EVERETT — Everett Comics owner Charlie Knoedler sees Funko’s big move as being a positive even though it might mean some direct competition.
He and his wife, Tracy, own the shop at 2831 Wetmore Ave. across the street from the new headquarters of Funko, the toy and collectible manufacturer.
Funko has already moved dozens of office workers to its new location in the old Bon Marche building, and the company plans to open a 6,000-square-foot flagship store and interactive museum this month.
Everett Comics has come to rely more and more on selling Funko’s Pop! figures and other products.
“We’ve already tapered off what we would order long-term with them until we know how it’s going to affect us,” Charlie Knoedler said. “It could have the opposite effect. It could spike sales.”
About 15 to 20 percent of store sales come from Funko products, Tracy Knoedler said. “For a small business, it’s a big deal,” Tracy Knoedler said.
Funko CEO Brian Mariotti met with the Knoedlers last year to tell them about the move before he announced it publicly. He also told them that he wanted to work with them.
The company is being tight-lipped on the new store and museum. Funko is planning a grand unveiling with food trucks, giveaways and photo opportunities later this month.
“We certainly do hope that our store, which opens August 19th, will be a draw for downtown Everett and increase the foot traffic to the surrounding businesses,” said Mark Robben, Funko’s director of marketing, in an email. “We ultimately believe the Funko HQ will be a great addition to the local business community.”
Charlie Knoedler started Everett Comics in dowtown Everett 34 years ago. He was a comic fan before he went into the Air Force and had a family.
“One day, while buying diapers at the grocery store, I walked past a spinner rack and there were comics there,” he said. “I picked out a few and I took them home and read them and it got me re-hooked. About a year later, I looked into the business end of things, because I discovered there were these things called comic book stores.”
He opened a store in the Strand Building across the Historic Everett Theatre in 1983. He said it was the only comic book store north of Woodinville at the time. The Knoedlers moved the store to Wetmore in 2010 after a fire damaged the original location. About 10 years ago, Everett Comics stocked Funko collectibles when Mariotti was first starting to grow his business. Funko was selling a product line called Wacky Wobblers and few stores were carrying the company’s lines.
Funko started making it big in 2010 when they started producing the Pop! line of figurines, anime-inspired, big-headed, big-eyed figures of the most popular pop culture characters out there, including characters such as Batman, Spider-Man and Superman.
“It hit the scene and the orders just kept on increasing,” Charlie Knoedler said. “Word of mouth got around that we were one of the stores that carried them and all of a sudden you have people coming from out of the city, from Tacoma and Seattle, to our store looking for them.”
Funko has now grown into a giant with its products being carried at all of the major retailers. The company produces vinyl figurines, but also has branched into apparel, home decor and stuffed animals.
The company said last year it expected to generate more than $400 million in revenue. Funko has been headquartered at 1202 Shuksan Way in south Everett for more than three years. In December, the company announced that it was moving its corporate offices to downtown Everett into a building at 2802 Wetmore Ave., which most recently housed the now-defunct Trinity Lutheran College.
“They brought over or are bringing over 300 to 400 people and plopping them down in north Everett, I don’t think we’ve seen an influx that high since the Navy,” Charlie Knoedler said of Naval Station Everett opening in 1994.
Funko employees are already some of Everett Comics’ best customers, said the Knoedlers and their long-time manager Brandon Ottenerg.
“You always know when their lunch breaks are, there’s an influx of people and they always seem to be in a hurry,” Charlie Knoedler said.
The Knoedlers are excited about the festivites when Funko opens its store in downtown, saying “it’s going to be wonderful for Everett.”
“It’s going to be huge,” Tracy Knoedler said. “We’re going to be here bright and early. We’re going to be set up and ready for those people to come visit us and get them into things other than Funko. We will complement each other.”
Funko produces so many items that it would be impossible for them to be all displayed, the Knoedlers said.
“We’re not sure how much they’re carrying, if there’s differences in what they’re carrying compared to what we have,” Charlie Knoedler said. “We won’t know until they open their doors.”
And they figure that lots of Funko fans — called Funatics — will be visiting the new headquarters to take in the sights.
“Stop by and say hi to us, too,” Tracy Knoedler said.
Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; firstname.lastname@example.org; @HBJnews.