Takara Cafe becomes hot spot for manga collectors
The manga is more popular than ever. And while it seems the big retailers have a stranglehold on the market, the local US manga store Takara Cafe takes the competition head-on with incredible offers and a foundation built on a community you won’t find anywhere else.
Most major retailers these days are adequate at best when it comes to community engagement. Either they barely make the consumer feel involved or just not at all. But this is where Takara Cafe blows its competitors out of the water. With a community discord server that can also be used to accumulate reward points for the site, this 5-star rated local American business is focused on building a real community as the backbone that can be credited for its recent success.
Takara Cafe CEO Cory Thomulka has made building a community the main focus from the very beginning. Although he only recently entered the manga starting with demon slayer In December 2020, the manga seller launched his business with a Facebook group and community page earlier that year called “The Anime Pirates”.
“I would run these tournaments very similar to how Anime Corner has their polls actually“, said Thomulka. “Then I shared them en masse with all the anime groups on Facebook to gain visibility. Over time, the page became quite popular so, me being me, I wanted to monetize it. Why not do what you love and get paid to do it?“
Just as many businesses start, there are trials and tribulations. Thomulka will tell you that himself and even more on the official Takara Cafe Twitter. But coming up with the name “Takara Cafe” became the basis for this small business after a brief period of decision-making and listening to the voices of the community.
“I didn’t really think that [The Anime Pirates] was a very commercial name for a retail storefront,says Thomulka. “I ended up with Nakama Café and Takara Café. Cafe because in the end I wanted to open a manga cafe. Takara means treasure, so I thought it was cool, kinda related to One Piece, and when people shop with me, they get treasure. That seems good to me. Nakama means friends in Japanese, I didn’t think that was a bad name either, but my community at the time really took a liking to Takara Café. Also fun to note that my initials are CT and the company is TC.“
From there, Thomulka’s love for collecting manga and figurines only grew. So much so that he first tried to dive into the manga community on YouTube. But over time, he realized that a business selling manga was starting to look like the way to go. And now, thanks to social media and the hard work of Thomulka, Takara Cafe’s growth over the past 5-6 months has been staggering since the business started over a year ago. And while anyone from anywhere in the world can shop at Takara Cafe, Thomulka says he instead sees the “community saving as much money as possible in the hobby” due to the cost of expensive international shipping.
“I was always working one day job at a time and had to travel across the northeast,” Thomulka said. “It allowed me to shop manga at many different comic shops. When shopping at these comic/manga shops, I would talk to the employees/owners. Two, in particular, gave me my first two distributor recommendations. At the time, I was just like, “Wow! Can I sell manga!?”. So I literally went home and applied for the retail accounts with these distributors the same day I found out. The rest is history.
Takara Cafe Patreon and rewards
“The rest is history“Indeed. Takara Cafe has become the go-to place for manga collectors across the United States and Canada not only to buy their favorite manga, but also for a welcoming community. With an established Discord server and Patreon setup for the company that will give you deals on manga you won’t find anywhere else, Takara Cafe stands out.
“The two main ways to help grow the business would be to continue to grow the Patreon and launch Takara merchandise,“said Thomulka. “I see a much more direct impact with these sales compared to manga sales alone. I will not be able to develop the activity if I continue to sell only manga. These two things are the next expansions of my business that I will be focusing on for the rest of the year.”
Patreon isn’t just the only way to score reward points. Doing something as simple as leaving a review on the site can earn you points. And, of course, buying manga from the site can also do the same. Although some other manga sites do this too, there really isn’t any other site that’s better at saving money on manga collection. However, joining Takara Cafe Patreon is the best possible decision to save money.
One of the biggest advantages of Takara Cafe is its premium packaging. As a manga collector, it was a huge thing for me when I first ordered manga from here. No other major retailer comes close to Takara Cafe’s packaging and pristine manga condition (with free stickers with every purchase). Although recently overwhelmed by the number of orders that have started pouring in, the business is not faltering. The site is currently rated 5 out of 5 stars with nothing but wonderful things to say about the site. But don’t just hear it from me, let recent Twitter reviews confirm it too:
While we are still waiting for Takara Cafe merchandise to drop, after Takara Cafe on Twitter and joining the official Discord are the best options to stay up to date with everything happening in the company. One unique feature that Takara Cafe offers that others don’t is the constantly updated order spreadsheet, where you can see all pending orders and their updates, including yours. A very small, but simplified detail to track your order that you won’t find anywhere else.
Until then, Takara Cafe becomes something special. As Thomulka would say, it’s not “just a place to buy manga”. It’s a community. It is a place where manga collectors can converse with other people from all over the world. Whether talking about manga, reviewing it or swapping it, the Takara Cafe community creates the power of social media, personal dedication and mutual love for anime and manga is something that we, the fans, can’t ignore. And Thomulka made sure to let the community know with a heartfelt statement:
“I may still be growing as a brand, but the journey has only just begun. Takara Café has been in business for 15-16 months now, but the last 3-4 months have seen the greatest growth. The brand is growing faster than even I anticipated, and I can only continue to be grateful to my community. Without social media, it would have been nearly impossible for me to achieve what I have as a pure brick and mortar store without social media and an e-commerce community. This company and this community means the world to me, in short, thank you all.