New comic book shop, cafe owners hope to help city's revitalization plans
Tales of Tomorrow aims to feed the imagination
FARMINGTON — The downtown district has become home to a new business whose owners hope to provide some necessities to Four Corners residents.
“There are things that feed us,” said Steve Clark. “You go to the grocery store to feed your body. You need to go somewhere to feed your imagination, so maybe we’ll be the grocery store for imagination.”
Clark, along with business partners Lauren Harris and Derek Lovell, recently held a soft opening for their comic book shop, Tales of Tomorrow, at 220 W. Main St.
The book shop is open for business, offering a variety of materials in art and literature — not just comic books and graphic novels, Clark said.
Though there is a whole wall dedicated to floppy comic books that will be restocked every Wednesday, the store also carries nonfiction and historical novels, as well as art books and humor writing. Harris said she is particulary proud of the shop’s children’s section.
Tales of Tomorrow will also delve into the world of cosplay — the practice and hobby of creating and donning a costume that represents a specific character from comic book literature, film or games. Clark said there will be a section of the shop dedicated to cosplay supplies, like material and makeup, and customers can also commission cosplay pieces from the shop.
The shop likely will play host to community events, such as drawing classes or cosplay gatherings, in the future, Clark said.
And the book shop will soon share a wall with the Cosmic Cafe, a bakery and coffee shop that is also part of the Tales of Tomorrow LLC, Clark said.
Harris will be the master baker, and though she said cookies are her specialty, fresh pies and breakfast pasteries will be a daily staple, along with drip, espresso and specialty drinks.
The coffee shop is not yet open — work is wrapping up on restroom and kitchen facilities, and the coffee bar has yet to be installed, but Clark said they hope to have it up and running by mid-December.
Tales of Tomorrow will feature art created by Lovell, who is an aspiring comic book writer, and other local artists and craftspeople. Clark said many of the designs at the Main Street building were created and DIY-ed by himself, Harris, Lovell and a group of volunteers and employees.
“We made some pretty sweeping cosmetic changes in here,” Clark said.
The group remodeled the building’s interior, restoring many of the original features — including the stamped metal ceilings and wooden floors — and redecorating to create a different atmosphere.
“Everything in here was painted hearing aid beige,” Clark said, adding that “it had built-in cubicles and grody '90s gray carpeting, a suspended ceiling, so really we took it back to what it would have looked like in 1925, which is when it was built."
The addition of Tales of Tomorrow lines up with the city of Farmington’s plans to revitalize a six-block stretch of West Main Street, the traditional downtown corridor. Clark said he and his partners wanted the comic and coffee shop to be located downtown “so we can tap into that energy.”
“When you speak to the people at the Chamber of Commerce or the Downtown Association or (city of Farmington communications director) Shana Reeves or (Farmington Downtown Assocation Downtown Coordinator) Michael Bulloch, they really believe in Farmington and its movement into the future, and I like that a lot and we definitely want to be a part of that,” Clark said.
Jim Davis, the owner of the building, said he planned to remodel the building after he bought it last spring and was glad when when his new tenants came to him with their renovation ideas, which included an overhaul of all the building’s pipes.
“It’s kind of nice to take it back to the way it was,” Davis said, adding that between the city’s revitalization plans and new businesses like Tales of Tomorrow, “I just hope that there’s more foot traffic downtown, and there’s a more amicable environment for people to come downtown and shop and have food and spend some time. It has to start filling in with these types of stores — restaurants and retail — to pull people back to the downtown area.”
Harris said she hopes the comic book shop and cafe will become a gathering place for local community members.
“I want to make something that Farmington can be proud of, something that some people can step into and (think), ‘Wow, this is in my town’ and get invested in it and feel proud of it, like the way you feel when you go to the library. I love the library here — it’s bright and beautiful and clean, and it has everything you need,” Harris said.
Tales of Tomorrow will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. There will be extended hours on Wednesdays, when new comics are stocked, through 8:30 p.m. The store is open from 11 a..m to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.