Thank you, Pulp 716, from a comic book nerd

I’m a full-blown comic book nerd so hearing about the pending closure of Pulp 716 hit me kind of hard.

Owners Jay and Amy Berent did a nice job of selling a wide variety of comics and collectibles and coffee and — everybody’s favorite — bubble tea.

Losing their two locations — one on East Avenue in Lockport and the other on Webster Street in North Tonawanda — is not just a blow to me and my super-hero-loving kind.

It works against so many of the ideals that so many candidates for public office talk about all the time.

Jay and Amy didn’t just run a pair of small businesses in Niagara County. They represented the sort of small business spirit and development that most everybody says we need to see more of here, whenever they pass petitions to get their names on election ballots.

It’s worth noting that the Berents also took advantage of those small business development programs we hear so much about from economic development officials in Niagara County.

People may forget, before the Berents opened their Lockport store in 2015, they went through the process of developing their business plan through the Small Business Development Center at Niagara County Community College. They are and have been a local success story on a variety of fronts.

Of course, it helped a great deal that they hired good people that a lot of customers came to know more like friends or even family.

They also created an inviting atmosphere for children and teens and adults alike.

Many people on Facebook responded to the sad news about the closing of Pulp 716 later this month with comments about how much they appreciated having a quiet spot to read and sip coffee and, well, just hang out and enjoy life near the Erie Canal as the people that they are.

That’s really important in an era where judging, especially online, seems like all anyone can do these days.

I spent many misspent days of my youth reading comic books in such places.

I credit my love of stories depicted with amazing art, about characters like Batman and the X-Men, with guiding me along a path that led me to writing and, eventually, reporting.

At a young age, when I struggled with reading, I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who told my mom to let me read the stuff I liked and that I’d come along.

I started consuming comic books about then and have yet to stop.

My collection has hurt my wallet over the years, but it’s been a fun pastime and a treasured recreation. A lot of my best friends are comic book nerds, too.

Amy and Jay Berent did a lot to embrace and try to help grow the Lockport and North Tonawanda small business community.

They did a ton more by opening their businesses to children and young people and parents and teachers so they could find accommodating, judgment-free space where they could embrace important things like love of reading and thinking and dreaming and imagining.

Lockport and North Tonawanda and all places in between need such spaces.

So thank you to Jay and Amy Berent for all their years of working and trying to make our community a better place.

As they prepare to close Pulp 716, I hope they take great consolation in knowing they made a difference and their comic books and graphic novels and collectibles and coffee and bubble tea and general presence in our community will be greatly missed.

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