"Oh my God, it looks just like Star Clipper!"
|The new Star Clipper will open in April on Washington Avenue with many of the bookshelves, fixtuers and staff familiar to regular shoppers of the Delmar Loop store.|
Ben Trujillo was visiting 1319 Washington Avenue, where two long-time friends wanted to open a new comics shop, when he first noticed the similarity to his own store.
Trujillo and his wife, A.J., had just decided to close their venerated Delmar Loop comics shop Star Clipper, ending its nearly three-decade reign after years of struggling to recuperate revenue lost after the economic collapse of 2008.
See also: Why Star Clipper's Owners Shuttered Their Beloved St. Louis Comic Book Shop
Hoping to fill the void left by Star Clipper's closure, Steve Unverferth and Tony Favello, co-owners of Fantasy Books, Inc., purchased the store's fixtures for their Wash. Ave. store and even hired four of the Trujillos' former employees. Unverferth and Favello didn't have a name for their shop yet, but it was easy for Trujillo to see how this new store -- a long, narrow space with hardwood floors that had formerly housed an art gallery and a dojo -- could channel the spirit of its popular predecessor.
"I was like, 'Wow, this really does look like Star Clipper,'" Trujillo remembers.
Until then, Trujillo hadn't seriously considered selling Star Clipper's name or branding along with its bookshelves and inventory.
"Our feeling was that we wanted to take it with us," Trujillo says. "We had built it up into what it was, and we didn't feel like there was anyone who could really pick up the reins."
But as any comic fan knows, the hero never really dies. As the Washington Avenue store took shape and as St. Louisans floundered over the loss of their favorite comic-book store, the Trujillos agreed on February 21 to keep Star Clipper alive by selling to Unverferth and Favello.More »