Jun. 11—Future Great Comics has moved from its Main Street location in Hamilton to a new space in Oxford, and owner Brian LeVick said he is pleased with the number of customers visiting the store, even after most Miami University students have left for the summer.
"I was a little surprised when this became available, and I had to jump on it," LeVick said about his new location, at 37 W. High St. "I've always looked at Oxford as a second location for the past few years, but nothing became available, and unfortunately I had to make a decision whether to stick with Hamilton or roll the dice and go for Oxford."
"So far, the decision has worked out," he said. Even since students left for the summer, "The foot traffic's amazing up here, even with the time when the students have been gone," he said. "I've seen a lot of new faces, and some of my customers from Hamilton have made the trip up here. That's always nice to see."
"I do extremely miss Hamilton, but the people of Oxford have made it a lot better transition than it could have been," he said, adding he hopes to open a Hamilton store again someday.
LeVick's Future Great Wrestling, the professional-wrestling training facility that holds family-friendly Friday-evening events, continues to operate in Hamilton, at 190 N. Brookwood Ave. For the first time in more than a year, the wrestling events last week were able to have full-capacity crowds.
The wrestling organization started in early 2019, training wrestlers and hosting weekly performances. For more than a year, "We were at limited capacity for COVID restrictions up until this past week," he said. With the lifting of those restrictions, "We had a really good turnout, and it's been just a whirlwind.
When COVID-19 restrictions took effect, the number of fans allowed at the wrestling events dropped from 225 to 35, he said.
"Dealing with that for a long time was difficult, but the wrestlers rallied, the fans rallied around us, and we were able to survive this long," LeVick said.
"So everything can be opened up again," he said.
Events happen every Friday at 7 p.m., at the Brookwood Avenue location. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $12 for the front row.
Tickets can be purchased at the event, or the Future Great Comics store in Oxford, or by messaging Future Great Wrestling on Facebook.
LeVick took a piece of Hamilton with him: Future Great Comics has a small number of vinyl records from Main Street Vinyl.
Hamilton small-business specialist Mallory Greenham said the comics store closure was a loss.
"He will be missed as part of the Main Street community," Greenham said. "I have not talked to him to figure out why he chose Oxford. But we would of course love him back in Hamilton, whenever."
Oxford City Manager Doug Elliott was pleased to hear LeVick was happy with his number of customers there.
"We're really happy to have new businesses come to the city, and I had no doubt he would do well," Elliott said. "Especially when the college students are here."
Elliott said people on his staff had visited the store to buy things for their kids.
His Oxford store also offers a gaming space that can be rented for groups that want to play Dungeons & Dragons, Pokémon, Magic or other activities. The rental fee is $10 per hour during regular store hours, and $20 per hour during non-store hours.
Future Great Wrestling also plans to put together a float for Hamilton's Independence Day parade, LeVick said.