HONOLULU (KHON2) — After more than 30 years of being tucked away in Kaimuki, Gecko Books and Comics marked its final chapter on Oct. 16.
Like many local businesses, this long-time landmark fell victim to the pandemic.
“I’ve been on this block since 1987,” said owner Ted Mays.
For 34 years, Mays has been the go-to for comic books, memorabilia and hobby specialty items. But after more than three decades at the corner of 12th and Mahina Avenue, it is time to close up shop.
“A lot of people were in denial for sure,” he said. “But I think they thought I was gonna do this forever.”
Mays said that his decision to close is a result of a lot of things, from the rising cost of doing business in Hawaii to not seeing his family in a long time. However, he said that the second shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic is what ultimately did him in.
“The second shutdown with a 48-hour notice was probably the last nail in the coffin, where I just realized we just took a huge huge financial loss,” said Mays.
News of the shop’s closure quickly spread and loyal customers showed up to show their support.
“I came like three times in the last week or so,” revealed customer Bryan Perry. “Just kinda taking it all in, I guess you can say.”
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll lay off on collecting these for a little while actually to tell you the truth,” said another customer Ron Schmidt. “I don’t know if I really want to go anywhere else. We’ll see.”
“We sell a lot of entertainment that distracts people from their daily problems and cheers people up, makes people happy,” Mays said.
For Mays, what comes next will likely be more time with family. He said that his daughter lives in the mainland and that he hasn’t seen her in a while. As bittersweet as the closure was for so many who loved the shop, maybe the next step is best described by the late and great comic book man himself: Stan Lee. Excelsior!
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