The Times’ Corey Kilgannon in his Endangered Species series reports that the comic book store Chameleon Comics and Cards on Maiden Lane closed on March 31, after declining sales and a new lease that would have brought the monthly rent over $10K.
The store was opened at the Broadway and Maiden Lane location in 1992 by Jimmy Wu, who founded what he called Comics Underground in 1989 while he was in college. He opened his first store in the basement of a mall in Flushing and started attracting local collectors of comic books, graphic novels and trading cards. Wu’s brother Steve eventually joined the business when they expanded into sports trading cards.
The Times story says the store attracted everyone from locals to kids to Wall Street types. Wu told the Times: “We became part of the community — a lot of people came here just to hang out and get away from work,” said Mr. Wu, as he hugged some of his customers. “But with a store like this, the profit margin is very low. It’s not like a Chanel store where you can make a few sales a day.” He tried looking for other retail space in downtown Manhattan, he said, “but the rents are just too crazy.”