BJ's Country Corner, Villa Park. IL. Longshot...anyone remember it?
2 2

19 posts in this topic

1,382 posts

So nostalgia gripped me, and when I was a kid I lived in the Chicago Suburbs, a town called Villa Park.

 

There was a place called BJ's Country Corner. It was mostly antiques, bric-a-brac, but he did stock new release comics, and had a wall of short boxes with mostly Bronze age books. This would be early to mid 1980's. I remember the smell of old paper, and he would price the back of the comics in pencil (most stuff was under 65 cents for Bronze Comics that were 35 cent cover price and below). He had another section in back where he kept the X-Men, because at they were the hot book at the time, and he did have some Silver Age X-Men in there. But again, mostly Bronze Age comics. I do know at one time he told me he had a X-Men #1 he was willing to sell for $500. At that time $500 was a lot of money for an early teenager. Should have save my First Communion money.

 

Question- Has anybody on these boards ever frequented the place? I think it was on Ardmore Ave. There is nothing online I can find about it. It was an old shop, run by a guy in his 60's. Probably closed pre internet days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,590 posts

BJ's Country Corner was, indeed, on Ardmore in Villa Park. The owner was Hank (something) and BJ was Hank's wife's name so he named the place after her. He was a good guy who ran a Saturday con a few times a year in the late 70s / early 80s. I believe it was nicknamed Relax-a-Con because it was so laid back.

 

I bought a Red Raven 1 from Hank for a decent price. He didn't pay much for back issues and liked making a quick profit when he got something good.

 

Nice memories.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
486 posts

Yes, it was the first place I ever bought old comics. I loved that place. It closed in 1990 if I am remembering right, I still have the flyer for their going out of business sale when they had everything 50 percent off or more. I got a bunch of comics there then for cheap. I think they moved to Arizona and opened a store there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
486 posts

I guess it was 1989, not 1990 that they closed. I still miss that place and miss that smell of old paper it had, some of the comics I bought there still have that great smell lol

001.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,194 posts
There was a place called BJ's Country Corner. I think it was on Ardmore Ave.

Is this it?

 

 

Shop.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
486 posts
On 2/6/2017 at 2:15 AM, Domo Arigato said:

Is this it?

 

 

Shop.jpg

That's it. It was painted red back when it was BJ's. I drive by it ever once and awhile when I am in that area, such nostalgia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,415 posts

Looks like a cool store! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,382 posts

Wow thanks everybody.  Yes that looks very familiar, especially the front windows, and you are correct Catman, it was red (and what a great flyer artifact).   Such a big part of my early 1980's childhood.  I used to walk down there from Church on Sundays, then walk home, about a 1 1/2 miles .    I was into GI Joe, and Moon Knight back then.   I also picked up many Iron Man Bronze age issues there, and my first Silver Age purchase ever, an X-Men #47.   Unfortunately, those books are long gone, and I have to rebuild those particular runs.   Thanks again! 

Edited by Mercury Man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,610 posts

Yep, I remember it well, having grown up in Villa Park (on the most southern side, so it was actually a long bike ride as a kid to B.J's!). It was on Ardmore and it was red brick back in the day. I started going there when there were no comic boxes and all the comics were stacked in grocery bags trimmed to about one foot high; plus, there were still some grocery items. Over the years I bought comics, paperbacks, postcards, etc. there. I attended many of the "Relax-a-cons" and probably at least half my comics were purchased at these cons!

I have some flyers and at least one newspaper article that I'll scan at some point and post here.

p.s. the owner's name was Hank Franklin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,382 posts

Please do PopKulture, and yes, Hank sounds familiar.   They had baseball cards too, but those were pretty much picked over.  I had a friend with two older brothers who cleaned out his Hall of Famers from the 1950's/1960's. 

Edited by Mercury Man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4,590 posts
On 2/10/2017 at 8:59 AM, PopKulture said:

Yep, I remember it well, having grown up in Villa Park (on the most southern side, so it was actually a long bike ride as a kid to B.J's!). It was on Ardmore and it was red brick back in the day. I started going there when there were no comic boxes and all the comics were stacked in grocery bags trimmed to about one foot high; plus, there were still some grocery items. Over the years I bought comics, paperbacks, postcards, etc. there. I attended many of the "Relax-a-cons" and probably at least half my comics were purchased at these cons!

