December 3rd, 2009

Happy B-Day, Dark Del!

Today is Dark Delicacies' 15th anniversary. Wow, America's only all-horror bookstore has made it through fifteen years. I'm really proud of what my fabulous friends Sue and Del have accomplished.

That fifteen year mark also makes me realize how long I've known them. Back before they opened Dark Delicacies as a brick-and-mortar store, they used to sell at various shows and conventions. They would hit yard and estate sales for books, and bring the non-horror items to Iliad to trade. I got used to seeing the guy with the long hair (at that point it wasn't completely white yet!) and his partner, the feisty little cool chick with the delightful Yankee accent, coming in with their boxes of books. Before long I found out we had horror in common (this was back before I'd even sold my first story), and when they finally started the store I was there.

When they first opened in that little spot on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank, they still had only a comparatively small amount of stock, and hadn't yet gotten heavily into the non-book items. Sue still worked at Nestle, and Del still worked as a salesman in the garment district; yes, we used to see Del in - heehee! - a tie everyday (HAHAHAHA!!). Sue quit first, turning her working attentions fully to Dark Delicacies, and Del followed a few years later.

I was there when Sue and Del finally decided to officially tie the knot, in the store, on a Halloween evening. And I was their - I mean, my good friend Rick Pickman was the first Dark Delicacies webmaster. This was back in those nascent days of website design, when we thought cluttered backgrounds and animated gifs were cool; the first Dark Del website was designed to resemble a dungeon, complete with stone walls, torches and their trademarked Gothic logo.

At some point they moved the short distance to their current location, and the website was revamped to become a functional shopping cart. They had a few rocky years business-wise, but finally the business model of constant signings, a mix of book and non-book stock, and the shopping cart all meshed and put 'em over the top. A year ago their son Jason opened their sister store, Emerald Knights Comics and Games, almost right across the street. And Del, of course, has been successful in using the store's name and contacts to launch the award-winning series of Dark Delicacies anthologies (and one of my personal favorite sales ever was the story "Black Mill Cove" to the first volume). A Dark Delicacies comic book followed, and we still cross our fingers for that Dark Delicacies movie or television series in the future.

If you're in the SoCal area, stop by the store today and wish 'em a happy one. If you're not, drop by the Dark Delicacies Forum and do it virtually. Or just post it here in the Comments. I'm sure Pickman will let 'em know.