Former Tuscaloosa Police officer Timothy Yzaguirre – the owner and operator of the online store Izzy's Comics and Collectibles – has announced he'll be expanding his business to feature a hybrid comic shop and lounge in Northport.

Yzaguirre served at the Tuscaloosa Police Department for four years starting in 2010, before going on to serve another five in Vance. In 2019, he left the force to turn his hobby of reading and trading comic books into a job.

He launched Izzy's Comics, an online retailer, first operating only out of a room in his house, before seeing enough success to turn his business into a full-time job last May.

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"I outgrew that room, and so my wife and I converted the garage," Yzaguirre said. "I outgrew that too, and now I've basically taken over the whole house ... I was looking for more space to be convenient. We prayed for an opportunity, and this kind of fell into our laps."

He most recently saw success in fundraising on Kickstarter to publish his own original four-issue comic called "Strings." Yzaguirre said the community response was tremendous, and this was the next logical step.

He said that although the online platform has allowed him to grow his business beyond the limits of a brick-and-mortar store, he feels a strong connection to the Northport community, and wanted to offer the convince of a store to people in town.

The shop will be located at 2801 Lurleen B Wallace North, Suite 102. The 1100-square-foot space is a significant step up from a 400-square-foot garage, Yzaguirre said. The entire space is currently being renovated, and he hopes to start moving in sometime this month.

The layout of the store will be a "modernized hybrid" version of a comic store, with the back of the store dedicated to Yzaguirre's typical online sales, and the large front portion dedicated to a sitting space for people to enjoy snacks and coffee. They'll be surrounded by graphic novels and comics, and Yzaguirre intends to also include a kids section to be more inclusive to families.

"There's not a lot for families to do around here nowadays. I believe comics can be a shared experience between people of all ages," Yzaguirre said. "I don't want it to be the traditional 'walk-in, buy a comic and leave' interaction."

Part of the store will function as an extension of the online shop, he says. Local patrons will get first picks on store-exclusive prints and issues each week – a feature that Yzaguirre says is critical to his online store, and a feature that will set him apart from other vendors.

"It seems like the comic world is dying in this area. I've seen four comic shops within a hundred miles of here close down in the last two years," he said. "I'm very lucky with my online business, but I want to go beyond that. I hope to make this a Barnes & Noble type-thing, but for comics."

Yzaguirre looks to move in as early as next week, then host a soft opening at the beginning of April. At the beginning of May, he hopes to use his connections with various artists and writers to pull in some surprise guests for signings at a grand opening at the beginning of May. But for right now, Yzaguirre has his sights set on the present.

"It's a lot of ideas right now, but I'm very excited to see this grow, maybe expand if things go well," he said.

 

 

For more on Izzy's Comics and Collectibles, visit their Facebook Page here and their website here.

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