THE Geek Emporium comic book store opened its doors today, to the delight of many customers eager to browse its packed shelves.

Owner Stuart Gatward told the Advertiser that it had been an “amazing” launch morning, with crowds coming to celebrate with him as he achieved his long-held dream of turning his pop-up business into a permanent store.

“The crowds this morning was really nice,” he said. “Everyone was cheering!”

Stuart had lots of decorations and refreshments in store for his first-day visitors, including celebratory balloons, and mince pies.

The shop, on Waterloo Court, was opened officially today (Friday, December 4) by Cllr Iris Andersen (Test Valley Borough Council, Conservative councillor for Andover St Mary’s).

Commenting on Cllr Andersen’s launch-day speech, Stuart said; “She did a really nice speech, about the fact that shops like this need encouragement. Andover needs it, it is originally a market town anyway and so it's good to see more independent businesses.”

The Geek Emporium sells a variety of comic book merchandise, appealing to fans of a whole range of characters, films, and games.

In the early afternoon, the small shop was busy, with queues at the tills and others waiting outside to enter due to coronavirus capacity regulations.

Stuart said; “It’s been really popular. We are just open and we have already got gaps on the shelves! This is just the start, each week we are bringing in different stock.”

Marilo Pitoli, 32, from Andover was one of the customers keen to check out the store on opening day.

He said: “We came by to have a look around and it looks amazing, great stock.

“It’s always good to see something a bit different. I like this kind of stuff, I like to fill my living room with it!”

Stuart hopes that as the business expands to include other passions - such as motoring or sporting merchandise, and a games table for people to come and join in games of cards or Dungeons and Dragons - it will appeal to even more people in the community.

“Geek is such a broad term,” he said. “Everyone is a geek about something!”

The Geek Emporium is located at 9 Waverly Buildings, Waterloo Court, and will be open on Thursdays from 10am-5pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-8pm and Sundays from 10am-4pm.