Uncle Sven’s Comic Shoppe in St. Paul’s Mac-Grove neighborhood to close after nearly 40 years – Twin Cities
Uncle Sven’s Comic Shoppe first opened on St. Clair Avenue near Fairview Avenue in 1982 when popular comics sold for 60 cents apiece, about a seventh of what they cost today. hui.
More than one set of clients met in its narrow piles, fell in love, and got married. A customer once walked down the wedding aisle with a store clerk. Interest in comics and collectible cards has gone up and down and increased again over the 39 years of sales.
The narrow bookstore closed this month, not out of choice but without fanfare beyond an oversized storefront poster of The Simpsons’ cartoon neighbor Ned Flanders waving goodbye.
“Uncle Sven’s said so long and thank you to our loyal customers, fans and the MacGrove neighborhood for 39 years of FUN, 1982-2021,” the black and white poster read.
The comic book store, a 300 square foot stash in a comic book retail sector rocked by closures and consolidations, may or may not resurface elsewhere, said Patrick Brynildson, chief executive of Source Comics and Games in Roseville. Source Comics and Games bought Uncle Sven’s from founder Ken Svendsen around 2006.
“They didn’t renew our lease for the building,” Brynildson said. “They gave us three months’ notice. Right now we don’t really have any plans to move it or not. It was kind of a surprise. It is the holiday season. We are retail. There is not enough time to sit down and think.
Uncle Sven’s longtime employee Dave Schmidt – nicknamed Colonel Dave – now works in the company’s comic book warehouse. Schmidt, a former electronics technician, began working there in 1989 when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Nobody is going to lose their job or anything, but after 39 years, I was hoping to do 50 years. It’s optimistic, ”Schmidt said on Tuesday. “I’m going to be 70 next month.”
The Blue Plate Restaurant Company, which owns the Groveland Tap next door and the building housing its two merchant neighbors, is planning roof repairs and other upgrades that will make access to all three locations difficult.
Kathy Golden, owner of longtime hair salon Curl Up and Dye, has also lost her lease and will be shutting down on December 30. She will be renting a chair at the Rouge Salon on Selby Avenue starting January 3.
“I’ve been here 38 years,” said Golden, who learned over the phone of his impending shop closure and has negotiated a few more weeks. “(In September) they said they were going to do some work on the building, and they would like us to leave by Thanksgiving.”
Golden said the comic book store is an icon in the neighborhood.
“It’s really horrible that the comic book store is leaving,” Golden added. “It’s just been two (horrible) years with the pandemic. I would have liked a few more years there. I will be asking for a refund of my $ 190 deposit I made 38 years ago. “
BUILDING NECESSARY IMPROVEMENTS
Blue Plate director Stephanie Shimp in an email said the work on the roof will impact all three sites.
“We are currently planning and preparing the necessary repairs and upgrades to our historic old building,” said Shimp. “A significant portion of our planned upgrades will require us to bring our building into compliance with the United States Disability Act and other local code requirements. The timing of our project depends on the city, the contractors available and the materials needed for the project. We will keep our guests and neighbors informed throughout the process.
Over the past week, neighborhood residents on Facebook have speculated on the building’s future, predicting an extension of the Groveland Tap or the building to be demolished for new uses.
Shimp didn’t say what might fill the Uncle Sven and Curl Up and Dye spaces, but she said the rumors on Facebook were just that – rumors.
“Despite what you might have read… we are NOT razing the building, putting 440 apartments and a Starbucks behind the wheel,” Shimp said.