Lunar Distribution, a comic book distribution company, will locate its new operation center in New Haven, Indiana. The $832,000 project is expected to create 130 new jobs by the end of 2024.
The company plans to move into a brand-new facility just east of 10511 Rose Ave. and adjacent to U.S. Route 24 in Allen County, co-locating with Discount Comic Book Service and its sister company, InStockTrades. Lunar Distribution will lease the entire 150,000-square-foot structure and occupy about 100,000 square feet, subleasing the remainder to DCBS and InStockTrades. The facility was recently built as a shell building by the owners of Continental Diamond Tool.
Lunar Distribution, which currently employs 65 associates, will hire up to 90 new employees. DCBS/InStockTrades currently employs 32 associates in Indiana (in addition to about 30 in Tennessee) and will make up to 40 new hires, the local chamber noted.
“This is a huge step forward for us. Locating our operations in New Haven will allow for optimal efficiency,” said Christina Merkler, co-owner at Lunar Distribution. “Our commitment to customer service will allow for continued growth for years to come.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Lunar Distribution up to $625,000 in conditional tax credits and DCBS up to $325,000 in conditional tax credits, based on the companies’ job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the companies are eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the companies with additional hiring and training assistance.
“Our central location, pro-business environment, and talented workforce continue to draw businesses to Indiana,” said Interim Secretary of Commerce Jim Staton. “With resources designed to support growth from start to scale, Indiana is committed to building an ecosystem that attracts investment from businesses like Discount Comic Book Service and Lunar Distribution and enables them to compete on a global scale.”
Founded in 1999 DCBS has grown to become the largest online, direct-to-consumer comic and pop-culture retailer in the country from its facility on Calhoun Street in Fort Wayne. In 2004, the Merklers formed InStockTrades, a sister company, to focus on a specific segment of the DCBS product line. InStockTrades now occupies a 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Memphis and has seen double-digit growth in each of the last three years.
Lunar Distribution LLC was founded by the Merklers in April 2020 to fill the gap when another distributor decided to shut down amid the pandemic. In the following months, Lunar Distribution won a contract to become a national distributor and wholesaler for a major publisher. To accommodate the rapid growth, the company expanded into a 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 415 Ley Rd. in Fort Wayne, outgrowing a space on Calhoun Street.