If you're looking for a bit of escapism from reality, work, traffic, etc. Then Secret Headquarters might be exactly what you're looking for. As far as businesses go in the ever changing neighborhood of Silver Lake, The SHQ has seen it all. From world ending comic events to hip new coffee shops, Dave and his crew have been supplying Los Angeles with a space to discover new graphic novels and DIY merch for almost 17 years now. We popped over to our new neighbors space right next door and got a chance to learn more.
Hey Dave, for those that don't have the pleasure of knowing you. Please introduce yourself.
Hi, I'm Dave, co-owner of Secret Headquarters. I also run SHQ Distro, Santa Monica Airlines and do all kinds of other things to keep it interesting. I have a wife and a kid, ride motorcycles and try to keep moving all the time.
Where are you from originally and how long have you called LA home?
I grew up outside Miami and have been in Los Angeles since early 2004.
Secret Headquarters is definitely a staple in the neighborhood but also LA as a whole. What took you down the path of wanting to open a comic shop and when did you open the doors?
It was time to start working for ourselves and we decided to open a skateshop. We quickly learned that hardgoods don't pay the bills. Since we weren't interested in becoming a sneaker store, it was time to look at other interests. My business partner David Ritchie was the idea and name for SHQ all ready to go, and that settled it. We opened in August 2005 with like 100 books on the shelves and nearly no furniture. Silverlake was kinda different at the time, so it was a little rough at first, but we were able to grow with the changes.
Those that have been in the neighborhood for some time now have an affinity for Vacation Vinyl, what some would call an LA institution. What was your involvement with Vacation and who was your favorite act that played there?
I was one of the four founders of Vacation. It was great right? Timing was simultaneously amazing and terrible. I'd probably have to say OFF!
SHQ doesn’t just sell comics. You guys also have some of the best Merch from any comic shop around. What’s the inspiration behind the pieces and the iconic DOOM product?
I don't know anything about them. Masked people just kick that stuff out of the back of a truck.
You guys also showcase a lot of independent artists on your shelves. What’s the process there?
We seek out stuff that we like, and stuff that we think the neighborhood will be into. Sometimes we get submissions that work out great, but usually keeping our eyes to the ground gets the goods.
Sunset Junction has been in constant change throughout the years, what would you say is the most important quality in having the longevity you have and servicing your community?
I think sticking to the basic ideas of what we like to carry, and not trend bouncing, has helped keep up around.
Favorite food spot?
Whoa, this is the tough one. United Bread and Bakery has killer empanadas. I like to get a couple and eat them out of the bag as I walk back to the shop.
What’s on the horizon for SHQ?
Have we landed on Mars yet?