BY JULIA CIRIGNANO
The Time Capsule is a store owned by Rob Yeremian. The main location is in Cranston, RI, and the other is in Seekonk, MA. The main store in Rhode Island will be celebrating its 13th anniversary with a big sale that will run from October 22nd to October 28th.
Yeremian owned The Time Capsule Comics from 1993 to 1998. In 1998, Yeremian explored the rising interest in online shopping and began to sell comics and collectibles that way. In 2003, Yeremian decided to reopen the store but with a bigger variety of sales items, so he cut comics out of the name.
With abounding success, Yeremian decided to open a second store in 2010. He chose to hire Jeff Tundis, the first ever employee at The Time Capsule Comics in the ‘90s, to manage this second store in Seekonk.
Limelight Magazine spoke with Yeremian last week about both of his stores and what to expect at their upcoming 13th anniversary sale.
“I started out doing comic book conventions in 1986 and, after some years of doing them, I decided I wanted to run a store,” he said. “A year before I graduated college I opened my first store and after I graduated I just continued to run my store. I never had to apply for any jobs. I had lots of freedom to do what I wanted and I could be my own boss.”
The Time Capsule Comics had decent success selling comic books and toys, yet he decided to sell the store in 1998. He talked about why he made the decision to close the store after many years of success.
“I sold the store in 1998 because I wanted to move to Los Angeles,” Yeremian explained. “I didn’t want to look back at my life and be disappointed that I had only lived in one state my whole life. Turns out I really loved living in Rhode Island so I moved back about eight months later.”
“When I returned from LA I opened another storefront in Warwick which only lasted for a brief time. I joined E-bay late in 1998 and closed the store so I could concentrate on online sales,” he continued.
At first, Yeremian had success selling online but after 9/11 in 2001, the company began to decline. By 2003, Yeremian was forced to close his online business but this unfortunate end led to an even better beginning.
“In November of 2003 I reopened a storefront in Cranston, RI, and just called the business The Time Capsule,” Yeremian said. “I dropped the name comics because I wanted the new store to be more than just comic books. I missed the interaction with customers and also realized that there were many collectibles that were better suited to sell in person than online.”
While some may consider this a re-opening of Yeremian’s old store, it was much more than that. The new Time Capsule has gained far more success than the first store or Yeremian’s online business. This success may be due to the fact that Yeremian decided to sell a bigger variety of products at The Time Capsule in Cranston.
“Since selling the store in 1998, my interests in collectibles had expanded,” Yeremian said. “Also, even more importantly, at the dawn of this digital age, I knew that to have a successful brick and mortar store you needed to bring in a bigger group of people to survive, let alone thrive. I was watching stores of all kinds of variety getting ravaged by online competition and didn’t want to be another casualty of Amazon and related sites.”
Today, The Time Capsule sells a variety of merchandise such as comic books, records, toys, vintage video games, older sports cards, magic cards, and anything else cool that they can find.
Even since their opening in 2003, The Time Capsule has grown and improved. For starters, Yeremian now owns the building which he once rented. It has also changed in other ways.
“I expanded the store into the adjacent storefronts and expanded the floor space dedicated to records and video games,” Yeremian said. “The amount of vinyl records and vintage video games that I sell has really surpassed my expectations.”
Although records and vintage video games sell very well at The Time Capsule, their biggest selling item is still comic books. The Time Capsule has also expanded into an online business through eBay.
“eBay has allowed me to sell many, many types of collectibles that I would never be able to sell locally,” Yeremian said. “I have sold off collections of soda bottles, vintage magazines, transistor radios, laser discs, marbles and I could go on and on.”
The Time Capsule also sells a wide selection of music on vinyl, 45, and CD.
“For vinyl, we focus on rock n’ roll and jazz but we also have a good selection of R&B, soul, country, comedy, soundtracks, classical and even easy listening,” Yeremian said. “We get a large variety of customers so we try to have something for everyone. We have a high turnover on LPs and we restock the LP section every week. We have a good selection of 45s as well in most of the genres I mentioned.”
Surprisingly, Yeremian explained that he does not sell many CDs.
“As far as CDs, we are not as aggressively buying them anymore,” he said. “The sales of CDs have dropped over the last few years so while we still carry some, we’re not taking them in like we used to.”
Yeremian also talked a about his second store in Seekonk. When it opened in 2010, Yeremian offered the position of manager to Tundis and he was pleased with his decision.
“Jeff was my first employee at the original store back in the 1990’s in Warwick,” Yeremian said. “He and I stayed friends and for 12 years we were in a band together. His job at the time was relocating and I opened that store because of Jeff’s availability. Jeff is very knowledgeable about the items we sell and he also has the right type of personality to deal with the public. He has done a terrific job managing that store.”
While it hasn’t been as successful as the first store, it has been successful in its own right.
“The Seekonk store is not as big as the Cranston store and the Cranston store has been around for a longer time period,” Yeremian explained. “Because I have been doing this for almost 30 years, I have a good number of customers who have been doing business with me for decades so I have that advantage as well over the second store.”
Yeremian talked about the difference between the two stores.
“While the stores are very similar there are some items I sell in Seekonk that I don’t sell in Cranston,” Yeremian said. “I also decided to have all the out of print trade paperbacks and graphic novels sold there. They have an amazing selection of these, probably the most in southern New England.”
The main store in Rhode Island will be having its 13th anniversary sale from October 22nd to October 28th.
“The sale consists of 65% off back issues comics in the boxes, 50% off all records, video games and toys and 35% off wall comics and trade paperbacks and graphic novels.”
Both Time Capsule stores have been successful. Although nothing is set in stone, Yeremian talked about his plans for the future of his business.
“I’m not against a third store but the right manager and right location would have to present themselves,” he said. “Otherwise I am happy with my two stores. I also like working with local artists and creative people. I was the executive producer of the film Tales of Rocky Point Park. It’s been a great success so far and Jason Mayoh, the director, and I are contemplating another project.”
Check out The Time Capsule’s website HERE for more information!