Edmonton comic book lover expresses his sadness and gratitude after surprise news that community staple Happy Harbor Comics will be closed in late January.
Notices of welcome to social media and phone calls poured in after news about store closure spread Tuesday evening after subscribers were informed. Even an edible arrangement was released to the independent store located at 10729 104 St.
Major shareholder Jay Bardyla said they did not intend to inform the public until the new year, but when the word was out, it was decided that the public would become aware of social media.
"This news will shock most of you and because that's all, we're sorry," he wrote.
Trying to work through the recorded "new series Wednesday", Bardyla said the response from the public has been overwhelming.
"I had no idea. I know Happy Harbor does things for society, it has always been our goal, but you never know anything about what you do," he said. "Now I start to see the effect and I feel a bit bad."
The decision to close the business that started in Jasper almost 20 years ago was not suddenly for Bardyla and co-owner Shawna Roe, who has checked it for a while and quotes that it's time for new adventures.
Driving the shop became more time consuming and consequently more expensive in the growing comic book industry, Bardyla said.
"After 20 years, to go back to work the kind of hours you were when you first opened and struggled to get by, we really needed to rethink what we did and how we did it," he said. "How much do you want to fight after 20 years of struggle?"
Business was still stable for the city doctor's destination, which once had up to four places in Edmonton at the top in 2011, said Bardyla. To sell the brand did not seem to be a realistic option for the owners and let it go completely would allow other companies to pick up what they left behind.
"It's best to let things go and hope that … (other stores) all do little things to keep so much of the programs and policies we've introduced in life," he said.
The store supported several community organizations such as the food bank, the presidency, and stocked schools and libraries across the province with more than $ 10,000 in series.
Happy Harbor is also home to the country's only artist resident in a cartoon store that employed 13 artists, hosted camps for children, and held local artists' meetings to encourage content creation.
Bardyla read the exceedance of stories from grateful customers he received on Wednesday, and it was difficult to figure out what they meant to him.
"I do not know what to say to anyone but thank you. Because if they had not come to me, I do not know where I would be," he said.
The store closes January 31 with revised hours until January and plans for reconciliation celebration on January 26th.
As for what happens, Bardyla says it's time for a much needed free time, but he plans to be back with new adventures to support society.
"I can count on the number of vacations I've had in my life on one side. This has been my life, everything," he said. "I have many opportunities in front of me … I will not waste them."