Pat Thompson couldn't yet read, but he could follow the images. Sitting by his mother as she recovered from a car accident, the 5-year-old Thompson found Amazing Spider-Man #6 in one of the care packages sent to the hospital. As he flipped through the pages, he sat awestruck by what he saw: a web-slinging superhero battling a half-man, half-lizard villain commanding an army of alligators. "I was hooked like pike," he said. He held onto the comic until he could finally read it, which only deepened his fascination. So when the opportunity came as an adult to own a comics store, Thompson cobbled together all the resources he could to make it happen—getting money from family, taking out a loan, robbing a lemonade stand, and teaming with a former employee to buy 8th Street Books and Comics.
Today, Thompson and his wife, also an avid comic-book reader, continue to share their passion for comics, graphic novels, and books with new customers and regulars that have frequented the shop for 18 years. Thompson maintains an efficient organization system, grouping every product—from more than 4,300 adult graphic novels to nearly 2,000 manga titles—in its own section. He does the same for his comics, carrying every major publisher and titles from many independent presses. A self-professed reader—not a collector—Thompson keeps issues for up to one year only, or until they start to taste funny. He's not shy about sharing what he thinks of the newest releases, teaming with an old friend Theo on CFCR 90.5 FM radio's Comic Chat with Theo and Pat every Friday at 6 p.m.
Beyond the comics, graphic novels, and books, the Thompsons also stock pop-culture merchandise that includes action figures and lunch kits, as well as costumes and magic supplies. Additionally, they also host regular Magic: The Gathering tournaments.
Slice Athletic Wear prefers to keep things local by sourcing the majority of the shop's moisture-wicking, stretchable workout clothing from Canada-based companies. The clothier fosters a close relationship with its suppliers and manufacturers to curate a collection that offers a range of fits for all body types and activities. Customers of any fitness level or preferred activity can find an outfit that fits their needs, such as shirts that help skin breathe during intense workouts or form-fitting jackets that keep the chill away when gyms forget to pay their gas bill.
When Tracy and Derek opened Zippity Zoom Toys in 2009, they pinky swore never to sell "junk." The child-savvy couple hand selects each toy that gets shelved at their store, exercising a special fondness toward classic toys that never become passé with kids. Open seven days a week, Derek and Tracy believe that in an age of smartphones and other high-tech "adult playthings," a trip to the toy store should also delight grownups, since encountering a timeless toy can transport them back to childhood without pedaling a Big Wheel fast enough to open a time portal.
Coteau Books makes a home for Canadian writers’ words with their nonprofit co-op press, which publishes a wide range of opuses for all ages and focuses primarily on writers from Saskatchewan and the prairie provinces. The press began in Moose Jaw in 1975 as a channel for Saskatchewan poetry and gradually grew to encompass several genres for adults and children. Many of their featured titles have earned awards and nominations throughout the years, such as A Song for Nettie Johnson, a collection of short stories which won the Governor General’s Award in fiction in 2002. Coteau publishes first-time authors every year in addition to established Canadian scriveners, keeping the local literary scene fresh without hermetically sealing successful writers for preservation. Page-turners for children and teens captivate young and maturing minds with modern fiction such as Pelly, the story of a recently-relocated girl and her pelican friend, and historical fiction such as Full Steam to Canada, which is set at the turn of the 20th century.
Planning a wedding is rarely easy—everything from the ceremony to the reception requires a series of nuanced decisions. Yet Debra Dee Weddings takes some of the stress out of planning by helping brides and bridal parties feel confident about one important choice: how they'll look on their big day. In the boutique, racks brim with gowns and dresses by lines such as Mori Lee, Jade Daniels, and Alfred Sung to ensure that everyone from the bride to the flower girl finds flattering formalwear.
To keep the sheer volume of styles from overwhelming, the staff works with each visitor to assemble an ensemble. After taking measurements, assistants find the right style in anything from silk to satin before ordering a supportive, custom-fit gown. And since brides need more than just a dress, Debra Dee Weddings outfits them with everything from shoes and purses to jewelry and headpieces. Special-occasion gowns are also available for graduations or formal events so that gals can make a stunning entrance without blaring "The Final Countdown" from their boom box.
At Bodacious Bustlines Bras and Lingerie,visitors browse delicates from Chantelle Bras, alongside bustiers and corsets by Shirley of Hollywood and VX Intimates. The shop's team specializes in custom fittings, too, ensuring that bras fit properly for their full lifetime. The shop also has a referral program, and runs a bra recycling program.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Groupon is celebrating an inspiring group of women: business leaders whose companies and brands enrich their communities. Thanks to the dedication and ingenuity of these leaders, local communities across the country are stronger and more diverse.
Shop the Women in Business collection.