Lunar Distribution, sister companies plan to grow in New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Ind. — A fast-growing comic book distribution company has selected New Haven as its new home. Lunar Distribution LLC today announced plans to move into a brand-new facility in east Allen County, co-locating with Discount Comic Book Service (DCBS) and its sister company, InStockTrades. Combined, company leaders anticipate adding up to 130 new jobs and investing up to $832,000 by the end of 2024.

DCBS was founded in 1999 in the basement of the Merkler family’s Fort Wayne home. The company 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.

“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 companies will co-locate in a newly built facility just east of 10511 Rose Ave. in New Haven, adjacent to U.S. Route 24 and less than a half-mile from I-469. 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. Positions include customer service representatives, order pickers and packers, forklift drivers, tax specialists, and more. Interested applicants can email resumes to service@lunardistribution.com.

“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.”

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.

“This is a big win for our community,” New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael said. “The shell building that will house these companies is just being completed, and it’s already being filled by these growing businesses. That’s a strong testament to the business-friendly conditions we’ve created here in New Haven.”

About Lunar Distribution LLC

Founded in April 2020, Lunar Distribution is committed to providing our Direct Market partners the best products, price, and customer service. Our customers receive their merchandise quickly, accurately and as carefully packed as possible. We are continually growing and always striving to improve in every facet of the business. Learn more at lunardistribution.com.

About Discount Comic Book Service (DCBS)

Founded in 1999, DCBS is now the largest online retailer of pre-order comic books, graphic novels, toys & collectables. Focused on providing our customers with the best discounts while also executing optimal shipping and packaging processes. We strive to get our customers the best deals, but keep their collected merchandise in pristine condition from our warehouse to their doorstep. Learn more at dcbservice.com.

About InStockTrades

Created in 2004 as a sister company to DCBS, InStockTrades offers over 15,000 unique collected editions that are ready to ship. InStockTrades has experienced unprecedented growth in the last three years. We continue to provide the largest selection of trade paperbacks, hardcovers, and graphic novels at the best price. Learn more at instocktrades.com.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. GFW Inc. worked with state and local partners to assist Lunar Distribution, DCBS, and InStockTrades with their expansion plans. In 2020, GFW Inc. assisted 20 businesses in expansions or relocations in Allen County, resulting in more than 1,850 projected new jobs, more than $69 million in new annual payroll, and more than $169 million in new investment.