It's been such a long time since we've last seen you all in person! As pandemic restrictions gradually begin to lift, we're looking at how we may be able to see you again soon. Currently, the government guidance is planning for non-essential retail stores to re-open on 12th April, so our current plan is that we will once again be able to offer in-store collections and shopping from Wednesday 14th April.
BUT. (There's always a but, isn't there?) We need to stress that there are many people who have not yet been vaccinated (including Rae), so there are still significant risks for us to consider. For this reason, we will have all the following provisions in place.
Having these provisions in place should allow us to re-open safely, albeit in a limited capacity! Information about how to book appointment slots will be made available soon. In the meantime, stay safe, and we look forward to seeing you (with a mask, behind a screen) soon!
Celebrate LCSD and support your local comic store with these unique and limited comics, available online at Osiris Games or in store (from Wednesday 2nd December)!
Find all of these titles by browsing the full collection at the Osiris Games webstore!
Hey folks, we hope you’re all doing well and continuing to stay safe!
We’ve been running with a booking system for several weeks now, and we’re very pleased with how well this has been working for many of you! However, we are still having days where we sadly have to turn people away because we have run out of slots, or where we are unable to get pull list invoices out due to delivery delays. We also still have some customers who just aren’t able to make it into the shop in the times we have available.
After a careful review over the weekend, we have been able to make a few changes to our booking system which should make it easier for you all to visit us!
The first major change is that you no longer need to pay for pull lists before collection, so all our comic customers can pick up and pay in store! This means you will no longer receive an invoice from us before your collection slot (unless you specifically request it). Please make sure to book a longer collection slot if you have more than five comics to collect, and remember to visit us at least once a month to clear out your pull list folder.
The second change is to the timing and availability of collection slots. Customers can now book same day collections! We have also removed the five minute window between slots, so we can see more of you during our opening times. (We will still be cleaning all touched surfaces between collection slots, so please allow us one minute after a customer leaves before entering the store for your booked slot.)
The third change is a significant increase to our opening times! From September 2020, our new pre-booked opening times will be as follows:
As a reminder, here are the things that are NOT changing:
If you need more information about a collection slot or need to book in to visit us, please visit the Osiris Games site for details!
As you will no doubt be aware, the Government recently announced various new guidelines to reduce the lockdown – in particular stating that non-essential shops could re-open from Monday 15th June, subject to assessing and taking steps to manage the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace.
To this end, we have carefully reviewed the new guidance from the Government – in particular the document entitled “Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) in shops and branches” - as well as specific guidance from the Federation of Small Business and the British Toy & Hobby Association.
In addition, we must be very clear that we are closely monitoring the scientific and medical advice, specifically the many warnings regarding re-opening too soon, and the likelihood of a second wave of this pandemic.
We have identified several key challenges to our ability to resume trading as Osiris Games and Proud Lion Comics in the current situation.
Primarily, the small size of either of our retail units will make it difficult to return to anything approximating our normal operations whilst maintaining social distancing. We will almost certainly have to continue to trade out of only one premises, as we did in the last week or so before lockdown. Yet we feel that we cannot create an environment where the general public can safely enter and move around the shop, whilst maintaining a distance of two metres apart - especially as we only have one point of access that can be used to enter and exit the premises, and we are required to limit customer handling of stock.
It will also be challenging if not impractical to have queuing measures outside the shop. Whilst it was possible to facilitate a queue outside 8 St Georges Place during Free Comic Book Day in years gone by, this was a one-off annual occurrence made simpler by virtue of the gated private car park on our left being largely used by office workers, and thus having a reduced need for access on a Saturday during FCBD. Combined with the incredibly narrow pavements on our end of St Georges Place, the public car park entrance, access to Hanna Court opposite, and consideration for neighbouring residents and businesses – we feel that we cannot maintain much of a 2m apart queuing system at this time.
With these key concerns in mind, alongside a myriad of additional challenges to address, we have decided to re-open as a Click & Collect point in the near future. This will be akin to a catalogue shop collection point like Argos for example.
We will be relaunching our webstore as soon as possible, continuing to offer nationwide delivery and are in the process of negotiating for a new shipping contract that should allow us to offer faster dispatch times and hopefully lower postage costs.
Alternatively, you will be able to purchase online (or via emailed invoice) for collection from the premises. We will be implementing an appointment system for collection slots, ensuring that we space out customer interaction for everyone's safety and leaving ample time to clean high-traffic surfaces between customer visits.
Obviously, if you or someone you have been in recent contact with is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, feeling unwell or in a high-risk category, we must insist that you do not use the collection service out of respect for everyone's safety. Please continue to follow the medical guidance regarding self-isolating, and consider having your purchases shipped to you.
