Cards and Comics Connection

Manager Shannon Vinecke and owner Robert Aranguren run Cards and Comics Connection. (Andy Li, Community Impact Newspaper.)
Manager Shannon Vinecke and owner Robert Aranguren run Cards and Comics Connection. (Andy Li, Community Impact Newspaper.)

Manager Shannon Vinecke and owner Robert Aranguren run Cards and Comics Connection. (Andy Li, Community Impact Newspaper.)

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Find your fandom at Cards and Comics Connection.
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Cards and comics line the store. (Andy Li, Community Impact Newspaper.)
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Magic: The Gathering is one of the most popular activities the store hosts. (Andy Li, Community Impact Newspaper.)
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Funko Pops, vinyl figurines of pop-culture icons, have become increasingly popular at the store. (Andy Li, Community Impact Newspaper.)
At Cards and Comics Connection, comic books line the walls, while gaming tables fill the store. It is a place where gamers and collectors can come and feel at home.

Owner Rob Aranguren said he first became interested in comics as a young man. After moving to the Conroe area in 2007, he opened the store at 1717 N. Frazier St., Ste. H, Conroe, and has expanded twice, most recently in 2018.

“It just took us a long time to develop a clientele up here because back then, the only thing for advertisement was MySpace. Social media wasn’t as big back then," Aranguren said. “The first weekend, I set up comics, and no one bought comics. ... It took a while for the comics to start taking off. ... If you’re reading a series of comics or collecting comics, you’re constantly in here supporting the store.”

Manager Shannon Vinecke said she started coming to the store with her kids to play the card game Magic: The Gathering. Vinecke said her kids and many of the kids who come to the store are autistic and find community in the store.

“You get the gamers, and then we get the pop collectors. We get [Dungeons and Dragons] players. We get lawyers, cops, paramedics, all sorts of people. Not just nerdy people,” Vinecke said.

Vinecke said some may think only children enjoy comics or card games, but the store has a loyal adult following. And when children do come in, Vinecke said she does her best to make it a family affair.

“I always made a rule: If your kids are going to play, then so are you. So I teach the parents,” Vinecke said. “When their kids want to play, they don’t have to wait till Thursday to play, they can play at home. But it brings your kids together.”

In the last several years, Vinecke said the store has faced several changes. She said the store has fought to compete with online sellers such as Amazon by offering discount and loyalty perks. But there have also been changes for the better.

“Before, there were always men in here,” Vinecke said. “And there’s more women that come in and play games now. And more women collect comics. We have a lot of female subscribers, and that’s been different. That’s changed a lot in the last eight years.”

Whether someone is a super fan or just interested in a certain comic or franchise, Vinecke said the store is open for anyone.

“I think everybody’s nerdy. Someone’s always a fan of something,” Vinecke said.
By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


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