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St. Mark’s Comics will shutter after 36 years

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The shop’s owner says untenable working hours, rising rents, and changing consumer habits led to the closure

Yet another St. Mark’s institution is calling it quits: St. Mark’s Comics, which has occupied space at 11 St. Mark’s Place between Second and Third avenues for the last 36 years, has announced that it will close up shop in late February.

Owner Mitch Cutler told EV Grieve that a variety of factors led to the decision. “There are a number of things that contributed to [the closing],” Cutler said. “I have been working 90 hours a week for 36 years, and I no longer have the wherewithal to fight them — all of these various reasons.” Cutler also cited rising rents and changing consumer shopping habits as factors in the closure.

The comic, graphic novel, and pop culture collectibles store launched a GoFundMe campaign in 2017 in an effort to raise $75,000 to fix the shop’s general wear and tear, and to pay back outstanding debts. The text on the campaign read in part:

As well, we’ve lasted this long because of the patience and generosity of many people, some of whom need to be paid back. We’ve been down many roads for more traditional financing, but they are just not available to us. Some of these are urgent; some can wait a bit; but without them we can’t remain competitive. We are hoping that the community with whom we shared so much, and the friends we’ve made along the way, can help keep us here.

The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, and raised just $1,201 towards its goal. A store-clearing sale that started today will last until the shop closes its doors, projected for the end of February. “Something could change, but that is our expectation,” Cutler told EVG.

St. Mark’s Comics joins a growing list of alternative shops and eateries that have left St. Mark’s Place in recent years. Others include Trash and Vaudeville, Kim’s Video, Yaffa Cafe, and Sounds.