Zimmie’s Comics, a former longtime fixture of Downtown Lewiston that was once widely regarded as one of the premiere comic and graphic novel stores in New England, celebrated its official grand “re-opening” recently among family, friends, and dedicated clientele.
Located in the same space at 197 Main Street that it occupied from 1999 to 2009, the store is now under new ownership, with Daniel Bailey managing day-to-day operations and original store founder Joe Loubier serving as his co-owner.
The opportunity to run a well-established brand specializing in comic books, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, role playing and board games, dice, collectibles and apparel presented a unique opportunity for Bailey.
“I first walked through the doors of Zimmie’s Comics as an eighth-grader,” said Bailey. “From that moment on, I’ve always wanted to operate my own comic store. Now I’m fortunate enough to operate one of the most recognized names in New England, the very same store and location that I trained in while I was in high school.”
Founded in 1990, Zimmie’s Comics first opened in a small 500 square-foot location inside the Lewiston Mall. As the company grew in size over the years, so did the store’s notoriety, as professional artists occasionally incorporated the Zimmie’s logo into their stories for established comic books, including the Incredible Hulk #457 and Evil Ernie #6.
“During our prime, we had over 1,000 subscription customers, more than 30,000 back issues in stock, the largest selection of graphic novels and trade paperbacks in Maine, and served as a drop-off location for CGC Comics – the most trusted comic book grading service in the nation,” said founder and original owner Joe Loubier. “When we closed our doors in 2009, we were widely considered one of the finest comic book and pop culture stores north of Boston.”
In the preceding four years, the company’s finances became strained by the burden of trying to keep a second, struggling new business venture, to whom the original company had pledged assets, afloat. By the middle of 2009, many of the store’s suppliers declined further credit, resulting in the closure of both businesses.
Before that happened, however, Bailey, a Lewiston native and graduate of LHS and USM, spent his high school and college years working and volunteering at the shop, learning the nuances of customer service and how to make a store succeed.
“What always intrigued me about Zimmie’s was that it was the only store where you could get a Star Trek costume (complete with phaser and communicator), the latest Superman comic book, and a vintage 1964 James Bond key ring – all in the same visit,” said Bailey. “There is something inherently entertaining about a store that presents that kind of opportunity. It may take some time to get the store back to that level, but it’s my goal to have that kind of representation here.”
Offering a customer rewards program for frequent buyers, professional comic book grading through CGC Comics for insurance purposes, and in-house grading and collection appraisals for comic books and vintage toys, Bailey knows his shop isn’t just for kids.
“This alternate-reality experience is an expensive hobby,” said Bailey. “The shop will of course be appropriate for children, but our core audience will be the 21 to 45 demographic who have truly embraced this kind of culture.”
Zimmie’s Comics is open Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information, call (207) 783-4450 or find them on Facebook at “zimmiescomics”.