Leef Smith at his store, Mission: Comics & Art. Photo by Charlotte Silver

Mission: Comics & Art, the Mission’s only comic book store, is struggling to stay open, and is now seeking support through a Patreon campaign with the goal of bringing in $3,000 per month.

“This is a tight time of year, and I’m not exactly filled with confidence,” said Leef Smith, owner of the store.

In January, Mission Local reported that the comic book store’s sales had dropped 17 percent in 2017, a loss of about $72,000. This prompted Smith to get creative regarding ways to keep his business running.

He decided to start the Patreon campaign, a membership-based crowdsourcing platform, but it hasn’t turned out as he hoped.

“It was not the slam-dunk I was hoping for,” he said.

But it isn’t doing terribly, either. So far, he’s about two-thirds of the way – less than $800 – to meeting his $3,000 per month goal. This would help him survive through the down months.

The monthly contributions have some cool perks, like magnets, T-shirts and holding an event in the space.

He took the lead of other businesses, like Wicked Grounds, a SOMA-based kinky cafe, which in January had reached its monthly goal of $15,000 within days after being under threat of shuttering.

In 2015, patrons of Borderlands Books came to its rescue as it was preparing to close for good.

Smith said he has not seen the same sense of urgency. “We’re not like Borderlands,” he said. “This is a smaller niche.”

Aside from the Patreon campaign, Smith said he’s exploring other options, like seeking grant funding or even subletting a portion of his space.

“I still don’t want to close,” he said.

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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