springs in 2007 was a phenomenally bad idea. I wished Super-Fly the best of luck, but I did not honestly think the business would survive long enough to see the school re-open.

But let me take today's post to publicly note: I was wrong. It has been, as I said, fifteen years since I first talked about Super-Fly and they are still open and still going strong. They have never had a going-out-of-business sale, as I predicted.

Opening a new business of any sort is insanely difficult. Broadly speaking, something like 20% of new businesses fail in the first year and 50% within five years. Comic shops are even harder to run than many types of shops, and given the enivronment they started in -- not to mention all the bullshit over the past couple years -- being able to keep running is an incredible feat.

My original post did not go over well with the folks at Super-Fly, who thought I was dunking on them. I tried to clarify in the comments that was not my intent; just that circumstances (most of which only came to light well after their plans were underway) made things very challenging. But let me dedicate today's post, on the fifteenth anniversary of my initial one, to saying I was wrong. However justified I may have felt at the time, my skepticism from 2007 -- about the school, about their business model, about their timing -- was not borne out in reality. Kudos to the team at Super-Fly! They clearly had a better handle on the economic and social enivronments than I did, and they've done a stellar job navigating the turmoils of running their own business in a way that I certainly could not have!

Happy 15th anniversary to them!
Newer Post Older Post Home