After 20 years in Georgetown under various names, Big Monkey Comics is pulling up stakes and moving to 14th Street NW. “The rent just got too high,” says head manager Devon Sanders. “Georgetown doesn’t favor small businesses.”
That goes double when your small business’ lead product has a $3 price point. Chain stores and rent hikes aren’t the only reason for the move, however. Sanders admits that after years of battling bitter neighborhood rivals Big Planet for nerd-market dominance, Big Monkey (formerly Another Universe and Beyond Comics under different owners) was ready to throw in the towel. “We’ve been fighting the dragon down the street for years. After a while it’s like, why fight the dragon? Why not just move to where there is no dragon?”
But Sanders doesn’t feel like Big Monkey has lost the battle or ceded turf. “As far as I’m concerned, if they want Georgetown, they can have it,” he says. “Georgetown is a piece of dead property.”
When Big Monkey’s arrives at their new location, at 1722 14th St. NW, they will be part of a more vital community, Sanders believes. “It’s a bigger space with more things to do in a happening neighborhood,” he says. “It will be a destination spot.”
Big Monkey also plans to revitalize its approach to comic book retail—-mainly by concentrating on books. “Our new space will be more of a comic-book store instead of a boutique. There will be more stock, more focus on the comic-book side of things.”
“There will still be toys,” says Sanders. “But there will be no doubt as to what it is a comic book store.” But what will it not be? “It won’t be ‘modeled after an English bookstore,'” jokes Sanders—-referencing his Big Planet’s self-description from a year-old City Paper story about the two stores’ rivalry.