BURNSVILLE, Minn. — A Burnsville comic book store is making history, as one of the only Black-owned stores of its kind in Minnesota.
Owner Eric Childs credits “an army of fans” with saving it during the height of the pandemic.
“I just put it in God's hands because I really didn't know how to get out of this situation," Childs said during a 2021 interview with KARE 11, as he looked back at COVID-19 shutdowns that forced businesses across the country temporarily close their doors.
"Honestly, we are still standing because of all the people who shop here and support the store," he said.
Eric Childs became owner of Mind’s Eye Comics in 2018. From there, he set out to curate a comic book store that brought Black history to the next generation.
In 2020, as the world's eyes were on Minneapolis after George Floyd’s murder and the aftermath that followed, he credits fans of the mission for saving his business.
“How does it feel to have that recognition, going into a field where there aren’t many people who look like you?" asked KARE 11's Charmaine Nero.
"Honestly, initially I didn’t even think about that. Someone actually told me, 'I think you’re the only Black-owned comic book retailer,' and then it came up in a conversation when they found out I advocate for literacy and I carry Black history in graphic novel format 24/7," said Childs.
Childs transitioned from creating 3D computer animations to fulfilling a lifelong dream. "Early on, I wanted to make comics myself personally, and I wanted to own a comic book shop and I didn’t think that would ever happen," said Childs.
He remembers the first time his son walked inside his shop. "My son just looked shocked, and I looked at him and I asked what’s going on and he said, 'I just can’t believe this is our store,'" said Childs.
Now, he’s working to inspire others, while uplifting Black voices and images inside his store year round. "It's about seeing yourself in a specific area, or arena, to even understand that you can participate," he said.
When it comes to the future of his shop: "Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?" asked KARE 11's Charmaine Nero.
"Lots of positive things going into 2022," said Childs. "I'm excited, and the pandemic does make things difficult on the business front, but I am very optimistic.”
Childs says he’s planning on expanding his business to a larger location while offering an online shopping option by the end of January.
The comic book store issues new releases every Wednesday.
Watch more Behind the Business:
Watch all of the latest stories from Behind the Business in our YouTube playlist: