By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN – Dan and Katie Merritt didn’t spend Labor Day relaxing by the grill. They spent it moving and getting set up for the opening of their business, Green Brain Comics, at it’s new location, 13936 Michigan Ave.
The business, which has been at its current location of 13210 Michigan Ave. since 2002, was set to re-open Tuesday after being closed over the weekend.
Dan Merritt said that as soon as contractors finish the flooring, merchandise can be moved to the new location.
“We’ll spend the weekend moving stuff over and hopefully open Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest in time for the week’s new comics,” Merritt said last week.
He said that the decision to move came because the Merritts wanted to own the building they used and found one for the right price that would allow them to stay in east Dearborn.
“When we started looking for another building we knew we wanted to stay in the neighborhood,” Merritt said. “It wasn’t an economical decision as much as it was an emotional decision. This neighborhood is walkable and beautiful.”
He said parking also will be better at the new location.
“In our location we have lots of space but not lots of parking,” Merritt said. “The new building has a lot more parking available in back and around the building.”
Merritt also said the new location offers more room for special events, like the annual free comic book day in May, signings with comic book writers and illustrators and events for Kids Read Comics, a group that works to connect children, teens and adults with the world of comics.
Merritt helped create the group with writer Dan Mishkin, librarian Edith Burney and illustrator Jerzy Drozd.
“It’s literacy advocacy,” Merritt said. “We work with teachers and librarians to get comics and graphic novels into schools and libraries to help kids get interested in reading. Literacy rates are falling and we have to do something to fight back against that.”
He said readers get pulled into the comics and don’t immediately recognize how much the stories improve their vocabulary and reading comprehension, but the benefits are large.
“Comic books and graphic novels are a great way to teach someone to read and inspire them to continue reading,” Merritt said. “That’s how I learned to read and expanded my vocabulary and I want to help other people do the same. It’s about keeping people interested and inspired while they’re learning.”
Moving with Green Brain with be Stormy Records, which has been in business one floor above the comics store for about eight years.
Merritt said the new location is wide enough to allow the businesses to share the ground floor, which he said will allow easier access for customers, especially those with disabilities who couldn’t visit the store because of its location.
“Not everybody can climb the steps, so hopefully this allows more people a chance to shop at Stormy,” Merritt said. “The move really is beneficial to both businesses. We’re all excited to open in the new building.”
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])