Bob’s Bullpen was founded by Robert C. LeFevre of Alpena, Michigan. Robert was born May 7th. 1978 and is known by friends and family as Bob or Bobby. Bob excelled in art at a very young age and had his first published artwork while in 2nd. grade. He graduated high school with Honors in Art in 1997 and attended ivy league art schools majoring in illustration and fine arts. After achieving the Dean’s List and ranking in the top of his class, Bob was hired out his senior year to take over the illustration duties of a syndicated comic strip. Throughout the following years Bob created, wrote and drew his own books for Image Comics, designed and drew high profile jobs in toys, packaging art, video game conception, National TV commercials storyboards and comics for clients such as Hasbro, Cheetos, Wrigley’s Gum, Irwin Tools, Adidas, Teenage Mutant NinjaTurtles and Transformers.
Seizing an opportunity to fulfill another lifelong goal of owning and operating his own comic shop, Bob bought the entire inventory of a shop going out of business and acquired a storefront in a district of his childhood hometown that he felt would soon be experiencing an economic revitalization.
Bob opened the doors to Bob’s Bullpen on Free Comic Book Day that landed on his birthday in May of 2015. The name of the store came from the idea that
a Bullpen is made up of many elements working together to get the job done. Bob got this name from the legendary comic bullpens of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby that Bob aspired to be like when he worked professionally as an illustrator. One of the original aspects of the Bullpen was to interact with interested and potential customers through several outreach programs in the form of free comic book give-away events throughout the year. Ultimately giving away over 6 thousand books each and every year for National Free Comic Book Day, 4th of July and Halloween. This community building practice is continued to this day.
The Bullpen offered a wide variety of products from the start along with Pull Memberships to help ensure everyone would get the items they wanted as they came out and Comic Raffles to reward people for choosing the Bullpen, a brick and mortar hometown store over competitive online markets.
Having been a lifelong fan of comics, Bob knew the comic market like any market can fluctuate. His next move was to diversify his brand with products outside of comics with items that appealed to the same clientele and services that where separate from retail but worked in conjunction with the brand of the store.
This first step in the diversification of the Bullpen was when it expanded into a recently empty storefront next door by joining them through the inside. This new addition opened as a specialty hot dog joint themed in wild and crazy images of bulls, dogs and a combination of the two geared towards a pop culture comic styled interior design.
The unique, fun and always changing food options through dinein, take-out or delivery brought in new customers to experience the entire store and diversified the Bullpen in a way that only retail can’t do. Bob always said, “No matter what happens to the economy, everyone has to eat.”
The next expansion came in the form of a theater and an 80’s themed arcade that would work hand in hand with the restaurant and retail store offering free game play when you buy a value meal and discounts on merchandise as part of a gift registry if the facility was rented out for a private event.
This symbiotic relationship between retail, food and event venue formed one hybrid cohesive engine that helped power through the World Covid Pandemic and helped Bob’s Bullpen become a stronger entity. The Bullpen is happily serving customers daily while continuing to grow and build even bigger and more diverse services with a stronger more personalized customer base, just as it focused on from the very start through its community building efforts.
The goal of Bob’s Bullpen through everything that we do is to give back to the community because we are part of the community.