Triad’s Ssalefish Comics to Open New Store in Concord
CONCORD, N.C. – The Triad’s largest and most profitable comic book retailer will take a bold step in 2020. Ssalefish Comics, which operates stores in both Winston-Salem and Greensboro will open their third and newest location in Concord. Located on 10099 Weddington Road, Charlotte, N.C., 28027 in the Shoppes at Kings Grante plaza near the Great Wolf Lodge, Ssalefish Comics’ third store will open in the spring.
At the newest location, fans and collectors will find many of the same features that established Ssalefish as the fastest-growing comic book retailer in the Triad, including a pristine, clean storefront, a bright open layout, and organized shelves. The Concord store will also feature a massive parking lot.
“When I am shopping, I like to know exactly what I am looking at and I like it to be easy to find, and it’s easy to find stuff at Ssalefish,” says Colton Sykes, Ssalefish’s former retail associate who was recently promoted to managing partner of the Concord location. “I don’t like to feel cramped, I am a very claustrophobic person, I like for it to feel open and clean and organized.”
Sykes, who is only 23, began working at Ssalefish Comics in 2018 after cutting his teeth at a comic book store in Graham. Parks opened his first Ssalefish location in Winston-Salem on 3232 Silas Creek Pkwy in 2006. The fledgling retailer grew so fast that Parks added a second location in Greensboro on 1622 Stanley Rd. Suite 118 in 2017.
When building a second location, rather than staff the store with hired employees, Parks had the revolutionary idea seek out managing partners, who would not only run the Greensboro store’s day-to-day operations but carry an ownership stake as well. That’s when reached out to Stephen Mayer and Jay Ewing, long-time employees of a comic book store in the Triad. Parks’ experiment worked. With Mayer and Ewing at the Helm, Ssalefish Greensboro has quickly established itself in a town with three other comic book stores located nearby.
“Colton made the ultimate transformation from customer to part-timer to full-timer and finally to a friend,” Parks says. “ It was a long and extended interview. I suppose we did something halfway between adoption and knighthood.”
As for the new Concord location, Sykes is ready to level up in his career and believes the town is prime to have its very own comic book store.
“The closest comic book store is about 20-25 minutes away,” Sykes says. “So I don’t see why a place like Concord that is growing and becoming a central area for shopping can’t have a comic book store and it not be successful.”
For more information on Ssalefish Comics’ newest store, including updates about the grand opening, visit their website at www.ssalefish.net.
About Colton Sykes
Like his favorite comic book hero the Amazing Spider-Man, Colton Sykes had an important role model in his life just like Uncle Ben — his grandfather Marcus Reed.
“We did everything together; we went to museums together,” Sykes says. “Me and my grandfather had the best relationship in the world.”
Sykes’ grandfather passed away when he was 21, but the life-long fan of superheroes like Power Rangers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Venom and Robert Kirkman’s Invincible will carry his spirit with him as he makes the important move from his home in Greensboro, North Carolina to become the Managing Partner of Ssalefish Comics’ third and newest location in Concord. Founded by Bret Parks in 2006, Ssalefish Comics opened their first location in Winston-Salem. The fledgling store quickly grew in popularly to the point where he was able to open a second location in Greensboro.
But rather than staff the next location with a team of employees like a fast-food franchise, Parks had the revolutionary idea to partner with established Greensboro comic book retailers Stephen Mayer and Jay Ewing, who would not only run the store’s day-to-day operations but carry an ownership stake as well.
The experiment paid off so well that Parks will take the same approach for his third location, promoting Sykes from his current job as a retail associate at both Parks’ Winston Salem and Greensboro locations to the managing partner of the Concord Ssalefish store.
For Sykes, who is only 23, the promotion from retail associate to Managing Partner was a dream come true.
“Every time I think about how old I am and that I am getting this opportunity, I get awestruck a little bit and think, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening to me,’” Sykes says.
Having trained under the Triad’s largest and fastest-growing comic book retailer, Sykes feels confident about this next step in his career. A competitive person from his days playing football and track and field in high school and college, he’s aiming for his Ssalefish location to be the most profitable of the three.
Additionally, he’s looking forward to making a home for himself in Concord by hosting events in the community.
“I definitely want to be involved in the community, because if people just think you are there to make money, then they don’t want to spend money with you,” Sykes says. “But if they see you are a cool guy and want to help the community and do events and stuff they will be more apt to spend money because you are helping the community.
“It goes full circle.”
As the manager and co-owner of his own comic book store, Sykes will carry many of the lessons he gleaned by working for Parks, Mayer and Ewing at their Ssalefish locations in Winston Salem and Greensboro. His store will feature a bright, wide-open layout with organized shelves.“One of my favorite things is when a mom will compliment my store and say it’s so neat and clean,” Sykes says. “Because if a parent doesn’t safe or comfortable, they aren’t going to go back.”
But more than that, Sykes will also carry the lessons that he learned from his grandfather.
“He taught me you should treat anyone like you would want to be treated,” Sykes says. “If you are in my store, I am there to help you.
“I just want to help and make the customer happy — that’s my job.”