Floating World Comics is working to bring the Lloyd Center to life
After 16 years in Old Town, a popular indie comic book store has relocated to a slightly less conventional location.
Floating World Comics has moved into the Lloyd Center shopping mall. Yes, the mall is brought to life by independent shopkeepers like Jason Leivian, owner of Floating World.
“My friend Joey opened his record store Musique Plastique here about six weeks ago,” Leivian said during Floating World’s “soft opening” on Aug. 19.
Floating World’s collection of indie and underground comics is unlike any store in Portland.
“We have all the mainstream books that you can find in most other comic book stores,” Leivian said. But his store’s focus is on underground and indie comics and art — the sometimes hard-to-find stuff. Leivian takes a deep cultural dive into the world of comics to find unique comics for collectors and casual readers alike.
“Maybe they’ve seen it on Instagram, but they’ve never seen these books in person. We go that extra step and bring these books to our shop from all over the world.”
They also do their own small batch printing, which is a real treat and turns hard-to-find but easy-to-love books into something tangible to take home. Leivian said he’s already seen an increase in sales since the move.
At the soft opening, the line of masked patrons stretched from the counter to the store’s entrance, 20 or more people deep. At first he was nervous about moving. Comic book stores like Floating World are an integral part of the communities in which they are located. However, he said that excitement about what the Lloyd Center could be quickly outweighed nervousness.
“I just couldn’t stop thinking about the potential of such a strange and unique opportunity,” he said. “I just couldn’t stop thinking, what if this became snowballs? I’ve heard of other companies looking to move here.”
And the hope of turning this strange and unique opportunity into something truly Portland-esque doesn’t stop there.
“And then they would tell their friends, and I think the next part would be to introduce a really cool food court,” Leivian said. Not just your Sbarro and Subway, but local chefs, restaurants and food trucks make it a truly local experience at the mall, from the shops to the food.
Independent stores like Leivian’s are trying to capitalize on the early 2000s rat experience of meeting friends for a bite and shop ’til you drop.
As for Floating World, its laid-back vibe and knowledgeable and friendly staff make getting started with indie comics easily accessible. Leivian and his staff have a passion for comics from indie and obscure to graphic novels that have you seen the bestseller lists and they want you to stop by.
“The Lloyd Center is not dead.”
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