We may re-implement the local delivery option we were poised to launch until lockdown nipped that in the bud, but that requires further risk assessments, so will not be an option in the foreseeable future. Whilst restaurants and fast food services have done a commendable job expanding their local delivery capabilities, we feel it contains too much of a risk for our volunteer drivers and our customers at this time.
Our initial opening times for collections will be finalised soon, but we will not be re-opening the week commencing 15th June.
We currently expect to be open Wednesday-Saturday towards the end of June (tbc). Further details regarding all of this will be made available before we re-open.
We will of course have hand sanitiser available for customer use whilst at the premises.
You can expect to see a greatly increased presence on social media as we highlight and promote exciting new releases, hot items tied to anticipated media events and new special offers. It would be immensely helpful if you could like and share as many of these posts as you feel comfortable with, as organic reach on social media is far superior to any sponsored posts (though you can expect to see a few of those too!).
We obviously anticipate no in-store organised play for gaming any time soon, which is particularly heartbreaking, but we are continuing to explore remote play and play-at-home options for the short term.
We want to thank everyone for their understanding and continued support, it means the world to us all. As things have unfolded you have adapted to our changing circumstances alongside the stress and disruption to your own routines – life has become a co-operative game again and you're all superheroes in our eyes.
Our intention is to keep trading, but continue to prioritise everyone's collective health and safety above everything else. Otherwise all of the sacrifices over the past few months will have been in vain. If you can continue to stay at home, we encourage you to do so as hard as that is, and we will happily ship your purchases to you as often as you want! For our part, we will not be bringing anyone back off furlough until we need them or have no choice, and will be looking to work from home where possible for things like our marketing and administrative duties.
If you or any of your friends and family have been directly affected by COVID-19 itself, you have our utmost compassion and sympathy. We hope the continued research by the international medical community and the hard work of the valiant medical care workers can turn the tide for good in due course.
Much love to you all.
Many of you will be already be aware that late Friday afternoon, news broke via Hollywood Reporter and other sources that DC would no longer be distributing their comic books, graphic novels and collectibles through Diamond Comic Distributors, ending a 25 year partnership.
During the US and UK lockdowns, most publishers chose to put their comics schedule on hold, understanding that printers, logistics and comic shops would be affected by the lockdown. DC were the only publisher to decide to quickly resume regardless of the crisis, continuing to publish their comics digitally and announcing partnerships with two new "temporary" distributors. It wasn't initially disclosed - but was quickly discovered by canny US comic book retailers - that these new distributors were actually owned and operated by two of the largest online comic book retailers in the United States.
As you may imagine, this didn't sit well with the mostly independent community of US comic book retailers, with a large majority preferring to not sign up for an untested service operated by deep-discounting competitors, rallying behind the social media hashtag, #WaitForDiamond.
Here in the UK, we had no choice. Diamond UK had completely locked down too - quite rightly halting service halfway through a delivery consignment from the US - and neither of these two new distributors were offering shipping to the UK. Which makes sense, because of course, they were only temporary. And in fairness, we would have also preferred to #WaitForDiamond.
Recently, Diamond started back up again, with a slow but steady trickle of new comic books. Most publishers have re-evaluated and spaced out their release schedules, ensuring that most beleaguered retailers and cash-strapped customers aren't suddenly overwhelmed by a flood of new purchases (though it is notable that DC's comics are coming through at a a pace not seen since the early days of the New 52, as Diamond struggled to catch up with the issues DC had published during the lockdown!). There was a great sense of re-ignition across the whole industry, with publishers and retailers triumphantly supporting Diamond's #BackTheComeback campaign, hints of a revised date for Free Comic Book Day, and even new publishing initiatives to help the Direct Market.
Here at Proud Lion Comics, we have been considering our position come June 15th (and we will be releasing a statement in the next few days) and greatly appreciate the efforts being made to support our industry by the publishers, creators, fellow retailers, Diamond Comics themselves and of course, all of our wonderful customers.
This news from DC is a kick in the teeth for almost everyone. Which is probably why they released the news on a Friday, when there'd be little time for scrutiny. UK comic book retailers didn't receive the email from DC that is spoken about in the Hollywood Reporter article as far as we know; it seems we all learned about it at the same time as many of yourselves, and Diamond UK who were understandably caught completely off-guard.
If you're wondering what happens next, so are we.
The final issues of any DC Comics we will receive through Diamond will arrive Wednesday 24th June:
There will be no DC titles released through any physical distribution channel on Wednesday 1st July; publications will then resume via the two new US distributors the week after.
Here's what we do know:
Ultimately, we don't know what's going to happen next, and anything more becomes speculation. We await an official statement from Diamond UK - once they've had chance to assess this sudden seismic shift - and at the moment we are trying to remain hopeful that a clearer vision of the path ahead will emerge in the next few days. We're not impressed with this decision, but we're not breaking out the Kryptonite and blowing up the Batcave just yet.
We ask that you refrain from sending in any questions about this for now, because this is all we know at present. Many thanks.