Carmelo Chimera talks about giving his shop Chimera’s Comics to one lucky fan… it could be you!

Carmelo Chimera is giving away his comic shop, Chimera’s Comics. It’s not one of those sales where everything must go. He is giving away a physical comic shop Chimera’s Comics. I need to know “what do you mean your giving away the shop?” and Carmelo was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and let our readers know what he is actually giving away and how you can get it.

First Comics News: What do you mean, you’re giving away a comic store?

Carmelo Chimera: I am going to give away one of my two comic book stores – the inventory, fixtures, equipment, software, and six years of goodwill. But more than that, my hope is to give someone a once in a lifetime headstart to their dream job.

What I’m giving isn’t as interesting as what I’m taking away. I’m taking away the fear and the obstacles between someone and their dream. And I hope for everyone else I am taking away a few presumptions about the constraints we put on ourselves and our dreams.

1st: You’re not actually giving it away, it is more like your raffling it off?

Carmelo: This is important – it’s not a raffle or a drawing. It’s 100% merit-based. Applicants must submit an essay of no more than 500 words to answer the question “What makes a great comic book store?” I will select the winner based on their answer to this question. I’m looking for a spark, a feeling – a sense of passion and wonder that I believe will make a great comic shop owner.

1st: How much is the entry fee?

Carmelo: The application fee is $25.

1st: Chimera’s Comics is a chain, which store are you giving away?

Carmelo: I am giving away my Oak Lawn store located at 4915 W. 95th Street.

1st: What does the winner actual get…

Carmelo: The winner can have everything that is mine to give. My employees aren’t indentured servants so if the winner wants to hire them, that will be up to them.

Similarly, a condition for the winner is that the winner must obtain all the requisite state and local business licenses, an account with the primary Comics distributor, and reach an agreement for the lease. Those things just aren’t mine to give – though I will certainly do what I can to help the winner secure those things and ensure a smooth transition.

1st: There are a million questions about the actual business that someone considering starting life over in Chicago as a comic shop owner would want to know… Do you get the staff? How much is monthly payroll? Do you get the inventory? What is the inventory worth? What was the revenue from the store in 2018? Was the store profitable in 2018? What are the monthly lease payments?

Carmelo: As an M&A Attorney, it’s not customary to publicize such financial diligence without the protection of an NDA.

Consider this: I have stated I will only be giving away the store when I reach 500 applicants. If I don’t hit that minimum, but I’ve published sensitive financial information, I’ve just armed my competitors with inside knowledge of my business. When I do reach 500 and give the store away if I’ve publicized that information the winner has just inherited the same problem.

1st: Do you get the name?

Carmelo: The winner is going to have to make a choice – they can rename and rebrand the business with my blessing and 100% support. However, I am contemplating a licensing program (sort of like a franchise model) which I will offer to the winner. But it will be entirely up to them whether or not to accept.

1st: How much inventory is needed to fill the store?

Carmelo: The store is already full of inventory. I certainly think it would be a good idea to invest in product lines or specific products that the will set the new owner apart. But the shelves are already full.

1st: How does someone enter the contest?

Carmelo: Hopeful applicants can apply here:

1st: How long does the contest run?

Carmelo: The competition runs until February 28 – or until I receive 2,000 applications. Whichever is first.

The reasons for this are two: regarding the deadline, if I left it open Indefinitely applicants would take an indefinite amount of time to enter. Regarding the 2,000 applications, I have to read every one of these 500-word essays. I’m not great at math but wow will that take a while!

The last thing I want to say is this: I think we are all of us capable of amazing things, and amazing dreams. I want to shine a light on the limits we place on ourselves. It’s easy to be cynical, fearful, skeptical. It’s hard to be hopeful and optimistic and brave. But it’s worth it. And I hope maybe when I’m done I can leave a small dent in the walls we put up around ourselves.

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