Star Clipper Returns: Comic Shop Resurrects With New Downtown Location, Owners

Categories: Bidness

Jennifer Silverberg
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.
"Oh my God, it looks just like Star Clipper!"

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.

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Is Target Opening a St. Louis Store Across from IKEA, Or Nah?

Categories: Bidness

The CityTarget store in Seattle, Washington.
Business leaders say there's no truth to the news that Target is opening a new location near St. Louis' long-awaited IKEA store, but the bloggers who broke the story say they're sticking to it.

NextSTL, the urban-affairs blog that originally broke the news IKEA was coming to St. Louis, reports that Target has signed a letter of intent to build a CityTarget in the Cortex technology and innovation district, near where IKEA is under construction. There are only eight CityTargets (like a slimmed-down, Walgreens-style Target) in the country.

See also: IKEA is Coming: 5 Businesses St. Louis Will Freak Out Over Next

"The St. Louis CityTarget will be located at the northwest corner of Forest Park and Vandeventer avenues in midtown," Geoff Whittington reports for nextSTL. "This is directly across the street from the new 380,000 square foot Ikea currently under construction."

The CityTarget wouldn't sell large furniture, like its neighbor IKEA, and construction starts in 2016, Whittington reports.

But Cortex says the news about Target is bunk.

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I-K-E-A Letters Get Installed Today on New St. Louis IKEA Store

Categories: Bidness

IKEA is scheduled to open in St. Louis later this year.
It's been almost a year since a flatbed truck carrying the giant yellow letters I, K, E and A through town reignited St. Louis' IKEA fever.

Alas, the twelve-foot letters were destined for Kansas City's store, which opened in September, and not for the Lou, where construction officially began in June.

See also: Sorry, St. Louis, Those I-K-E-A Letters Were A Total Fake Out

Now St. Louis is getting its own I, K, E and A -- for real this time.

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Uber: Thousands of St. Louis Drivers Have Already Applied for Rideshare Work

Categories: Bidness

UberX isn't legal in St. Louis, but the company says drivers are still applying for rideshare jobs.
St. Louis remains one of the largest metropolitan cities that bars ridesharing businesses. But that hasn't stopped drivers here from applying for jobs with one of ridesharing's biggest names: Uber.

Four months after Uber rolled out Uber Black, its app-based black car service staffed by already-licensed livery drivers, the company says thousands of St. Louisans have already applied for its rideshare service -- even as the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission shows no sign of allowing the business model here anytime soon.

See also: Uber Rolls Out in St. Louis, Officially Launches Uber Black

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South Broadway Athletic Club Wrestles With Possible Closure

Categories: Bidness, Sports

Lindsay Toler
Is South Broadway Athletic Club down for the count?
For more than a century, the South Broadway Athletic Club has been a haven for St. Louis' ring-hardened wrestling fans.

World Wrestling Entertainment's Randy Orton got his start here, along with a host of chair-smashing, head-bashing, pile-driving amateur wrestlers who've become local heroes to the regulars who come to the club's monthly wrestling nights for the dropkicks and cheap booze.

But after decades of declining membership drained the club of revenue, organizers say South Broadway could be down for the count.

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Why Star Clipper's Owners Shuttered Their Beloved St. Louis Comic Book Shop

Categories: Bidness

Jennifer Silverberg
Star Clipper sets sail for the great beyond.
In the world of mainstream superhero comics, death is nothing more than a marketing ploy. Publishers announce the demise of a major character, spin a few months of hype into increased sales and then release the all-important issue that delivers the end of the hero's journey. A couple months later the hero returns to life hale and hearty, with the added bonus of yet another number-one issue to spike sales.

For Star Clipper, there is no miraculous regeneration in the near future, no alternate dimension from whence the shop will emerge stronger than ever just in time to celebrate another Free Comic Book Day. After 27 years in business, the beloved Delmar Loop institution will close its doors sometime in February. The announcement arrived January 15 via Star Clipper's Facebook page and quickly rippled out through the St. Louis comic community. Long-time customers and fans couldn't believe the news. Their favorite store closing? Why?

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The 3 Stages of Mourning the Loss of Star Clipper

Categories: Bidness

Theo Welling
RIP Star Clipper.
The announcement that venerated comic book shop Star Clipper is closing for good sent a shockwave of despair throughout St. Louis yesterday, hitting longtime collectors and casual comic fans alike.

For St. Louis' large community of geeks and nerds (and Daily RFT uses those terms with great affection), Star Clipper was more than just a place to stop by on Wednesdays for the latest issues. It was a community drawn together at artist signings, ladies' night and the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration to discover works from mainstream creators as well as up-and-coming local authors.

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St. Louis IKEA Roof to Hold Missouri's Largest Rooftop Solar Power Installation

The roof of St. Louis' IKEA store will be almost entirely covered in solar panels, making it the largest solar power array in Missouri.
Missouri's first IKEA store will also have Missouri's largest rooftop solar panel array.

With 4,085 solar panels, the furniture retail giant will produce about 1,780,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, offsetting the St. Louis store's carbon dioxide emissions by 1,227 tons, equivalent to the emissions of 258 cars.

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Cherokee Street Businesses Band Together to Save Sweet Shears Hair Salon

Categories: Bidness

Lindsay Toler
Sweet Shears on Cherokee Street.
Angela Lee wanted to see Cherokee Street for herself.

It was 1994, and Lee was cutting hair on South Grand when a client told her about the up-and-coming business district. She remembers taking an hour off on a Saturday, a very busy day for hairdressers, to visit Cherokee Street and see if it was the kind of place she could do businesses.

Twenty-one years later, her shop Sweet Shears Barber and Beauty Salon is a staple on Cherokee Street, serving three generations of clients who drive in from all over St. Louis County and southern Illinois.

"I'm a cornerstone business," Lee tells Daily RFT. "I've been here for the community. When there wasn't anyone else on Cherokee, I was here faithfully."

Now Lee risks losing the shop she and her family built from scratch. After negotiations with her landlord stalled, she needs $7,800 to pay back-rent by the end of January or she'll be evicted.

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IKEA St. Louis Takes Shape as Installation Begins on Blue Exterior Walls

Categories: Bidness

Workers start putting up the blue walls of St. Louis' future IKEA store.
St. Louis' future IKEA store hit a construction milestone this week.

Now that the steel framing is up on the 380,000-square-foot store along I-64 at Vandeventer Avenue, the Swedish furniture retailer is installing the recognizable blue paneling along the walls. IKEA's architectural style is famous for implementing blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag.

IKEA says the installation of the blue panels ensures that the store will be ready for its projected opening date in fall 2015.

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