Hail Disaster at Mile High Comics


So much has transpired since my last newsletter that it is hard for me to remember it all. It all began at 3 PM on Monday afternoon, as I was speaking on the phone with a friend in my upstairs office at Jason St.. My conversation was completely normal until I heard a large "plock" sound coming from the skylight above my desk, followed by another, and then a veritable deluge of noise that made it impossible for me to hear the person on the other end of the line, even though I had them on speaker. It was hail! But, not just ordinary pea-sized hail. This hail was exceptionally large, and very, very hard.

Huge Storm Cloud

Because I have no windows, what I could not see from my office was the immensity of the storm that had suddenly subsumed not only our Mega-Store, but also nearly 25 square miles of northwest Denver. As the photo above clearly illustrates, the fury of this storm was beyond anything you would ever expect to see, except perhaps in a hurricane or an F-5 tornado. I have been witness to quite a few smaller tornadoes (and their accompanying rain/hail bands) and this was far more intense. While the powerful winds never became cyclonic, the hail ranged from golf ball size near our building, up to tennis ball size about a mile away.

As I ran downstairs to see what was going on, all 42 of our beautiful skylights (including the one over my desk...) simultaneously disintegrated under the bombardment of those huge hailstones. We had shards of sharp acrylic raining down everywhere in the store, followed by the unbelievable sight of an indoor hailstorm! Everyone had to take cover to keep from getting injured by these huge hunks of ice, as a direct hit could easily have caused broken bones, a concussion, or worse. Through sheer good fortune, no one was injured.

Hail Ball

While there were no customers or staff harmed by the storm, our store was severely impacted. Under each and every skylight we had some measure of damage to merchandise and fixtures. That damage was mitigated to some extent because our heroic staff members quickly put our numerous in-store 32-gallon trash cans to work as water receptacles. By the time the storm abated 20 minutes later, many of those trash cans were filled to the top, which prevented enormous quantities of water from flooding the store. They also laid down flattened Diamond boxes and sheets of plastic over our large arrays of long boxes, which also worked remarkably well.

When all facts are considered, we came through this epic storm surprisingly well. We had customers sheltering in the store during the storm, and we thus never actually closed. Our warehouse team immediately started the clean-up process, so much potential secondary damage was avoided by their quick thinking. As of this morning, the store is open for business, our online orders are shipping like clockwork, and we have a disaster mitigation team on hand tallying our losses for the insurance people. Considering that no one was injured, it could have been far worse...

Looking outside the warehouse

As regards our online business, I have yet to see where we lost any of the comics, books, or magazines that are a part of the website inventory. Because we have those items in densely packed storage areas, and wrapped in plastic, the hail seems to have (mostly) missed them. As a result, our online operations are just fine, and we are shipping orders without any delays. Absolutely no customer orders suffered any damage at all.

While our online fared rather well through this disaster, I estimate that we did lose at least $30,000 - $50,000 in product in the Mega-Store itself, and in those areas where we sort our newly arrived collections. The windshield of my minivan was also shattered, as was Nanette's side mirror. Our biggest loss of all may be our Mega-Store roof, however, as the remediation experts have pointed out that the huge hailstones hit with such impact as to displace the protective gravel, and thus cause significant damage to the actual roof membrane. We are already having water drip in places where there are no skylights, which means that the liner has been penetrated. In addition, all the sheet metal on the roof has been dented, including our HVAC. Preliminary estimates are that completely replacing our 60,000 square foot roof will exceed one million dollars. Damn...

Poker Flyer

I will close by requesting that those of you who shop at Jason St. to continue to do so as normal. The store is already cleaned up, and we are restocking quickly. Our awesome Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament to benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation will be held this Saturday as planned, starting at 11 AM. Please join us!

For those of you who shop with us online, please place an order with us, if you can. We have a 30% off KITTYPRIDE! codeword sale in effect for you right now on all of our back issue comics and magazines. A little bit of additional support during this difficult time would be very much appreciated. We are having to cover thousands of dollars in clean-up remediation costs out-of-pocket right now, pending eventual insurance settlements.

Happy collecting!

Chuck Rozanski,
President - Mile High Comics, Inc.
May 10, 2017


P.S. Cambridge made it though the storm just fine, but totally freaked when the skylights caved. She raced up the stairs to her gallery room, and took cover under a table. She's back to being her sassy self today.

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