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Silver Snail Gets a New Home

Silver Snail comics, a long-time Queen Street fixture, has found a new home in a new neighbourhood.

It's even silver, kind of. The Silver Snail's new home, in the old HMV at 329 Yonge Street.

After months of searching, the Silver Snail has found a new shell.

The popular comics-and-more shop will be leaving its Queen West storefront of 36 years to move to a second-floor location steps from Yonge and Dundas Square, at 329 Yonge Street, where its owners hope to have it open for business by July 1 at the latest. The Silver Snail will continue to operate at its popular Queen West location until then.

Silver Snail’s owner, George Zotti, began to lay plans for the move when he found out that the store’s Queen West building had been sold for redevelopment. At first, he eyed the Annex for a potential new location, but eventually realized that the neighbourhood wasn’t a good fit. “The whole idea was to find an area that we liked with a space that we liked. We [really] liked the Annex, but we couldn’t find anything,” said Zotti. “Everything was really small—like 1,400 square feet, or something like that—or used to be a restaurant. To make a restaurant not a restaurant is very expensive.”

Zotti hopes the Yonge property, which faces Edward Street, will enable the store to take advantage of the area’s high pedestrian traffic and its proximity to the Eaton Centre, Ryerson University, and Dundas Station. Previously, commuting customers rode the Queen streetcar to Soho Street, or made the short walk from Osgoode Station.

“We saw the space, and, you know, you can’t get more ‘heart of the city’ than Yonge and Dundas,” Zotti said.

Recent tenants at 329 Yonge have included a clothing store and a large HMV, the latter of which is still in business. (It consolidated its floor plan, and now operates out of a storefront to the south.)

“Currently, at Queen Street, we have 2,700 feet of retail floor space,” said Zotti. “This new location will be 3,300 square feet, only on one floor. It’s very long, and much wider than the back of the [Queen] store is right now.”

The Snail will be sharing the neighborhood with the World’s Biggest Bookstore, BMV, and the Indigo in the Eaton Center, along with more specialized shops like 401 Games and One Million Comix. The competition would not be any less fierce in the Annex: that neighbourhood has The Beguiling, a well-known comic and graphic-novel shop, as well as a BMV with a large comics section on its third floor.

Zotti hopes to have the new Silver Snail up and running before the summer months, with as little transition time as possible.

Matt Demers is a Toronto freelancer who writes about comics, pop culture, and other nerdy things. You can find him on Twitter and his website.

CORRECTION: April 11, 2012, 5:20 P.M. This article originally said that the HMV that had once been a tenant at 329 Yonge Street “moved next door.” In fact the HMV had previously occupied the next-door storefront, but had once operated out of 329 Yonge Street as well. The article has been amended accordingly, and has also been edited to clarify the reason for Silver Snail’s move.

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