Fourcorners Comics and Games co-owners Holly Krichten and Arthur Sanchez have been selling comic books, manga, board games, cards, and other entertainment in Gettysburg for the past five years and supporting the Adams County Library System at the same time.
The couple started the shop at 42 Baltimore Street in Kritchen’s hometown in 2015. “We’ve wanted to open a comic shop for a while,” said Sanchez. “The idea of opening a comic book store was always in the back of my mind.”
Sanchez researched the area in order to find a proper starting place. “It has been a challenge since day one. You have two people who have a vast knowledge, but it isn’t exactly in shop owning,” said Sanchez. “It was kind of just a dream and we weren’t sure if it was going to work out. Every new thing that we tried was a learning curve,” said Kritchen.
Sanchez and Kritchen said they learned to adapt to difficulties and move forward from the very beginning and that customer service is the most important part of any business.
During the pandemic, most of the comic book publishers halted their publications, forcing comic book fans to wait for their stories to continue, and creating difficulties for the shop. “We’ve taken the years of struggle and hard work we’ve always done, and applied it to this particular situation,” said Sanchez. “Here’s the reality with the comic book store: It’s a lot different than other shops because we have periodicals that come out on a weekly basis.”
“We knew that if we just did something every day or tried to keep selling what we had in the store that was still available the business would not have to close,” said Kritchen. Sanchez said he was thankful tourists were still visiting Gettysburg even with the lack of reenactments this summer. “Our community is what helped us make it through the shutdown.”
Sanchez and Krichten both see the pandemic as a serious situation and have made a few new policies for themselves, their employees, and their customers. Face masks are a requirement and must be worn over the nose. The store is disinfected numerous times a day. The shop offers curbside pick-up and this service may continue even after the pandemic ends.
Krichten and Sanchez said they advertise through a newsletter and a live video feed on a weekly basis, and hold numerous giveaways. “There’s a free comic book day, where we give out hundreds and hundreds of comics for free and raise money for the Adams County Library,” said Sanchez.
Because the comic book giveaway day had to be cancelled this year, they held it online over the span of three months and donated any tips they received to the Adams County Library.
Looking forward, Sanchez and Kritchen said they do not want to expand — rather, they want to be able to purchase the current building they are in and devout as much time to the shop as possible. They would like to increase their internet presence.
When they think about their business, for which they and a part-time employee devote far beyond normal work hours, there is a huge sense of pride. “We worked and gave up quite a bit of our lives,” said Sanchez. “We have a community that supports us and we’re able to give towards our community.”