From the look of Mythical Mountain, you wouldn’t know we’re in the throes of a novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re having a really good year,” says Kathy Dellaire, who with husband Jamey owns two comics and collectibles stores in the Jacksonville, Florida area. “I don’t know if it's a coincidence or a turning point in our business, but we are definitely having just a fantastic year.”
Mythical Mountain grew out of Jamey’s love of comics and collectibles. The former fence contractor and his travel agent wife opened their first store in 2014 and launched a second one in 2018.
Their superpower is leveraging social media, reaching out to customers through Instagram and Twitter. On Facebook, they hold “claim sales,” featuring products in a live video stream that the first person who claims can buy. It’s like an auction without the bidding, hosted by two friendly, knowledgeable employees, Tony and Steve, who’ve become minor online celebrities.
Mythical Mountain also hosts events, such as Mandarin Mini Con, a biannual pop culture fair featuring local vendors, food trucks, performances, music and a cosplay contest.
It hasn’t always been upbeat. Kathy and Jamey had to lay off their staff in April, when the state of Florida issued a stay-at-home order. During the month-long shutdown, Mythical Mountain focused on buying merchandise, selling more online and offering curbside pickup. When they reopened, Kathy and Jamey were able to bring their people back and have since added two more employees for a total of six.
“We hire really good people. Our employees are amazing. They want us to succeed, knowing if we do, they will, too,” says Kathy. “We don’t want to feel like the business is successful because of me and Jamey. If we were to walk away, we’d want the business to continue to be successful.”
Mythical Mountain store displays are neatly organized by category. Whenever possible, Q-Figs and other characters are shown unboxed, so that customers can examine the details and paintwork. A display at the front of the store dedicated to new products always draws extra attention.
To grow, Kathy says she and Jamey put everything they can back into the business. They go to New York Toy Fair to meet with vendors and find out what’s coming out. They listen carefully to what their customers want.
And it’s all paying off. “It’s been such an unpredictable year,” says Kathy. “But things are really going well, and we expect to have a very good holiday season.”