La Grange celebrates season opener with Hometown Holiday
|The only thing scary than reading the Walking Dead for Chimera Comics co-owner Steven Brown, right, is the amount of customers flooding the streets during the holiday season.|
In La Grange, on a main street dedicated to small local businesses, the quiet of Thanksgiving night wasn’t a sign for trouble. In fact, the action of the holiday shopping season really starts Saturday, said Steve Brown, one-half of dynamic duo Chimera’s Comics.
“We were all hands on deck this year,” Brown said. “Last year, Small Business Saturday was better for us than Black Friday. This year, we’re prepared.”
Chimera’s Comics, run by Brown and Carmelo Chimera, is gearing up for its second holiday season by stocking the shelves with superheroes of all shapes and sizes.
“Novembers and Octobers are typically slow,” Brown said. “Until Black Friday. Then it ends up being one of your best months and it really continues until the week before Christmas.”
That’s one of a litany of reasons the owners decided to expand their product line from just comic books to include T-shirts, wall decals, games and a host of other super-gear.
“That’s one of the biggest reoccurring compliments we get,” Brown said. “People are impressed in how often we’re bringing new items into the store.”
The expansion is a sign of good things for the business, which opened in June 2011.
“So far, it’s been great,” Brown said. “We’ve upped our lease. The town has been great. We have a real good thing going.”
Brown said the store has about 200 subscribers, or people who have a comic book sent to Chimera’s for purchase at least once every month.
“We’re pulling people as far as from Romeoville here,” Brown said. “La Grange is a magnet town.”
That’s never more true than during the holiday season, said Nancy Cummings, executive director of the La Grange Business Association.
That’s partly because o the big event Dec. 1, Hometown Holiday, which brings thousands of people to La Grange for free holiday events that include strolling carolers, a baby animal petting zoo with pony rides, a bonfire for make-your-own s’mores, old-time trolley rides throughout the village and into the West End, ice sculptures and kiddie train rides.
The event, which is in its 21st year, is a way to support small businesses, like Chimera’s Comics, that make up La Grange.
“We are so fortunate to have a local community that understands the importance of supporting the small business owner,” said Ryan Williamson, president of the LGBA. “Hometown Holiday is eagerly anticipated by everyone as a way to celebrate the season and celebrate La Grange — all while giving back to the community economically.”
Aside from the Dec. 1 event, LGBA officials believe there is reason for local shop owners to be optimistic.
“The economy shows it’s on an uptick locally and I think retailers are optimistic,” Cummings said.
Brown said after having his store filled wall-to-wall with customers last year, he’s thinking positively.
“We’re expecting a good season this year,” Brown said.
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