The Gutter

The Gutter—comic book store, gaming supplies, and civic activism.

Centrally located near the junction of Aspen Park, Midtown, and Rockview, The Gutter has a large and loyal customer base amongst comic readers and gaming geeks alike. Run by owner/manager Rick McGee, the Gutter has flourished and has over its near-decade tenure expanded the business to accommodate not only comics and gaming but anime and cosplay societies, as well as more civic/community-minded efforts.

Anime Mondays attracts enthusiasts with a 10% off Sales Pick of the Day film title, plus an evening screening of one of the near 2000 titles McGee has on hand for rental. The Alamy Falls Cosplayers meet on site on the first and third Wednesdays of every month to discuss costuming and the fandoms pertaining to it. Friday Night Magic is the original night McGee opens his store to gamers after hours, and the traffic generated very quickly saw the addition of Saturdays and Sundays to the line-up. On any given day, however, one can find a gamer or two at the tables in the gaming area of the store, either working on wargaming models or perusing McGee’s extensive library of used gaming reference books which he keeps on hand for his customers. Also on hand is a snack area equipped with a full size refrigerator, a microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, and sink, stocked with snacks and beverages for his customers who game at his store. Payment is on the honor system, with prices clearly posted. With food and drink and a reference library, plus a fairly extensive offering of games and materials for sale, the Gutter is a gamer’s paradise.

At base, however, McGee rigorously maintains his first love—comics—and stocks over two hundred titles from the major comics publishers weekly. They take up the Gutter’s Wall-o-Comics and titles are refreshed as they come in. Past issues are duly bagged and labeled for collectors and customers who’ve missed issues, and there is an extensive room to one side with nothing but bagged titles in long boxes. Customers who purchase titles in excess of 75 dollars receive a discount. The discount grows larger on a sliding scale commensurate with the tab. McGee also offers a subscription service and in-store gathering of titles for pick-up at customer convenience and it is not unusual to see a line at the counter on Tuesdays with subscribers picking up their weekly haul.

Free Comics Day happens once a year on a national level and McGee offers several more throughout the year out of his own independently owned store. Kids and comics just go together, he has said many times for the record, and McGee puts his money where his mouth is. Roughly seven years ago, McGee expanded his offerings in-store to used book titles—both fiction and gaming related—as a means to encourage the love of reading and the love of gaming and as a community service, McGee has kept his store as teaching space for local reading programs for the young and illiterate on Thursday nights from 6 til close. Other civically-focused activities supported by the store include Drug Awareness and Resistance Education, fund raisers for local charities ranging from food for the hungry and habitats for the homeless, reading in schools and the community libraries, to national and global ones involving legal assistance and human rights advocacy to women and children, law enforcement aid societies and the military, and even voter registration and election awareness.

It’s an impressive list and when meeting McGee in person, it’s easy to understand why: the man has a hard time sitting still and being idle. When he’s not working the store as manager and general greeter of customers, he’s on the phone lining up the next charity action for the community or social gathering for the store. When asked when he’ll retire, McGee will only shake his head and say retirement is for the dead. Until then, he’ll keep showing up and trying to make the world a better place, one comic and one customer at a time.

Store Hours:

Open7 Days
M-Th: 10am-9PM
F-S: 24 hrs
Sun: Until 6PM

Special interests and events:

Anime Monday:
10% off selected anime title in-store, plus 7PM screening of in-store title

Title Tuesday:
In-Store pick-up of subscriptions, discounts given for bulk titles

Cosplay Wednesday:
Every first and third Wednesday of the month. Come in costume and receive 5% off.

Tutors Thursdays:
Tutoring in literacy every Thursday from 6PM til close. All ages and ability levels welcome. See store owner for details, schedule, and tutor positions. Arranged in cooperation with the Alamy Falls Board of Education and area libraries.

Friday Night Magic:
After hours gaming; 24 hours Friday to Saturday Night, til 6 on Sundays.

Free Comics Day:
Nationally, once a year. Locally, quarterly. See owner for details

The Gutter

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