When Gene Farley grew up, he went to college, got married, bought a home, and bought his teenage hangout.
The Rosemont resident owns Comics and Collectibles, a comic book shop on Fruitridge Road in Sacramento.
"It's pretty sweet for the most part," Farley said. "It's good being your own boss but then all the responsibility is on you."
He's owned the store for around 15 years, about the same amount of time he's lived in Rosemont. He said when he was a kid, he regularly visited another store until it moved to Rosemont, then started hanging around Comics and Collectibles.
For Farley, comic books are a childhood hobby that turned into a fulltime passion.
"I've been reading them since, like, fifth grade and just haven't stopped," he said.
He said being a small business is tough–he recently laid off an employee–but business is steady.
"You can't walk into Amazon and say, 'Was this book any good?' But I can tell you," he said.
Farley said technology hasn't changed his business much, except that his subscribers–who have certain comics saved for them every month–are listed on a laptop instead of on three-by-five cards.
"The guys that opened [this store] figured out how to do it right," he said. "Most of my success has been in not screwing that up."
The store, which recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary, is one of the largest and the second oldest in Sacramento, Farley said.
Chris Williams is a subscriber at the store, and came in recently with his 6-year-old son to pick up a handful of new comics.
He said his son is just learning how to read, but he's already taking an interest in the characters in Williams' comics.
"If this can be a gateway to helping him learn to read, I'm all for it," Williams said.
Farley said comics have a wide audience. His regular visitors, which make up 60 percent of his business, range between 10 years old and more than 80 years old. He has one subscriber who he thinks is homeless, and another who is a deputy treasurer for the state.
"More and more, people are realizing that nerdy people are ruling the world, so I don't think it's as stigmatized."
In honor of Small Business Saturday (this week, Nov. 26), Comics and Collectibles will offer half off on back issues. The store has also added 8,000 extra comics to its $2 bins.
Editor's note: Farley's is a blogger on this site. Read her posts here.