A comic book store in Cumming is expecting to reopen this week after losing more than a million collectible game cards and over 1,000 video games in a recent fire.
On Thursday morning, the Forsyth County Fire Department responded to a call of a fire in the back room of Kapow! Comics, Gaming & Toys in the Lanier Crossing Shopping Center.
“We know our backroom at some point between 11:30 at night when we left and 5 o’clock in the morning when we got a call [that] it caught on fire,” owner Andy Diehl said.
Diehl said they suffered significant losses, including more than 1,000 video games and stock including statues, cards and game systems.
“Extra inventory was back there; our online store was back there. To the tune of Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon cards, about a million, million-and-a-half cards [were lost],” he said. “Multiple systems that just needed to be wrapped and put on the shelf were back there, several computers, stuff like that …
“We lost 55-60 percent of my inventory.”
Luckily for customers, the store is planning to reopen before new comics hit the shelfs.
“They’re telling me hopefully by Wednesday I can have the doors back open,” Diehl said. “When new comics come out on Wednesday [the industry’s day for new comic arrivals], we’ll have the new issues here.”
No cause has been determined for the fire, which was largely doused by the time firefighters arrived.
“The sprinklers did their job and the fire department came in and made sure all the smoldering stuff was out and put out, so they came with their hoses and finished the job the sprinklers started,” Diehl said. “Now we have a clean-up crew in here. They’ve got to tear the ceiling grid down — completely tear the ceiling grid down — because it is smoke damaged.”
Long-time customer Mike Raza said he has been collecting comics for years and appreciates the selection at the store.
“These are great people, and this is a fun store, so I’m glad to see them working on staying open,” he said.
Allie Dean — a reporter with Forsyth County News’ sister paper, Dawson County News — said she had only visited the location once but that it stuck out to her.
“I was really struck by the community that was in there,” she said. “They had tables in the back where people were playing every nerdy game you could think of, and it just struck me as a safe, fun place for people to go.”
While the store’s Diehl was speaking with the Forsyth County News, customers continued to arrive and ask about the store and offer condolences. He said the community support has been appreciated.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “Where else are they going to go? We are the comic book store in Cumming, Georgia.”