Gryphon Comics: A Community Icon In Jeopardy

The comic/coffee shop that has been a social touchstone of Fort Collins is now in danger of closing without help from the community.


Payton Perkins

The homey atmostphere of Gryphon Comics is helped by the abundance of space for people to meet, chat, and get food from the cafe inside.

Payton Perkins, Editor

Walking into Gryphon Comics, the couches, usually occupied by someone on a laptop or a group of friends talking, greet you. If you go further in, the comic shop and back rooms are decorated with art for sale. The drinks are named after fictional characters, you can rent out games to play, and you’ll occasionally hear a shout of triumph from a DnD player rolling successfully in a back room. Gryphon is a haven for the quirky, nerdy, or unusual, but this unique comic shop may be facing closure without enough donations from the community.

On October 14, the Gryphon Games and Comics Cooperative will be voting to buy the store. The goal is finding 30 investors to invest $1,000 each, or the store will begin closing due to debt incurred from a location move in 2015.

“We had a lot of financial struggles when we moved here,” Sherman Sanders, who founded the store with his wife Liana Sanders in 2005, said. “And even though we’ve gotten the store into an okay place, it’s never gonna catch up with the debt that it took to get here.”

“I don’t really have another place that I like to go to,” Christina Miller said. She’s been going to Gryphon since middle school, usually to play DnD with her friends. “I’m not sure what’s gonna happen when it’s gone, and I don’t want it to be gone.”

“If you ask me, [Gryphon] is one of the most important places in Fort Collins for me,” said Corin Wheeler. “I just love coming here; I love the atmostphere here. I think it would be cool if Gryphon could stay around for that.”

I don’t know another place like this.”

— Corin Wheeler

“There’s a lot of struggles in the industry,” Sanders said. “Online retail has made things extremely challenging for a lot of businesses; any kind of book business is a major part of that. The comic industry and the game industry is something Amazon and other retailers have been very aggressive about–heavily discounting. There’s times where we can get stuff cheaper from Amazon than we can get it from distributors.”

“Growing up I played a lot of games,” Sanders said. “A lot of DnD. And I moved around a lot, and a lot of my social interaction outside of school was finding people to play games with. I kinda grew up with games stores as a hub for myself, as kind’ve a social way to find people, and I wanted to share that experience with other people.”

“For some people, it’s part of their weekly routine; for other people it is a major part of their routine,” Sanders said. “I hate to see that disappear for anybody. I also hate to see it change for people who haven’t even found us yet, because I know that we constantly get kids in and stuff–people who are brand new to what it is we do here. Pokemon is an obvious one; we get Pokemon kids every week. They’re finding that group of kids who are interested in the same stuff they’re interested in. That’s an important outlet for a lot of kids.”

“I see enough change in our industry that I don’t think solely that retail store/coffee shop is the future of this business,” Sanders said about the future. “I do believe that more community outreach, more community involvement, is gonna create a stronger community and stronger business.”

“That is not something you can buy on Amazon. You cannot put 50 people in a room and have them play a game,” Sanders said about why he is hopeful for the store’s future.

If you are interested in learning more about the possibility for investing, visit the Co-Op website here.