What if someone could just hand you your dream job? It may seem like something out of Willy Wonka, but that’s exactly what Carmelo Chimera is trying to do. For 8 years he’s been the owner of Chimera’s Comics, a chain of comic book stores in Chicago’s south suburbs. And he’s giving one of his stores away – for nothing. “I believe people can do extraordinary things, but life gets them down,” Chimera said. “People make decisions based on fear. And I want to take that fear away.”
Chimera is holding a contest to give away his Oak Lawn comic book store. “People have been coming up to me for years saying they’d love to own a comic book store,” said Chimera. “But most people don’t do it. They blame lack of time, lack of money, lack of opportunity. I want to take all that away and give someone their dream job.”
“I think the attraction of a comic book store is that it can be whatever you want it to be,” added Chimera. “It can focus on toys, games, movies, classic comics, kids comics – the possibilities ignite the imagination.”
Anyone can apply for a small application fee, but applicants must answer one question: what makes a great comic book store?
“This is not a raffle, a drawing, or a gamble in any way,” said Chimera. “It’s entirely merit based. I will choose the winner based on their essay responses. And I will read every response.”
The contest runs from February 1 to February 28, or until Chimera receives 2,000 responses – whichever comes first.
Chimera said the decision to give away his store wasn’t easy. “I’ve been spreading myself too thin for years,” said Chimera, who owns two stores, has a full-time job, and has recently started publishing comics.
“Writing and publishing is my passion,” said Chimera. His first graphic novel, a superhero coming-of-age story called “Magnificent”, was released earlier this year after raising nearly $8,000 on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. His next project, a horror graphic novel called “Cellar Door”, will be released later this spring after raising over $12,000. He’s also a co-founder of the international comic industry event Buy Indie Comics Day and he’s planning his own Chicago comic convention.
“It was time to admit that I was holding back the store,” said Chimera. “I’m doing too many other things. But to the right person, this store isn’t a distraction. This store is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Hopeful applicants can apply at www.chimerascomics.com/win-comic-book-store.
The Prize: Chimera’s Comics Oak Lawn, 4915 W. 95th Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453. Must be a minimum of 500 entries for the giveaway. No more than 2,000 entries.
Dates: February 1 – 28
Entry Fee: $25