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After surviving a serious health scare three years ago, Thorold resident Mike McIntyre, 47, decided to follow his dreams.
It’s taken a lot of hard work but this month he finally opened his own comic book store Funhouse Comics & Collectibles on Front Street.
“I am one of the largest comic book stores in the area,” says McIntyre, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “This is just a fraction, we almost have 80,000 books. It’s an enormous collection.”
McIntyre owned a commercial cleaning business for over 15 years when his life got upended after a series of heart attacks.
“It changed everything,” he says. “I lost my business overnight. This is what I do now. There’s no mop, there’s no buckets, there’s no toilets. It’s unreal. I haven’t stopped smiling since it happened.”
McIntyre’s love for comic books started at a very young age.
“I struggled with reading,” McIntyre says. “I could never get into books or anything like that. My brother gave me a ‘Peter Porker: Spectacular Spider-Ham’ comic book. The love started from there and then it just grew.”
He has been collecting toys and comic books since the early ‘80s but McIntyre says that the recent popularity of comic books has been a real boon.
“Things that wouldn’t have sold years ago are now surging in price,” he says. “People want them because of the [comic book] movies and stuff.”
When McIntyre decided to pursue his love for comic books he had to do his fair share of research to get back into the game.
“I was out of it for many years, raising a family and stuff,” says McIntyre. “I didn’t know half the stuff that was out, I didn’t know the new characters, and if you want to run a successful business you kind of want to know. So I took the time to do my homework.”
To help his new business get off the ground, McIntyre has had the help of several investors.
“I have a couple of business partners that decided to fund my journey here,” he says. “My partners bought up a couple stores' stock and we went from there. This is only a fraction. We’re still waiting on the new toys to come in.”
McIntyre has big dreams for the building. He has bought 3D printers to create his own line of collectibles and he hopes to offer space for table top gaming in the future.
“The other side of this building is being turned into the spot where teenagers [can] hang out," says McIntyre. "We’re going to be putting in arcade machines and stuff like that."
To celebrate their opening, Santa is coming down to the store on Saturday, Dec. 17 between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m, to take pictures with the children. McIntyre wants to use the opportunity to collect donations for Community Care.
“I’m doing it for any non-perishable food item, toy, or cash donation,’” McIntyre says. “Everything will go to Community Care. If you’re going to have to make money off of Christmas, it’s money that you should be giving away because it’s the season of giving.”
Funhouse Comics & Collectibles is situated right behind Cosmo’s Diner on Front Street. While the store front might be hidden away from view, McIntyre hopes that local kids will soon discover the store and make it their own.
“We’re trying to do something good in this neighbourhood,” he says. “It’s been a long time since there’s been anything for children. It’s a spot for kids to come hang out.”
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