The Kickstarter campaign reached its goal and beyond! Our backers raised $17,171 to move and remodel Illusive Comics' new home.
Everybody dance now!
You can see lots of photos of our progress in our Kickstarter updates.
We plan to move to the new location completely over the weekend of August 6-7. It's really happening, you guys! The thing is happening!
This Illusive Kickstarter has a short duration - just 18 days - so get in quick to support the store and grab the best rewards!
After many years of tremendous success and love on El Camino Real, Illusive is changing locations. Lock, stock, and monkey barrel. This is not our choice, but we accept the challenge.
In January of this year, we started negotiating for our next 5-year Lease Option. Negotiations started downhill, and soon went into the sewer. I was encouraged to delay negotiations until May. I was told my proposed rent pricing was way too low. All supporting documentation I had was rejected by the landlord for spurious reasons.
Our lease clearly lays out the process for Option negotiations. We followed the process exactly. The landlord did not and he objected to the appraiser we hired. He then threatened to sue us if we hired an arbitrator to appoint a third appraiser. And he told us we had to agree to their new rent pricing, which would double our present rent.
Our attorney advised that a lawsuit would cost $30,00-50,000 and then, if we won, we'd be stuck with a landlord that clearly doesn't value us or treat us well.
Then the landlord started remodeling our shopping center. Relations got much, much worse with him. He clearly showed he wanted us gone. He said that our line of customers on Free Comic Book Day broke our lease by "staging an event outside the premises". We were told to vacate the premises by December 31.
So we were forced to make the very difficult decision to leave our home at 2725 El Camino Real, Suites 104 and 105. The search began.
I looked from Sunnyvale to San Jose, from Los Gatos and Campbell and back to Santa Clara for an affordable space that is at least as large as our current site. I didn't want to step on the toes of any of our competitors. Because we Don't Do That. I did not want to abandon my customers, with whom I have worked so hard to build a thriving community in Santa Clara.
Negotiations with a few different locations failed to work out for various reasons. I was getting increasingly stressed out and worried.
Then fate intervened, as she often does.
June 1st, the day of our 9th Anniversary, I got a call from a friendly realtor, Lisa Gillmor, who also happens to be the current Mayor of Santa Clara. Her office had been doing me a favor by looking at one of the leases I wanted to negotiate. Then Lisa told me of a vacancy in her business park. I raced over to see it.
Two miles down El Camino, towards San Jose, between Benton and Homestead is Franklin Square. One side is Monroe and the other is Jackson, where the city's Farmer's Market is held every Saturday.
Our current location has around 2000 square feet.
This new space at 1270 Franklin Mall has 3720 square feet. Yeah.
It used to be a beauty school, so a lot of remodeling is needed. We have estimates from contractors, and they can begin work at the end of June.
The new space will have a large and small rooms for Art Classes, Meetups, Gaming, and the like. We already have two art teachers who want to run classes and a model for live-art sessions. If you have meetups, classes or things like that you want us to consider for September and beyond, do let me know.
And here's the kicker: the present landlord's construction came to a halt because they need physical access to the interior of our store to continue the remodel. We told them in order to violate the lease like that they'd have to pay us a settlement for how bad the construction has been for business, reduce our rent, AND let us out of our lease early without penalty.
They didn't give us exactly what we asked for, but they gave enough. The shop will be moving mid-end of August.
We will run a Kickstarter soon to help pay for the remodeling costs.