Women of Impact: Tiffany Melius, Owner of The Perky Nerd
Tiffany Melius’ early foray into the world of comics began with her hero, Captain Marvel.
“I went on a comic book hunt with my husband and he was like you should find a comic, too. I was definitely overwhelmed by the choices. Then I saw Carol Danvers on the cover of a Ms. Marvel issue and loved everything about her look. A badass in a leotard with thigh high boots that can fly. I’m in. I got all the issues they had and then never stopped reading. I loved her strong personality and how she seemed like someone I would want to be friends with. Plus, she had a cool style and a cat named Chewy,” she shares.
Tiffany Melius is the owner of The Perky Nerd, a unique alternative to the traditional comic bookstore in Burbank, CA. It is the comic bookstore the neighborhood didn’t think it needed, a haven for all things geek with feminine touch. An art gallery, gaming space, collectibles shop, cold brew coffee counter and comic bookstore are all housed inside the store. Since it opened its doors in 2016, Tiffany and her team welcome— all comic book fans—from the newly initiated to the veterans of fandom and everyone in between.
The Perky Nerd provides a space for all to feel welcome and comfortable to explore and evolve in their interests while making lifelong friends who share in a common interest. Motivated to make a positive impact on the community, she provides a venue where people can escape their routines and the general hustle of the daily grind, somewhere where she herself would want to go if she didn’t open her own store.
Initially, Tiffany wanted to open a cat café because of her love of both cats and coffee. But, it was a much bigger financial venture than she expected. The cat café evolved into a comic café hybrid after she visited a woman owned comic book shop in Wisconsin.
“Being a very eclectic person and loving so many fandoms, I thought let’s put together all the things I love at cons. Like artists alley by having local artists participate in art shows and featuring some of my favorites on a daily basis with their prints on hand to buy. Funko Pops, apparel, bags, home goods (we’ve actually had an R2D2 french press in stock) just random awesome things like that in one place. Plus, form the community by having book clubs and gaming in addition to supporting the behind the comics with signings and panels.”, Tifanny shares her vision.
The name Perky Nerd is a merger of an emphasis on both the coffee and nerd aspects, a place in New York called the “Perky Peacock” and a love for Central Perk on television series, FRIENDS.
Because a female designed, owned and operated comic bookstore is a rarity. Tiffany said: “Running a business, not to mention a brick and mortar, is a beast. There’s so much that goes into it, including tremendous stress about money. I’m just going to be honest—I worked the store seven days a week with a baby on my hip and I questioned my decision daily, especially when no one comes in during the day because they are at work. Being a woman in this industry was something on my mind, but I didn’t have too much time to think about it because I was constantly planning and running events to get our name out there and get more awareness of our existence. I’ve had such a positive reception in Burbank on Magnolia Blvd. It’s made things easier and not going to lie, cuter. I got lucky finding such a perfect storefront that attracts foot traffic, even if I’m not by Porto’s (bakery).”
The Perky Nerd also hosts several events, from signings to book club meetings to the gaming tournaments. One of their favorite (and most popular) event was the Carrie Fisher Tribute Art show, in honor of the late Carrie Fisher. The store was packed with cosplayers and fans and the event included a light saber salute as well as a glitter bomb outside of the store to celebrate the late Ms. Fisher’s favorite thing: glitter.
This year, The Perky Nerd was voted the Best Comic Book shop by Burbank’s Best 2022. You can find out more about The Perky Nerd on their website or social media @theperkynerd!