You don’t have to spend much time with Dave Dyer to see how much he loves comic books, pop culture and games.
The former tattoo artist wears a silver Superman symbol around his neck. He rents storage space for his personal collectibles, and 14 tattoos show off his favorite characters from movies and comic books.
“There’s a child in me,” Dyer said on a recent Wednesday afternoon. “I never want that child to go to sleep.”
Dyer, who plans to open a comic book and collectibles shop in downtown Belleville this fall, previously worked as an artist at a St. Louis toy company before it sold its assets in 2002.
His love for pop culture doesn’t stop there. The soon-to-be store owner also founded a convention for horror, science fiction, and pop culture fans. His convention dubbed Contamination hit the scene years before Comic Con St. Louis became popular.
Items from Contamination will be on display at his new store.
Cosmic Comics Collectibles and Games is expected to open in September at 132 W. Main Street in downtown Belleville.
The storefront was previously occupied by Peace by Piece, a retail and gift shop that recently moved to Swansea. When Dyer moves in, he plans to add a coffee bar to the space and a lounge area where people can watch movies and hang out.
The coffee bar will serve tea, soda from Excel Bottling Co. in Breese and butter brew, a sweet concoction similar to the drink served in the “Harry Potter” series.
Customers will find vintage and new comic books on the shelf along with movies, books and games. Types of toys will include: Star Trek, Super Heroes both DC and Marvel, Godzilla and Kiss memorabilia.
Horror toys will include items from “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Friday the 13th”, “Halloween” and more.
Dyer also hopes to bring in celebrity guests.
When he hosted a convention called Contamination, guests included Naomi Grossman from “American Horror Story,” the cast of The original “Battlestar Galactica,” Glenn Ennis who played Colossus in both “Deadpool” movies, Kane Hodder who played Jason Voorhees in “Friday the 13th” and Tony Todd from the “Candyman” films.
“This is a place for you to tap back into everything,” Dyer said. “That’s why I love it.”
Mother of five opening women’s clothing store downtown
A new women’s clothing store with jewelry, accessories and more will soon open in downtown Belleville.
Located at 119 E. Main St., Halo is one of three new businesses bringing new life to the area this fall.
Halo Salon owner Cori May and her husband, Alex, said their new retail store represents growth and success as young business owners.
When the couple met, Cori was working alone in a one-room salon. Since then, her business has grown into a full service hair salon with nearly a dozen hair stylists, spray tanning and three employees who operate the boutique.
Opening the boutique in a separate space feels like a nature next step, the couple said.
“This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Cori May said on a recent Tuesday morning. “The boutique had reached its limit. It was growing so fast, but it couldn’t grow any further. “
The couple realized that Cori needed a new space when the clothing side of the business started to out-grow the salon. She started with only one rack with a few options, but now the lower level of her salon is filled with clothing options that will move into the new space.
Halo Salon will continue to operate out its Swansea location at 4021 N. Illinois St. The clothing and accessories store expected to open in in September.
Pin-up salon and boutique moving to Main Street
Samantha Schaefer’s vision for a retro hair salon and boutique is coming together inside of the Market Square building in downtown Belleville.
The 29-year-old entrepreneur plans to move into a storefront at 25 E. Main Street. She also plans to rebrand her business this fall.
After the move, the clothing side of her business will reopen as the Wicked Little Bowtique. Smokin’ Aces Industries Salon at 4300 W. Main St. will also move into Schaefer’s new space downtown.
The retro-inspired clothing boutique will be in the front half of the storefront. The other half will have six styling stations and a room for eyelash extensions and waxing.
Schaefer is also thinking about adding art to the space that sits across the street from Keil’s Antiques and Gifts. She wants the space to become a place where people feel comfortable with hanging out.
The founder of the Smokin’ Aces Pin-Up Girls group hopes to find a few antique furniture pieces from Keil’s to add to the store. Her vision includes collaborating with other businesses in the area as more entrepreneurs chose to bring their businesses downtown.
Schaefer said she’s excited to be a part of the rebirth that’s happening downtown.
“I live here, and I’m raising my kids here,” Schaefer said. “I love Belleville, and I want to leave a legacy for my kids.”