Cathie Anderson

Big Brother Comics finds new home in midtown Sacramento

Comic store owner Kenny Russell said he’s looking forward to showing Sacramento some love for all the help he received after a fire left his store without a home.
Comic store owner Kenny Russell said he’s looking forward to showing Sacramento some love for all the help he received after a fire left his store without a home. Courtesy photo

Sacramento’s Kenny Russell hopes to reopen Big Brother Comics as early as next week at 920 20th St., after a July 3 fire left him unable to do business a few blocks away at 17th and J streets, a site his business had occupied for 10 years.

“The firemen showed up so fast, like in five minutes,” Russell said. “I grabbed a bunch of valuable stuff that I had in the safe. I was freaking out, and I could barely open it. … I think I tried to open it, like, seven times. I thought it was a very good possibility that the fire was in the whole building.”

Russell, 37, said he was numb with shock for several days after the fire and he’s grateful that his sister, Temecula resident Sarah Russell, drove to town to help him manage everything. She organized volunteers, he said, and got a GoFundMe campaign launched. That crowdsourced effort raised $15,000 in as little as two weeks; it’s money Russell said has made it possible to get his new store off the ground.

Russell estimated that he lost a quarter to a third of his inventory, or $100,000 worth of merchandise, in the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Russell will use his savings, money from the GoFundMe campaign and any future insurance settlement to start over, he said. He said he has been overwhelmed by the generosity of both strangers and a loyal group of patrons.

“The first person who came in, he said, ‘You need a beer,’ and he went to BevMo and bought a six-pack of beer,” said Russell, who also lived in the building. “That was funny because beer was the last thing on my mind. He said, ‘You need to calm down. Here’s a six-pack of beer,’ and then tons of people came and asked, ‘What can I do to help? Do you need stuff moved?’ Within, like, six hours, my entire apartment was in a U-Haul and then in storage, all without me doing anything.”

Russell said he’ll be able to show more gratitude from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 9 with a grand reopening event at his new location. The new store will boast 3,000 square feet, making it a third larger than Big Brother’s previous home. ...

My Team Sphere scores: Sacramento technology entrepreneur Medo Eldin told me he got a big boost late last month when the Sacramento Republic FC, Sacramento’s pro soccer team, informed him that the club’s youth sports teams will begin using his My Team Sphere app.

With the free mobile app, formally introduced Jan. 10, coaches, parents and players can share calendars, messages, photos and videos in a social network accessible to only those they provide a code to join.

“Soccer is seen as a major growth opportunity in the U.S., and our entry into the pro sports arena will have far reaching implications,” Eldin said. “Not only does our partnership with the Republic act as an endorsement for the local soccer community, which is comprised of over 150,000 players, but it also grants us the credibility to pursue deals with other pro properties in other sports.” ...

Roseville resident Medo Eldin has had roughly 3,200 people adopt his free mobile app, My Team Sphere, since he released it Jan. 10. It helps those involved with youth sports communicate, share photos and organize schedules.

Local gym flexes muscle: Kris Dim’s Fitness Rock, which operates off Exposition Boulevard, is celebrating a big win for one of its members: Casey Oliver secured her professional bodybuilding card after competing last weekend at the 2016 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships in Las Vegas.

Dim, who co-owns the gym with Joey Calhoun, said Oliver and four male clients went to the amateur event in hopes of scoring a pro card. Two of the men – Cane Bishop and Akaash Pardesi – got close, he said, but weren’t able to pull off wins.

“Casey won her class in women’s physique,” Dim said. “You’ve got four categories for women: bikini, figure, women’s physique and bodybuilding.”

Dim, of course, won the overall light-heavyweight division at the NPC USA back in 2003 and subsequently competed for the title of Mr. Olympia before a surgical accident left his lower body paralyzed. He has continued to coach athletes and to train himself at 1807 Tribute Road.

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee