If you ever visited Stories Comics on 5065 Forest Hill Ave., you know it was packed to the brim with fantasy paraphernalia. But now the space is nothing but bare walls. An undisclosed buyer from Massachusetts snapped up the store’s inventory last week.
The Colonial Heights location also closed on Jan. 23, but its stock will head to the remaining location. It’s all part of consolidating Stories at 9040 West Broad, which gained new ownership under Salvatore Filingeri on Jan. 1. Noting customer shock about the sudden closures, the Stories Comics Facebook page made the announcement: “Due to change in ownership prior notification was beyond our control.”
Filingeri has been a Stories employee for a decade, and says he was as surprised as everyone else about the closure. Some have directed negative comments at him, he says, despite his lack of control over the issue. But he continues to 'love what I do here, the people, every aspect about it," he says.
“I had a relationship with him [the undisclosed buyer] before, he was buying other kinds of our comics and stuff,” says Cheryl Pryor, who had owned Stories since 1984. “He had always told me that if we ever wanted to sell out to the bare walls, to let him know. And I let him know!”
Pryor says two tractor-trailers and a large Ryder truck couldn’t contain the store’s entire inventory. Acknowledging the massive amount of goods, she adds that the sale will work out well for everybody and save the Broad Street location from being overwhelmed. The buyer will return on Monday to gather the remainder.
Many former customers have stopped by to comment on the loss of this anchor store in the Westover Place Shopping Center. “Oh yeah, people are very sad, we’ve had a lot of expressions of sympathy,” Pryor says. “People say they’re gonna miss us in the neighborhood, being able to just come and look around, that kind of thing.”
However, plans for an exit had been in the works for awhile, Pryor admits. “I’m resigned to it, I had been looking around for options to get out of the business. Everything kinda fell together all at the same time.”
But Pryor says the change in ownership has been amicable and positive. “It was a very mutual decision,” she says. “We all wanted the best for that store. Sal’s a good guy and I can’t imagine a better person taking over the reins at Stories.”