Randy Grizzle never pictured he would live out his adult life with Yoda across from him and selling books, comics and games.
Grizzle, the owner of Bibliotech Books & Comics on Main Street, went to school to become an engineer. But in January 1994, he purchased a bookstore.
“(The former owner) was kind of pulled a little thin (between a few stores),” Grizzle said, “so I just bought (the store) from him because it’s the one in my hometown.”
In ‘94, Grizzle was a sophomore in college. He took a loan from his grandmother and has been at Bibliotech ever since.
With about 24 years of experience under his belt, Grizzle has witnessed change not only in Shawnee, but in the books, gaming and comics business.
“My livelihood is dependent not only on the decisions my customers make, but also the manufacturers (and) their decisions,” Grizzle said. “I have to keep track of both ends of that.”
Grizzle has seen the effects of the mall’s building on the north side of town, Amazon’s creation and rise, as well as a resurgence in Marvel and DC universes. With the industries changing and growing, customer’s interests have changed as well.
“We saw a big upswing in comic interests I guess starting in about 2005, 2006,” Grizzle said. “People are curious about comics and sort of look at stuff, (but) it does not necessarily create a lot of new buyers, though.”
Grizzle tries to have Bibliotech participate in as much of the community as he can. The store participates in National Comic Book Day and the Halloween comic festival where he said they give out about 1,500 comic books.
However, Bibliotech doesn’t host a lot of events, although they do have the occasional gaming tournament. Grizzle said between just him and his mom working part-time in the store, though, it makes hosting events outside of store hours difficult.
Grizzle said his store is lucky in that his is one of a few bookstores around town, but other businesses aren’t quite so lucky. However, he encourages people to shop locally because it will help the local economy.
“I think there’s a big misconception in this town that there’s no places worth shopping at in Shawnee because I know a lot of people will drive to Oklahoma City to shop,” Grizzle said. “I think Shawnee in general would benefit from having the people that have real money in this town shopping more locally than going up to Oklahoma City or Edmond and sending their money there.”
Bibliotech has been at the corner of Main Street and Union Avenue for about 24 years and will celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2019. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10a.m. to 6p.m. and closed on Sunday.