3/21/2013 - In 2002, Chris Proulx, his brother Scott, and their friend Brett Parker opened Double Midnight Comics & Games in Manchester with the intention of creating a fun, family-friendly environment where everyone was welcome.
“Over the years people have made friendships, relationships,” Chris Proulx said. “That’s something we’re really proud of. It’s a place anybody can walk into and not be intimidated by the world of comics.”
More than a decade later, the shop is still fulfilling that mission. It has expanded in recent years and was recognized with the Small Business Growth Award from the city of Manchester last year, Proulx said.
Hippo readers chose “Best Comic Book Shop” as the No. 1 category “We Forgot to Ask About” in this year’s readers’ poll, and Double Midnight Comics got the nod from readers.
Proulx and his brother first became interested in comics in the 1980s with the G.I. Joe storyline. They then became engrossed in Marvel Comics. In high school, Proulx became friends with Parker, who was also a comic book fan, and together, the three of them decided they needed to open a store.
“We knew we wanted to build our own brand and our own community,” Proulx said. “It’s not just about shopping for comics and games. It was pulling together events, doing things to engage people.”
It’s fun, but it’s work, too.
“Running a business is a lot of work, it’s a labor of love,” Proulx said. “The thing we remember is that when we’re working on something … it’s a business first, then it’s a hobby.”
The shop prides itself on its level of customer service. Staff members are happy to help patrons discover what’s out there.
“It’s not just guys in capes and superheroes,” Proulx said. “There is literally something for everybody.”
Community service is a big part of the equation as well. The shop organizes the Granite State Comicon every year, participates in the Manchester Christmas parade, has sponsored road races, and has regularly participated in food drives.
“We do a lot of different things,” Proulx said. “Yeah, it gets our name out there, but we’re there to give back.”
Proulx saw interest in comics rise dramatically in the 1990s, but almost like the housing market, the bubble burst. Then interest began to climb back up again in the early 2000s. In the last few years, Proulx has seen interest grow.
“Our mission is to be a place where everybody is welcome and where they can come in and discover new things, and that’s our hook,” Proulx said.