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Kapow! Comics reopens after fire, plans in expansion

 
POSTED: March 12, 2017 5:00 a.m.
Kelly Whitmire/

Andy Diehl, owner of Kapow! Comics, Gaming & Toys at Lanier Crossing checks stock in the newly reopened store.

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CUMMING -- After three weeks, local comic book fans and gamers can return to their not-so-secret headquarters.

Kapow! Comics, Gaming & Toys at Lanier Crossing in Cumming reopened its doors on Friday after a fire closed the store, meaning their customers can finally get their comics, cards and other items. Owner Andy Diehl said it was great to see everyone back.

“It’s awesome,” Diehl said. “We’ve got all the kids in here now and they’re coming in. They’re happy and smiling again instead of being sad. So yeah, we’re thrilled to have the store open again.”

Employees were not the only excited faces in the store Friday.

“I’m really happy that I can finally come back to my favorite comic book store to get some Pokémon and comic books,” said Addison Trawick, a third grader at Chattahoochee Elementary who was at the store with her dad, Keith. “I’m just really happy it’s reopened.”

Trawick said her favorite items at the store are Teen Titan comic books and Pokémon.

“We started collecting from No. 12 all the way to No. 20 in Teen Titans Go comic books and that will keep going for me until the series is over,” she said. “What I really like about Pokémon is you can battle them and have so much cool and fun stuff with them, and even collect the cards.”

Diehl said kids had been at the store since it opened that morning, thanks to Forsyth County Schools’ schedule.

“They’re just happy it was open,” he said. “Schools were out today or they were on a half-day, so the kids the first thing they said to their parent’s was, ‘I want to go to Kapow.’ And that’s all we’ve had rushing in since 11 this morning is kids,” he said.

It’s not surprising for customers to be excited, since the store had to push back the opening to deal with the impact of a fire that destroyed more than a million collectible game cards, over 1,000 video games and collections of comics dating back to the 1960s.

Diehl said he has been working with contractors, insurance companies and others just to get the store open and even had workers finishing parts of the store on Friday.

“We had a lot of volunteers that helped, and it took us working 12-14 hours a day,” he said.

Though the store is open, there is still work to be done.

“The lighting isn’t good enough in the store; we have to get new lights installed. We’ve got a lot of other things to do,” he said.

With the lost inventory, the store is also now looking for sellers.

“We’ve already informed people that, ‘Hey, if you got stuff to sell us bring it to the store. We’re going to buy it. We lost a lot of stuff — we need your retro video games,’” Diehl said.

Though the inventory may have shrunk for now, the store is expected to grow by expanding into an adjoining suite.

“We’re probably going to expand into this building and just make our business bigger,” Diehl said. “We know it can grow, we’re just going to go ahead and get the space while it’s available to grow it.”

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