Local entrepreneur is living the dream
“When I walked into Mind’s Eye Comics in 2018, something in my spirit said buy it,” local entrepreneur Eric Childs said of the story he now owns located in Burnsville, MN.
Childs acquired Mind’s Eye Comics, a 20- year-old business, from Andrew Troth. “The original owner wanted to retire in 2018,” he said. So, he approached Troth, who granted him an opportunity to become the new owner.
Before Childs aspired to become a comic book store owner, he was interested in drawing. “I wanted to be an illustrator. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be involved in the comic book industry,” Childs said.
He added, “Even when I was around 14, we made a makeshift comic book company.” Now, he’s grateful to make history as a Black-owned comic book store in Minnesota.
He utilizes the Mind’s Eye Comics as a way to fulfill his purpose. “Advocating for literacy, promoting Black creators—unique things I do with the store,” Childs said. “My purpose has been promoting literacy,” he continued.
He is on a continuous quest to help promote Black authors, creators, and writers of the comic book industry. “I like to curate comic books and graphic novels that are [created by] minorities.”
Mind’s Eye Comics provides a platform for authors like David Crownson, who wrote and created “Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer.” The insightful literature remains in high demand. “I bought the books from the creator and they sell out,” Childs said.
Childs noted that some competitors don’t carry certain bodies of work. “They don’t want to take a financial risk because it’s not a large publisher or it has ‘Harriett Tubman’ in the title,” he said. As a result, he is focused on diversifying the catalog of comic books at his store.
Customers have a plethora of products to choose from. The product line includes, “Trade paperback, a collection of single lissues, and graphic novels (beginning, middle and end) and outside of that we carry back issues,” Childs said. They also offer ‘collectibles, posters, vintage comics, and books.’
The most popular item(s) are offered by two well-known publishers. “Marvel. They are no joke,” Childs said. “DC is still a frontrunner in comic books.”
He added, “What really sets us apart is that we just don’t carry Marvel & DC, but also independent publishers and self-published books.”
Consumers can expect to pay $2.99-$5.99 for single issues to $150. “Most expensive book I have is from 1956, if it was mint condition $30,000. It goes for $1,700.” He also carries the “first appearance of Black Panther” that is exhibited at the store.
Being an entrepreneur is rewarding and challenging at times. From a personal standpoint, Childs cited “time management. Just being spread thin. Having to work another job” as the most difficult aspects. He added that he enjoys creating. “I work in print, 3D artist. I work on the design side.”
Also challenging the business is the COVID-19 pandemic.“COVID-19 is terrible; [we] shutdown three months. Able to open up half capacity. A lot of people have shown support.”
Although setbacks occurred, there have been unexpected breakthroughs and blessings. “A couple miracles came out of that [COVID shutdown].” Damon Lindelof of “Watchmen” TV series reached out and helped generate more support for the store. “He opened up a whole network of people and sent all these people my way. [He] also invested in the business,” Childs shared. The outpouring of support has helped keep the doors open.
Mind’s Eye Comics has a multifaceted purpose: “To enrich someone’s life—comic book shops promote development of attention spans and help with cognitive growth,” Childs explained.
He also expressed that comic books, in general, can serve as effective tools to grasp the attention of youth. “The youth are very intrigued” by the comic book world, Childs said.
Childs’ said it’s important to support Black-owned businesses “because representation and being seen is important.” He aspires to live by example and provide for his family. “When my son was 11, he was in awe, amazement— ‘I can’t believe it, it’s our store,’” Childs recalled. At that moment, he expressed how his life changed forever.
Childs also shared a message for the other young people who want to start their own businesses: “Do it; I had this expansion. Believe in yourself and always remember Christ and God believes in you,” he said.
As evidenced by Mind’s Eye Comics, dreams do come true.
Mind’s Eye Comics is located at 200 E Travelers Trail, Ste. 105, Burnsville, MN 55337. Hours of operation are from Monday through Friday, 11 am to 7 pm; Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm; and Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm. Find more info at www.mindseyecomics.com or call 952-492-9350.
Ashley Lauren is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder.