ST. CLOUD -- For over 30 years Granite City Comics has been the place to go to get your superhero fix. The only comic book store in central Minnesota is our fifth stop in our Thriving Local series.

"The store started in 1986 with the previous owner. I started working for him, summer of 1987."

Tim Schulte took over the store in 1993. However, times have changed since then. Back in the day, he says it was all about the old stuff.

"We used to be big on back issues because there was no internet, no eBay so to get your back issues, which was the older [comics] you had to go from store to store to store."

Now new issues, graphic novels and games are highly sought after. Schulte says he believes the store has already defeated one it's most evil villains.

"The digital age kind of came up and it didn't take off because people like to hold a physical copy."

Customers obviously help keep the store open. Schulte says there's just something about the way a new comic book smells...

"The smell of the books, holding the physical paper is a lot better than the digital. The value - a lot of our customers are from this area and they just like supporting local businesses instead of oh yeah I can get it cheaper but if I get it cheaper the stuff that I want to look at I won't be able to see it because there won't be a store in town to buy it."

Comic books can also be educational. Schulte says people who take up reading comic books often broaden their vocabulary, are exposed to new forms of art and learn a little bit of history sometimes.

"There are [people] that learn a little bit of history because some of the comics are based off of some [period] in history. The Thor comic book, a lot of that is Norse mythology."

Like most comic book fans the passing of Stan Lee has left Schulte reminiscing about the man who created his favorite superhero, Spider-Man.

"He was always nice to everybody that he talked to. I've never heard him having a sour word to anybody."

Schulte met Stan Lee twice before he died.

As for the future of Granite City Comics, Schulte says he doesn't plan on leaving anytime soon.

If you have a suggestion for a business that's thriving locally here in central Minnesota, let us know! Email chrissy@wjon.com