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Sunday December 15th, 2013

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Located at 2857 Howard Avenue, Paper Heroes is the new comic book store in town.

Sticking out from other comic book stores in Windsor, the newest competitor has a room with a view.

Having opened in November, Paper Heroes – Comic Book Lounge & Collectables was launched with a vision. Beyond comics, the store has graphic novels, toys, figures, statues, clothing and artwork for sale.

Don’t let that fool you however: This is no ordinary comic shop.

“I think the two things that set me apart from the other stores in the city are my gallery and the lounge,” said owner, Scott St. Amour. “The gallery is a great place to showcase prints and original artwork from both established artists and local artists in the community. Its a great place for people to showcase their work. I created the lounge as an area for people to hangout and socialize and discuss their love of this hobby.”

Having two decades of retail experience, St. Amour is well-equipped to give consumers what they want. When his last position vanished, something many Windsorites can relate to, he could’ve taken a similar job elsewhere: Instead, St. Amour decided to focus his efforts on a hobby he’s loved for over 30-years.

With his successful showing, colouring contest sponsorship at Windsor’s Christmas Comic Con 2 and positive reactions, it appears the gamble has paid off so far.

“Business has been great,” said St. Amour. “I have met all kinds of great people who enjoy the hobby and the feedback has been fantastic. People like the look of the store and the gallery seems to be getting a lot of attention.”

Rows and shelving in the store are arranged to give it a clean and open feel. Although there are plenty of products and comic books displayed inside, the carefully planned layout ensures that things aren’t cramped or cluttered: Customers shopping for their favourite comics and collectibles won’t have a hard time maneuvering the large area.

Don’t let this fool you into thinking your visit will be boring, however. The store features unique touches like “random item from the past” and an Iron Man mask slammed into the side of the front desk.

Paper Heroes also boasts a gallery showcasing works by local artists.

As for the most unique parts of the shop, the gallery takes up its own section of the store. It has a glass wall for customers to look through before heading into the room itself. Once inside, they can get a closer peak at what’s on display — there were art pieces with subjects ranging from Batman and Doctor Who to Ghostbusters and Star Wars during our visit.

Local artists can also sell their work in the gallery. St. Amour said that they can have art on display for 30 days as long as it’s store ready. If they sell it, the profit is theirs but if not, they must come and remove it.

Set up near the entrance of the store, a comfy lounge area lets customers enjoy their books with others.

Finally, the lounge area boasts contemporary seating with a few tables. The area is a great place for customers to relax and read their newly-purchased titles. It also has a television playing comic book-related content for fast readers who finish more quickly than they had anticipated.

Beyond these exclusive elements and a huge selection, even more can be ordered in for those who need it.

“I can order anything from comics and graphic novels, t-shirts to statues, posters and collectibles,” said St. Amour. “I think as the store grows, it will be the customers who decide what other items i will carry. This business can be very organic and adaptable to meet the needs of these customers.”

As the Windsor comic book community grows, Paper Heroes has situated itself to be a part of it for a long time to come. Alongside the annual comic convention and expanding fanbase, St. Amour is carving out his unique contribution to help satisfy the masses — one comic book at a time.

Although “with great power comes great responsibility,” the owner is just happy to serve those who share his passion for the hobby he loves.

“I am just excited to put my stamp on this hobby that i have loved for all these years,” he said. “It’s exciting to put my spin on what i think a comic shop can be and to watch it evolve as part of the comic community in Windsor.”

Paper Heroes is open five-days a week: Tuesday 10am to 6pm, Wednesday 10am to 8pm, Thursday and Friday 10am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm.

The store has a comic book for almost everyone, regardless of age.

More than just comic books are sold at the new Howard Avenue store.

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