"Alternate Reality" (pre-Incorporation) first opened it's doors in Chicago's
"Mt.Greenwood" neighborhood in August of 1994 at our old 107th and
Pulaski location, however our roots stretch back to the late 1970's with the
old "Comicbook Emporium". Since first opening we have strived to give our
customers the best product selection and best prices of any other store in
Chicago. Now that we're on the web that commitment continues to all our
customers across the World Wide Web!
You can also
ADVANCE ORDER items from this months previews
catalog through us at a substancial discount off the cover price. We call it
our "Previews Sale-O-Rama" and you'll find discounts up to 40% off the SRP
in some cases.
We first opened "Alternate Reality" in 1994 with our cornerstone
discount of "15% Off All New Comics, Everyday for Everyone!" It and many
other discounts and sales (Founder's Day Sales, 1st Day Sale, Sale-O-Rama
and others) have continued down to today. The idea of committing a "new"
comic book store to daily-discounting and conducting ongoing sales/specials
came about for two reasons:
First it seemed like a good marketing tool, which no other Chicagoland
store was even contemplating at that time. As many may remember, 1994 was
the tail end of the "Speculator Boom" of the late 80's/early 90's. The
general attitude among brick & mortar Chicago comic retailers was: "Why
discount something our customers can't get enough of?" My attitude was: why
do some people shop at Wal-Mart instead of Target or Sears? All three stores
carry essentially the same merchandise, and each has (arguably) the same
ambiance. Wal-Mart beats the rest because of its value; it sells for less.
So I reasoned if you make it cheaper, they will come!
Secondly, daily discounting was a good way to immediately establish
Alternate Reality and separate it from the pack of other stores that were
out there at the time. Again, this was the early ninties and there was no
shortage of competition for a "new" store. In fact within a ten mile radius
of our first location you could find over 15 comic and card shops at that
time (a number that has shrunk considerably since then). The only thing that
separated these stores from one another was their size and the face behind
the counter. So to stand out I established our "15% OFF Discount" policy
from the start. Many thought it was a gimmick which I couldn't/wouldn't
sustain past a few months or a year at most! Well it's ten years later and
here we are, still going strong.
"Alternate Reality" first set up shop in our original 800 square foot
store at 10643 South Pulaski Road on Chicago's south-side in August 1994. We
outgrew that space in a little over two years and in December of 1996 we
moved into the heart of Chicago's "Mt.Greenwwod business district. Our
current location: 3149 West 111th Street, was double the size of the Pulaski
store (1600 sq. ft) and is situated at the intersection of 111th Street and
Kedzie Avenue (one of Chicago's busiest!) Once again we outgrew this space
and in the summer of 2000 we knocked down our east wall and expanded into
adjacent storefront, doubling our size again to our current 3200 square
In the summer
of 2003 we were ready to expand again, however this time expansion consisted
of not of growth to the existing store but instead division into new entity.
In August of that year we opened our second store at 1517 West Taylor Street
in Chicago's historic "Little Italy" neighborhood. Our Taylor Street store
was 1300 square feet and carried all of the same product lines and offered all
of the same discounts as the parent Kedzie Street store. Unfortunately
economic conditions (both on Taylor Street at the time and in the comic
industry) caused us to close the Taylor Street store in the summer of 2005.
It's been well over a decade since we first opened our 800 square foot Pulaski
Road store. In fact in 2004 we celebrated a "Decade of Discounts" at both
stores. We've grown and thrived over the years because of our customers. So
if you're a regular at one of our brick and mortar locations, thank you for
your patronage! If this is your first time meeting us, welcome! And if you
find yourself in the Chicagoland area please stop by.