I have some flyers and at least one newspaper article that I'll scan at some point and post here.

p.s. the owner's name was Hank Franklin.

(thumbsu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14,560 posts

I never visited the store, but I do remembering buying books from them at the Chicago Minicons in the '80s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,382 posts
On 2/12/2017 at 10:32 AM, 143ksk1 said:

I never visited the store, but I do remembering buying books from them at the Chicago Minicons in the '80s.

Cool!  

Edited by Mercury Man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 post

I grew up in Villa Park. I lived in the apartments on Princeton a block away from BJ’s in the 1980’s. I used to go in all the time and get GI JOE comics and Mad Magazines! He had a TON of back issue MADs. It was my first comic book shop and I have many beloved memories of hanging out there. I only wish someone had a pic of the place from back in the day...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 post

I just started going through my collection of comic books, and as I flip some of them over I can see in Pencil 35 cents or 50 cents... and I know those are the ones I bought there.. yes it really brings back memories... yes the smell of old paper.. I bought every comic I could there in the 70'sACT358b.thumb.jpg.d0b5c99632c17f43b8b43fa544daf801.jpg and early 80's that I did not have yet. Must have bought hundreds of them as I had a job and lived at home.. Hank was the nicest guy, reminded me of Mr. Rogers.  I went to the Relax a Cons a lot too..  I visited every place I could drive to, to buy comics, Moondog's in Mt Prospect, and a lot of old stores in Old Town (Chicago) in amongst head shops and ripley's believe it or not.  The comics I bought at BJ's were not always in the best condition.. but they were issue's to complete my collect.. as I am pricing them them now even in good condition (which is not that great) they have become worth 6-15$ a piece now.  my collection is about 5,000 comics mainly DC..(I was a superman and green lantern fan) and taking on Marvel was more than I could afford to start buying. I still remember paying $60 for Silver age Green Lantern #1 and that was the most money I ever paid for a comic at the time... I quit buying comics in the late 80's or early 90's as I was Married... somehow all the comics managed to survive.. getting ready to start selling them... attached is image of the backside of One I am sure I bought at BJ's

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
486 posts
Posted (edited)

All of the hundreds of comics I bought at BJ's have the price in pencil in the upper left hand corner of the back cover without any cent or dollar signs and rarely ever a decimal point either and so many are hard to read they are so sloppily written. And yes that smell, it's one of my favorite smells ever. All the time I will open a comic I got there just to sniff it and be transported back in time to digging through boxes of comics there. It's such a unique smell there's nothing like it and the whole store smelled like that, it was heaven.

005.thumb.JPG.90109cef1cbbc1b8e0dd751bfbc3a219.JPG

And since the picture of the flyer I posted before is gone, here it is again...

003.JPG.4a4546b380f5b1c8323ab4a0d549bd3f.JPG

Edited by catman76

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,382 posts

Funny, I was up visiting some family in January *thank you POLAR VORTEX, and late one night was doing some errands around town, and drove by, for another look.   

The building is still there, looks a bit different from what I remember, but I would spend hours there just digging through boxes.  Then I would take the long walk home, usually walking on the train tracks that picked up behind the Jewel/Osco.   Childhood!  Kids today just don't understand. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,194 posts
30 minutes ago, Mercury Man said:

Funny, I was up visiting some family in January *thank you POLAR VORTEX, and late one night was doing some errands around town, and drove by, for another look.   

The building is still there, looks a bit different from what I remember, but I would spend hours there just digging through boxes. 

I posted a current picture of it from Google maps back in 2017, but it's no longer showing up.

Here's another one:

Store.thumb.jpg.143e2efcbeff23e861f587538c06de31.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 post

Passed away in 2017. Great memories from BJ's.

https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tucson/obituary.aspx?n=henry-albert-franklin&pid=183988511

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
2 2