CALUMET CITY | The owner of a series of comic book shops across the south and southwest suburbs has closed his primary store location here to move to Northwest Indiana.
Amazing Fantasy Comics, which until Saturday operated a store at 582 Torrence Ave., in Calumet City, opened its doors for business Wednesday in Crown Point at its new location, 1926 N. Main St.
The chain also has stores in southwest suburban Frankfort, Lockport and Tinley Park, and employees spent the past few days moving inventory from the Calumet City storefront to the new Indiana location.
Dave Ulanski, manager of the chain of comic shops, said the move is a return of sorts to Northwest Indiana, as the Amazing Fantasy chain started in 1978 with a storefront located briefly in Whiting.
From there, it moved to locations in Calumet City on Wentworth Avenue and Sibley Boulevard before settling in on Torrence Avenue 22 years ago.
The move to Northwest Indiana was not predicated on any one action, he said.
“We didn’t have serious crime issues (in Calumet City), but it does happen,” Ulanski said.
But he said changes in the surrounding neighborhood, along with a chance to get a larger storefront in a newer strip mall, caused him to move to Crown Point.
“The neighborhood’s a little nicer. It’s a newer plaza,” Ulanski said, specifying that instead of liquor stores as neighbors he'll have bakeries and pet stores.
“We used to have that in Calumet City 22 years ago,” Ulanski said, while adding, “Crown Point has become a bit of a nicer area, more stable.”
While Ulanski would not say whether or not the business had asked Calumet City government for any sort of concessions to try to stay, he did say, “Local government hasn’t done much to help us in recent years.”
Ulanski said that was a change from the past.
“When the first store opened up, it was in an environment where they were willing to help small businesses like ours,” he said.
Calumet City municipal officials did not immediately respond to questions from The Times. City officials are in the process of hiring a full-time economic development director whose duties would include working with businesses to encourage them to remain in Calumet City.
Ulanski also said the Crown Point location offers him a storefront about 1½ times larger than his Calumet City location.
“It’s a bigger location than we previously had, and we’ll be able to expand our product lines,” he said.