Friday, January 14, 2005

Anime store provides place to lounge, learn

The Portland, Maine, Press Herald stops by Westbrook's Weekend Anime store, which initially operated in a tiny storefront and open only on weekends. In October, owner Julie York moved into a 2,000-square-foot space, and has seen her customer base nearly double:
The move also has allowed the store to use one room as a classroom, where it has begun offering weekly Japanese classes. [Store manager Dave] Lister plans to soon offer drawing lessons as well, so that customers can learn to emulate the style they so admire.

Now that more customers can comfortably fit into the store, they're staying for longer periods of time. Lister said some arrive when the store opens at 2 p.m. and stay until closing at 8 p.m. While this might be considered loitering in some stores, at Weekend Anime it's encouraged.

"We really wanted to make it a loungey place," he said, where customers can sit and read manga, watch anime, play video games or related card games. "We have a lot of regulars."
The article includes an "Anime Facts" sidebar.