Holy retail!

A new business opened its doors last week on South Main Street in Athens.

Fatman Comics and Games opened for business last Friday at 218 S. Main St., the former location of North Jewelers. Since then, business has been steady - "a little better than we thought," said co-owner Jason Blackman, who works at the store with co-owners John Forest and Ray Hoxsie.

The men decided to open a comic store for one simple reason.

"We love comics," Blackman said. "We wanted to do something that we enjoy."

Blackman said the three also wanted to give Valley-area comic lovers a local space to buy comics. Before Fatman Comics opened, the closest comic stores were in Elmira and Endicott, he said.

The owners of those stores have been encouraging and helpful, and the men have also made connections with local artists, Blackman said.

"Everything seemed to fall into place," he said.

Blackman said the men looked at some Waverly locations, but chose the Athens space because Blackman, an Athens native, "wanted to help the area out."

The three rushed to open the store in time for last week's downtown street fair, laying floor and painting with the help of friends and family, Blackman said. The space was "a shell," Blackman said, after receiving about four feet of water in last year's flood, relocating North Jewelers to a building further up the street.

The spacious back room, which they plan on using to demonstrate games, host tournaments and hold art and writing workshops, was also "a big selling point," Forest said. "It's a great, great space."

The store's inventory has started mainly with the owners' personal collections, but Blackman said new items will come in each week. The store also has a dedicated section for children's comics and will soon feature local artists, he said.

Blackman said he, Hoxsie and Forest plan to represent the store at conventions in October, one at Tioga Downs in Nichols and the other in Elmira.

Fatman Comics and Games is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit the store's website at www.fatmancomics.com.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: arenko@thedailyreview.com.