Seann’s Anime and Comics opens on Monroe StreetWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The sign out front reads “Seann’s Anime and Comics.” In more ways than one, the store’s name is the absolute truth.
Seann Eschrich is the owner, operator and, as of right now, lone employee of his new business, which opened Aug. 22. His sister lends a hand on occasion, giving her brother a lunch break during the day, but for right now, if you go the store, Seann will almost certainly be the man you’ll be talking to and buying from.
And the store’s inventory really is Seann’s. A few items here and there were bought specifically for retail, but the lion’s share of what is available at Seann’s Anime and Comics comes from the owner’s own personal collection, gathered before he ever considered starting the store.
“A lot of the comics are personal items, a lot of the figures I have, a lot of them were purchased in Japan,” Eschrich said. “Most of the movies are movies that I had. I purchased in the last month and a half a lot of the plushies back there, the little scrolls and key chains, things like that.”
For Eschrich, who has lived in Toledo most of his life, the opening was a culmination of two longstanding passions — a love of comic books and Japanese animation, and a dream of owning his own business.
“I just picked up my first comic book in a grocery store when I was younger, Batman or something like that, just read it and enjoyed it,” Eschrich said. “I started watching anime on TV and friends had DVDs.”
Eschrich’s personal collection grew, but he had never really thought of opening a store of his own, even as he went to the University of Toledo majoring in business administration. The store stands at 5442 Monroe St. Eschrich said he hopes to offer unique services for his customers, like his extensive personal anime collection, which is largely available for rental.
“I got the idea from Wizzywig Collectibles in Ann Arbor. Anime rentals really worked for them. I know a lot of kids don’t have $30 to buy a DVD, watch it once and throw it away, and you really can’t go to Family Video and find those.”
Eschrich is frank about the small number of customers his store has seen in its first week — something to be expected when you’re starting with a somewhat niche product.
“A lot of customers [who come in] just see the outside sign. I also have a Facebook page. I don’t have a high marketing budget right now to place ads or commercials. Basically, I’m just hoping things will spread by word of mouth.”
The store has a website, seannsanimeandcomics.com, and Eschrich has also made efforts to connect with local anime and comic fans.
“I’ve talked to a couple of kids at high schools that have anime clubs. Right now, I’m setting something up with the University of Toledo anime club, and I’ve been trying to talk to somebody with the BGSU anime club. So I’m trying to establish myself with kids at the universities, the high schools, becoming a vendor for them, and hopefully word spreads that way.”
And if Seann’s can gain a foothold in the community as a popular retailer among fans, the man behind it all could see both his professional and private passions satisfied at the same time.
“Realistically, I’d like the store to be doing well, and I’d like to be attending almost every anime convention or comic convention in the U.S. That would be my ultimate goal.”