Jul 14, 2022 - Business

Paper Tiger — comics, toys and more — is now open in South Richmond

The outside of paper tiger
Paper Tiger. Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

Richmond restaurateur Hamooda Shami once owned nearly half the restaurants in one block of Carytown. These days, he owns just one — Don't Look Back — and couldn't be happier, thanks to his new, non-restaurant venture.

Driving the news: Shami opened Paper Tiger, a comic book, collectables and toy store, on June 24 at 7522 Forest Hill Ave., in a building his uncle purchased in August 2020.

A bunch of toys in Paper Tiger
Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

What happened: Blame the pandemic for the change. It's what pushed Shami over the edge to reevaluate his life and passions, he told Axios.

  • When the pandemic hit, Shami was down to just the two locations of DLB — Triple and South — having already closed Portrait House and Eleven Months and sold his stake in New York Deli.
  • "I think a lot of people had that, 'What do you want to do with your life?'" question during the pandemic, Shami said.

But restaurants were one of the business sectors hit the hardest, and reopening in the pandemic came with its own headaches. Plus after 20 years in the restaurant industry — and now with two small kids at home — Shami was ready for a change.

  • He flirted with the idea of selling DLB, but said he was worried a new owner would gut the staff.

Instead, Shami decided to close the Southside location of DLB while promoting and raising pay for staffers at the Broad location so he could hand off the day-to-day.

  • He then put his full focus on his pandemic side-hustle: buying and selling comics online.
A bunch of toys in Paper Tiger
Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

Initially, Shami was going to run Paper Tiger out of his home, but he had another common pandemic epiphany: Working from home with a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old is useless. Plus, he had retail space.

What you'll find: Shami likens the shop to a boutique with a curated collection of stuff for nerds (his word!) of all ages and tastes, including:

  • Comic books, new and rare ones — including graded comics.
  • Graphic novels — indie, traditional and Manga, a Japanese comic type.
  • Games — traditional board games, a few collectible video games and role-playing and strategy ones.
  • Toys — collectables and new ones, with lots of Star Wars, Marvel and DC Comic figures anyone would recognize.
A bunch of toys in Paper Tiger
Photo: Karri Peifer/Axios

Insider tip: Paper Tiger offers free wine and beer for shoppers, using an expanded version of the same ABC license that allows salons and art galleries to offer complimentary drinks as a customer perk, which went into effect in January.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Richmond.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Richmond stories

No stories could be found

Richmondpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Richmond.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more