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Letter: Family Fare was among the few, if not only, sellers of Jughead comics

It is with sadness I note the impending closure of the Moorhead Family Fare grocery store. True, it seems that the free market has spoken, and its message that it prefers alternate means of obtaining foodstuffs and household goods cannot be denied. However, the loss of this particular supermarket means the absence of a commodity offered by no other such store in town: Archie comics digests.

Measuring 6 1/2" by 5", these comic titles are one of the few magazines specifically printed in a convenient small format for grocery store checkout aisles. Despite this obvious asset, other stores in town opt to fill these spots only with Reader's Digest, horoscope and recipe booklets, and in some cases, children's DVDs. None of these titles tempt me as I'm waiting in line to buy my items, but I never pass up a chance to catch up on the adventures of America's favorite teenager and his pals, and I'm sure I am not the only one. "Archie" is the name on everyone's lips these days, and the public demands access to the comedic tales and foibles of such characters as Jughead and Sabrina, the teenage witch. To deny them the convenience of simply picking them up as part of their weekly shopping trip is, quite simply, to leave money on the table.

We all know grocery stores like to stock their checkout aisles with brightly-colored products that appeal to children, in hopes of making last-minute sales. Instead of sugary candy or yet another mind-numbing Minions film, parents appreciate the opportunity to provide a comic book, which encourages reading and artistic skills.

As Forum readers are no doubt aware, the Archie digests reprint stories from throughout the company's almost 80 years of history, including work by such legendary artists as Dan DeCarlo, Stan Goldberg, Samm Schwartz and Harry Lucey. These classic stories are a veritable master class in slapstick humor and gag writing, as well as providing unique snapshots of the changing face of Americana throughout the 20th century. Furthermore, Archie Comics have made a concerted effort through the years to introduce a more diverse cast of characters to reflect a more diverse America. Recall, too, that Betty and Veronica rank among the most popular comics characters for girls of all time. The appeal of these stories is universal, and they are appropriate for any age.

As it is now clear that grocery politics are in play in our cities--that markets must now vie to provide the goods and services demanded by their customers--I urge those that remain open to consider picking up where Family Fare is set to leave off, and stock your shelves with a variety of Archie-series digests and/or double-digests. I will thank you, the public will thank you, and the profits you see will speak for themselves.

Thielges lives in Fargo.