News / Halifax

Sackville 'cash mob' rallies together for community comics shop

Store owner Jay Roy opened Sackville’s Cape & Cowl Comics and Collectibles more than a year ago to serve as a safe community space for kids and kids at heart.

Jay Aaron Roy, owner of Cape and Cowl Comics and Collectibles, holds a replica of Captain America's shield at his Lower Sackville store Tuesday.

Jeff Harper/Metro

Jay Aaron Roy, owner of Cape and Cowl Comics and Collectibles, holds a replica of Captain America's shield at his Lower Sackville store Tuesday.

A Feb. 13 “cash mob” organized to help a well-loved Lower Sackville entrepreneur has raised more than $5,000 and ensured the business will live to see another day.

Jay Roy opened Sackville’s Cape & Cowl Comics and Collectibles more than a year ago.

From the beginning his shop was more than just a store. It was a community space that welcomed everyone.  A storyteller group, parent and baby drop-in group and video club meet-up are just a few that use the space.

When it’s not being used for any organized activities, his shop is open to anyone who wants to drop in.

Youth often stop in to play board games, watch television or read comics and books set aside in the cozy space.  Roy knows at least 45 nearby junior high students on a first-name basis because they often drop by over their lunch hour.

“It’s all about creating spaces where no matter what you like, you are not going to be bullied here,” he said.

So when things got tough in January, it didn’t take long for people to rally to his aid.

“I don’t like to give out too much information to my Facebook friends for example, but I sort of had a moment in which I posted on there that if February went as January did (for sales) it might produce a closing sale in March,” Roy said.

“Quite a few people responded to that because I think quite a few people like the shop.”

Local teacher Jennifer Welcher was one of those who like and support the shop. She organized the “cash mob,” a one-day event designed to draw people into the shop to support local.

More than 1,400 people were invited to the event via Facebook, and within two days more than 100 committed to going and 200 were interested.
 
By closing time on Feb. 13, hundreds had crammed into his shop and spent more than $5,000, more than doubling his best ever sales day of $2,000.
 
 “I’m not naïve. I know I support the community and the community supports me ... There are no words to express how overwhelmed I was,” Roy said.
 
“I’m from here, I grew up here, and even though I’ve transitioned from female to male and actually changed names, people still know me because I’ve never gone away.”
 
Michelle Champniss, executive director of the Sackville Business Association, said she was thrilled to learn how well Roy had done following the cash mob event.
 
“He has a welcoming space but also has such a fantastic personality so it’s just enjoyable to go in and spend time there,” she said. “That’s what you want in a business.”

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