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New comic book store Hero’s Haven opens in Stateway Plaza

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It’s a labor of nerdy love for Christopher M. Hunt, as he opened his new comic book and collectible store, Hero’s Haven, last week.

Going through school in the north country in the 1980s and 1990s, Mr. Hunt said, he could not be honest about who he was with friends and classmates while attending parties and playing sports.

He never told anybody about things like his comic book collection, or his undying love of “Star Wars,” one of the first movies he saw in theaters after it came out in 1977.

“I was always a closet nerd,” Mr. Hunt said Saturday during the store’s grand opening.

Amidst a collection of comics, clothing and action figures, Mr. Hunt, a graduate of South Jefferson High School, said he had thought about opening the store for years. He moved forward with those plans after losing his auto service job in 2012.

He said the store could succeed carrying more specialized products, things he already liked and shopped for, that otherwise would require a trip to places such as Syracuse and Utica.

“I know there was a market, there was a need,” he said. “This was what I knew I could do.”

He opened the store after going through the state’s Self-Employment Assistance Program and receiving financial aid from the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and the Watertown Trust. After a soft opening Monday, the store, in the Stateway Plaza, 1222 Arsenal St., held its grand opening Saturday.

Mr. Hunt said that more inventory was coming through daily, and that he had big plans for the business, from card game tournaments to movie screenings.

“You want a place where you could bring your kids,” he said.

Since his closeted-nerd past, he said, in recent years he has been able to be much more open with his loves, as he, his wife, Jessica, and their two children, Lillian and Roselynn, moved into a house in Watertown.

During the move, Mrs. Hunt said, she returned home from running errands to find a pair of light sabers and a mask from “Star Wars” character Darth Maul hanging in their dining room. “I wasn’t surprised,” she said, laughing. “It wouldn’t be my first choice of decoration.”

Mr. Hunt said the popularity of superheroes in recent years has expanded the audience for things such as comic books and action figures.

“It’s almost cool to be a nerd now,” he said. “It’s prime time to be open for business.”

More information about the store can be found at www.facebook.com/TheHerosHaven.

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