Rubber City Comics thrives at new location

Rubber City Comics is the place to go for any comic book fans, young or old.

Rubber City Comics began in a small room inside Quaker Square, where it was called “Quaker Square Comics.” There, the store sold comic books but also a conglomerate of kick-knacks such as souvenirs, T-shirts, candy and more.

Now at its new storefront in Downtown Akron, Rubber City Comics focuses on comics, graphic novels, action figures, apparel, and other collectables.

Rubber City Comics outside

Owner Scott Malensek said there are three things that make Rubber City Comics stand out from other comic book stores: the customers, the free subscription service, and the consignment.

“We’re defined largely by the people right around us. We let the customers help evolve us and develop,” Malensek said. “And that’s where we have our focus. We’re a reflection of our customers.”

Manager Tom Hoff said the subscription service is flexible enough so that if someone wanted to jump on or jump off, it’s a quick process.

Rubber City Comics attracts a variety of age groups –from young children to adults. For these people, the store is not just a place to buy comic books and leave; many come just to hang out and speak the language. The staff enjoys talking with customers and hanging out with people who like the same conversations and interests.

“This is a destination. It’s the kind of place where people come,” Hoff said. “We have built a community.”

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One unique thing that Rubber City Comics does is host a comic fan get-together on the last Saturday of every month. From 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., guests can watch a comic-related movie as well as discuss ideas.

If you’re a comic book fan, or are interested in becoming one, stop by at Rubber City Comics for a fun and unique experience! Their hours are Mondays through Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

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By: Zaina Salem
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: blue: a Goodwill Boutique

Who doesn’t like a good thrift find? Goodwill’s blue Boutique is brand new to Downtown Akron, opening just a few months ago in August, anDSC00898d is full of great finds at affordable prices. I stopped into the store to sit down and talk with Janet Morrison, Vice President of Contacts and Logistics and Dee Gillespie, Manager of blue Boutiques.

This lovely little boutique came straight from the minds of Akron students who missed having a Goodwill downtown. When the store closed in 2000, the students were given a project to bring Goodwill back. The final projects were presented to the student’s instructors and Goodwill and that’s how blue was born.

It took years oDSC00895f working with the idea to find great success before blue found the perfect location right on S. Main. But all the effort put into the project is evident as soon as you walk into the store. The urban feel makes it fit right into downtown and it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

You’re not going to be wearing what everyone else is; you’re going to find a “different look that’s not coming off the rack…very rare and very unique,” said Morrison.

Morrison also mentions that “blue is a great opportunity to reach those that don’t typically thrift,” or find larger thrift stores to be overwhelming. Gillespie, who comes from a family of Goodwill shoppers, says it helps break the stigma that only people of need shop at Goodwill.  But the smaller size doesn’t limit your options by any means. You can still stop in and find shoes, purses, cute tops, lots of denim, and there’s even clothing for men.DSC00896

While you’re busy filling your closet, don’t forget to clean it out too. Blue accepts donations and in fact, they encourage them. Goodwill had 21,000 tons donated just last year and blue works to make sure that not only is the boutique filled with great finds and fashion, but the retail stores as well. Gillespie says they’re all “one big happy family.”

Thrifting isn’t only great for your wallet, but it’s a great way to help others. Goodwill’s mission is to help people find and retain employment. Morrison wants people to know that every dollar that is spent at Goodwill is helping their mission. Goodwill wants to help others and they want to provide a place for everyone to shop, regardless of income. Goodwill is also part of the recycling movement, and that’s why Morrison and Gillespie believe that blue has been so successful. Morrison says millennials today have connected with the sustainability movement and want to reduce waste. So when you shop at blue you’re truly supporting so many good causes. And it’s also a great place to stop in and volunteer.

Morrison and Gillespie’s goal with blue is to strengthen the community and bring retail to downtown to help create employment and give back. If you’re looking for unique finds and great prices stop into blue boutique at either location (Akron or Kent), and for more information check out their website.

By: Brittany Norman
DAP intern