Opening the Vault
Fodale says sales have been up by double digits every year since the Vault moved to Main Street eight years ago, and last year were up 35 percent. "We kept hearing from our customers that Grand Rapids could really use a store like ours," he says. And "Grand Rapids is far enough away so success there won't hurt business here, but it's close enough for us to get to."
"We thought about Chicago," adds Curtis Sullivan, Fodale's partner and best friend since first grade. "But it would have been very hard. We'd either have to move someone there or hire someone to run it." And while there are other stores selling comics in Grand Rapids, says Nick Yribar, one of the Vault's managers, "they're off the beaten path." The new Vault, Sullivan says, will be "right downtown, just a quarter block from the Grand Rapids Art Museum."
Stocking the store with everything the Vault carries in Ann Arbor--"comics and graphic novels, board games, and designer toys"--will be expensive, Sullivan says: "We're betting the farm here." So they really don't want to miss ArtPrize--last year, the competition drew an estimated 400,000 visitors.
But can they really open a store in just twelve days?