Between the news about the economy and the negativism in this years elections (If I hear one more person in my office go off about the Gay marriage initiative, I’m going to scream!), I’ve been retreating more and more into my own fantasy world. One of those fantasies is getting out of this office of increasingly closed-minded individuals, and into a business of my own.
This particular fantasy just started as I’ve been reading about the city I live in wanting to revitalize downtown, which still has an old time “Main Street” feel to it. The city wants to keep that feel, and get more businesses that are unique and won’t compete with the big box stores that have been opening recently (Target, JC Penney, etc). Now, one of the stores in downtown is our local comic shop, where I sometimes get awesome manga deals. So, I started thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if, in conjunction with the comic shop, maybe in a shop upstairs, there was a Manga Lounge/Reading Room?
I can just see it, the walls lined with shelves of manga. Bean bags and lounge chairs scattered around; no set seating, so you can either read by yourself, or pull seats together to read with friends. In one corner is a small snack area, for soda, juice and water, and finger food snacks. Nothing elaborate or time consuming, just the things you can eat while reading (and are easy to clean up).
While the main reason for the reading room would be for reading (obviously), I can also see having other activities going on. Reading group meetings for specific genres (shonen, shojo, fighting, romance, etc). Maybe having one or two computers set up in the back for reading online/unlicensed manga, and manga reviews. I can also see setting up activities with the local library and schools for manga events and/or extra credit in curriculum for manga reviews written.
How would I monetize all this? Hell if I know. The selling of snacks and drinks could be one way, but I don’t see it making a lot. I could sell manga as well, but, I think it would be better to do that through the comic shop. Read the volumes upstairs, and if you like it enough, go downstairs to buy/order it. Maybe referrals from purchases? Not at California prices. I suppose admission could be charged, or by the hour such as is done in Japan, but that just doesn’t seem right either. I can’t see myself shooing people out after their time is up either.
Like I said, this is a fantasy, not a business plan. I really wish it could be though. It could help bring people into downtown, like the city council wants. It would be aimed at kids, who could come after school and/or on weekends. Some may need their parents to give them rides, and that could get the parents looking around downtown shops that might not have before. The benefits abound for this! Kids get a place to hang out and meet other manga fans. Parents can get rid of their kids for a few hours (admit it, you know you want to). The city gets more bodies on Main Street. I get to work surrounded by, and reading, manga! It’s a win-win for everyone!
*sigh* Wouldn’t it be loverly?