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Books & Lit

Silver Snail skips the Annex in favour of Yonge & Dundas

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 11, 2012

Silver Snail Yonge DundasAs Torontoist reported earlier today, the popular Silver Snail comic book store has found a new home among the big boys of the entertainment industry at 329 Yonge Street, just north of Yonge-Dundas Square. Last we heard, the business was keen to relocate to the Annex, so we got in touch with management to find out what led to the change of heart.

"We were looking at a couple of places but all the deals fell through," says Paul Douglas, an assistant manager at the Silver Snail. "We had to look elsewhere."

That "elsewhere" turns out to be right next door to HMV, a national chain that also sells a comics, graphic novels and other products available at the Snail. Although there would have been competition in the Annex from places like the Beguiling and Labyrinth, indie shops and big box stores aren't exactly the same thing.

"That's going to be a challenge," admits Douglas. "We'll have to be on our a-game, but we also have the knowledge — most of the people there are more interested in music, so that's where we can capitalize on their weakness." A selection of other competing book stores are also within short walking distance of the new location.

Caffeine-loving fans of the Snail will be pleased to learn plans to add a cafe to the business are still alive and well despite the change of plans regarding location. The partner of George Zotti, the owner, already runs a coffee shop downtown and wants to bring a little hospitality knowledge to the new store. The cafe will likely overlook Yonge Street from the store's second floor position.

As we reported last week, the historic Queen West building that housed the Silver Snail for 36 years is the focus of a development and restoration proposal designed by Montgomery Sisam Architects. Yesterday, city hall provisionally approved the project at its monthly meeting, pending an environmental assessment and submission of final drawings.

The plan, which generated plenty of discussion over its mix of old and new, seems to be OK by the the vacating tenants. "I don't mind, I think it looks alright ... some people think it's hideous. I think a lot more of the old building will show," says Douglas.

The Silver Snail expects to be open for business at its new location in early July.



Paul / April 11, 2012 at 03:54 pm
I can visit it every lunch hour!! I just hope that the rent won't be to much that it might hurt the profit margin. Good luck guys!
Nick / April 11, 2012 at 04:02 pm
When I started reading comics, I visited the Silver Snail, and found their staff to be a little snobby and not helpful at all. The guys at One Million Comix were much more approachable and have been nothing but amazing.
Pub / April 11, 2012 at 04:24 pm
Everyone guess where "Nick" works.
Axel / April 11, 2012 at 04:26 pm
This would be great, if i didn't have to wait 20 mins for the staff to stop their daily diatribe and start checking people through. The one with the blonde hair was the WORST. I'm glad they're not moving to Bloor, they would get KILLED by the competition.
Taylor replying to a comment from Axel / April 11, 2012 at 04:29 pm
Oh man, she has red hair now, if were talking about the same person. You literally have to stop her mid conversation to get her to ring you through. I'm never going to the snail again, i'll take my 30/mo on comics to Beguiling or BMV. Now BMV will be right across the street :)
Melissa / April 11, 2012 at 04:30 pm
I used to think one million was better than silver snail too, but why are there always creepy old guys screaming at the back? I always get the feel there is something sketchy going on.
ok ok ok / April 11, 2012 at 04:39 pm
Comic fans are virgins.

But I am happy to see an indie merchant come back to Yonge Street. It will be a good place for them because of foot traffic and that there are lots of Rye studs in the area.

TDot replying to a comment from Melissa / April 11, 2012 at 04:41 pm
Sketchy behavior? At a comic book store?
Rob replying to a comment from TDot / April 11, 2012 at 05:11 pm
Sketchy? Comic book store? Well played.
Also: the people at the Snail have always been cool!
cathy / April 11, 2012 at 05:58 pm
That's right across the street from the Hairy Tarantula. Why open up so close to another comic shop?
Dereksblowupdoll / April 11, 2012 at 06:18 pm
Will go to hairy tarantula & bmv before the snail. Least i get decent customer service at hairy and they are polite.
guy / April 11, 2012 at 06:26 pm
Any extra help to hammer the final nail in HMV's coffin is a welcome one!!!
Gloria / April 11, 2012 at 06:35 pm
Labyrinth is still my fave. Really friendly, has a rewards program, has customer events every so often.
KevinN / April 11, 2012 at 07:34 pm
Great, another reason for me to connect comic book geeks to Virgins. (I used to be one, don't worry).

And that goes for both :)

The Space Knight / April 11, 2012 at 09:15 pm
I like to smell dirty comics. Please send them to me.
The Space Knight replying to a comment from The Space Knight / April 11, 2012 at 09:16 pm
And no, I don't mean Andrew Dice Clay. He stinks. But not in a good way.
Gabe / April 11, 2012 at 11:04 pm
If you build it they will come...
Nick replying to a comment from Pub / April 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm
Nah, I don't work there. Just a loyal customer. Pledged an allegiance and all that. Comic books are serious business.
Matthew replying to a comment from Taylor / April 12, 2012 at 12:53 am
Whoa Taylor totally agree, at least she realized that puke green was a bad look...not that red beats it any. But I mean everyone thinks they're "hot" nerd girls when they have a job like that. She's definitely not so hot, I wouldn't mind if she didn't ignore her customers in favour of yapping to her friends about how great she is.

Learn to have good customer service and maybe people will care that your shop is moving and will want to visit it in favour of going to the other comic shops right nearby.
Jarrett / April 12, 2012 at 01:44 am
Speaking of HMV...

Anyone have details as to why HMV closed their cool science fiction / horror themed basement level? Also, what happened to the building next to HMV (the one World music, etc used to occupy). Sad to see that store shrink while whatever took over it went out of business in no time.
Fogey replying to a comment from Jarrett / April 12, 2012 at 08:16 am
Science fiction/horror themed basement? Surely you mean the dance music level, son.
Jarrett / April 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm
Is the basement back? I thought the basement was dance music like 10 years ago.
Bob / April 14, 2012 at 09:58 pm
Lousy service at Silver Snail as others have pointed out. I might check it out if they get new staff but until then it's The Beguiling for me. I wish them luck thoughhg as too many comic shops going down these days
Yani Peters / May 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm
I go to the Silver Snail often and their service is always very good. They are always happy to take the time to help. It is the best comic book store in Toronto and I have been to almost all of them.

As a fan of back issues, I love their organized rolling drawers of back issues. So much better than a bunch of crusty old carboard boxes. If those drawers don't make it to the new location I will be sad.

PS - I do not think Hairy Tarantula downtown qualifies as a comic book store, they don't sell comics just trades.
Yeah Buddy / May 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm
After reading all these comments and going to Silver Snail for over 10 years, I just had to throw in my 2 cents...

-Snail has a good selection/quantity of figures, comics, etc.
-Prices are generally reasonable
-Sales are really good

Overall, the staff blows. Maybe 1 or 2 individuals are actually helpful. It seems like you're bugging them when you ask a question. Really hard to get a straight answer. They'd rather be talking nonsense amongst themselves or their friends. There's one guy in the comics section that's just a tool. If I figure out his name, I'll post here.

P.S. The parking situation on Yonge St is gonna suck. Oh well...
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