Retailer” is a monthly feature where we discuss industry strategies,
trends, happenings, or anything relevant with toy and hobby
retailers across the country. If you have something interesting to
say and would like to be featured here, by all means tell us! Please
Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles (meltcomics.com)
Monthly (TDM): How long
have you been in business?
Aguilera (ACE): We've been in business for nine years and counting.
The store opened in October of 1992.
I know you offer a real variety of products in your
store…can you tell us a little bit about the various sections?
The comics section consists of mainstream (i.e. superhero,
sci-fi, etc.) and many independent comics.
As a matter of fact, Meltdown is the largest source of
independent comics in Los Angeles.
Meltdown also has a huge selection of trade paperbacks and a
very large European book section.
We also offer a unique selection of collectible trading cards
(i.e. Garbage Pail Kids®, movie card sets, etc.), t-shirts,
posters, and an incredible range of toys that include rare vintage
items, statues, Japanese imports, action figures, urban vinyls, and
Who is your typical customer?
Our typical customer is usually an adult male who enjoys
comics for the great art as much as a compelling story.
With regards to action figures, they tend to lean toward
well-sculpted likenesses and articulation.
What is Baby Melt? What inspired this addition to your store?
Baby Melt is an extension of Meltdown that specializes in
women's clothing and accessories, as well as books and toys for
small children. We
decided to create this addition to help gain a larger female
customer base, as well as give our male customers girlfriends and
wives a section to peruse.
Has it been successful thus far?
Yes, very much so. Customer
response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Baby Melt is constantly expanding, often offering many new
items to pique interest and demand.
Meltdown has its own character in “Melvin,” can you tell
us a little bit about him?
"Mel" was designed during the early days of the
store by the well known Dan Clowes.
He also designed "Melton", the younger alien
mascot of Baby Melt. "Melanie"
was designed by "Coop" as a counterpart to
You actually offer “Melvin” products…what are these,
and what was your motivation in doing so?
Mel's image appears on numerous items such as t-shirts,
keychains, patches, and vinyl figures.
The inspiration was quite simple.
Disney has Mickey Mouse.
Marvel has Spider-man. DC
has Superman. Meltdown
has Mel. We want Meltdown to be recognized worldwide and in order to
do that you need an icon.
I noticed you frequently have in-store events, such as artist
signings. Do you notice
increased sales on these “event” days?
Do you have events other than signings?
Yes, there is an increased amount in sales during these
are always looking to have other types of events but as of yet
nothing has come up.
You also just opened an art gallery.
Can you tell us a little bit about this?
The art gallery was envisioned by independent writer/artist
Sammy Harkham and store owner
It's a wonderful way to let the independent and mainstream
artists to display artwork that may not be seen in the pages of
their comic books. Our
current exhibition, "Visions…of the
runs through August 10, 2002. Another
exhibition will be set up by our curator shorty, thereafter.
Your web page is fairly complex and informative, even
including a free space-invader type game (featuring Melvin.)
How has this web presence helped your business?
The web site has helped to inform customers and others of
upcoming events, store information, and to provide a little
entertainment. It has
basically allowed our customer base to grow to a global scale.
Finally, if you could remove one headache from your job, what
would it be?
The biggest headache is the unavailability of an item. I wish
all the cool books and toys would always be in stock. I hate it when
I have to tell a customer that an item he/she is looking for is out
of print or out of stock or is sold out.
I hate to be the guy that says that.
The fact that we cannot provide a certain book or toy to a
customer drives me and the Meltdown staff crazy.
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