Clifton Comics owner lands on his feet in Newport

Clifton Comics & Games, a part of its community for almost seven years, has changed names and locations. Owner Steve Struharik now mans the counter of his new store, Arcadian Comics, on Monmouth Street in Newport, Kentucky. 

His current place of business neighbors The Galaxie Skateshop and Mammoth Coffee, and is maintaining a good portion of the customers who frequented the Clifton store. The move itself, however, was a complete surprise. Struharik recalls his first unofficial notice.

"Two gentlemen came in, they were looking around, and one guy was taking pictures of some of the stuff. I asked them what was going on."

One of them mentioned a demolition.

"Are you talking, like, fall?" the then-shocked storeowner recalls asking. "No," the man replied. "Next month. You didn't know?"

Once Struharik had the circumstances confirmed in writing, it was clear that he had less than the six-month notice he expected in such an event when he first began his lease the space through a previous management group.

"I had a total of about 50 days from when I heard any mention of it before I had to get out...the biggest (financial) impact is having no income for 30 days...I had no forewarning," he says. "With this kind of thing, if I only had two grand in the bank, I'm done."

Uptown Rental Properties LLC manages the property.

"Clifton Comics was on a month-to-month lease, so either party could give 30 days notice to vacate," says Johnna Mullikin, an Uptown Rental Properties representative. "To my understanding, that's what was done."

Both Struharik and Mullikin believe that the current ownership group wants to use the prime Jefferson Avenue space for student housing.

The new shop should feel reasonably familiar to former clientele of Clifton Comics, and includes specified sections for regular series, graphic novels and indie books. The upstairs space is devoted to gaming, like the Magic: The Gathering tournaments Arcadian currently hosts.

Despite the drama, Struharik, who links his love of comics back to an old TV ad for G.I. Joe #11 he saw as a kid, manages to find some humor in the situation.

"I'm really hoping to win an Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award for Clifton Comics," he says with a grin, alluding to the comprehensive application that was accepted shortly before he learned he'd have to leave. "It would be really fun to win, 'the Spirit of Retailing Award' (and then say) 'that store's closed.' "

By Adrian Beiting

Photos by Leland Schuler

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