Bill Mifsud, owner of Bill's Bullpen in downtown Hollister,is shown with a poster board of Wonderwoman inside his comic book store on Fourth Street. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

Bill’s Bullpen comic book store in downtown Hollister has chalked up its 35th year and counting. Owner Bill Mifsud said that Dec. 1 marked three-and-a-half decades of marketing a huge array of comic books, on top of sports apparel, sports cards, non-sports cards, shirts and caps, figurines, pennants and tons more.

“I found out over the years that you can’t just have one niche; I cover a lot of areas and I carry a lot of products,” Mifsud said. “I’ve learned over these years that you have to listen to your customers, get to know them and change with the times. And you can’t do that unless you’re here in the shop, on the floor making these valuable contacts.”

A wide array of sports cards is just a fraction of the inventory at Bill’s Bullpen. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

Mifsud estimates his store, at any one time, houses more than 25,000 comic books and scads of other goods in his 1,200-square-foot shop.

Bullpen came about in 1987 when Earthquake Cards and Comics sold its store. Mifsud’s father, Bill Sr., was recovering from a heart attack while Bill Jr. was shifting away from his job at Channel 11 in San Jose. Out of 25 people vying for the purchase, the Mifsuds emerged to grab the reins of the business. The title, however, eventually fell into Bill Jr.’s lap when Bill Sr. passed away in 2012.

“We’ve found our niche—it took a while—but people know we’re here,” Mifsud said. “And then there was Covid, where, at one point, I had to ask myself, ‘Are we going to be able to get through this?’ But we have this great landlady who gave us this lifeline with great rent and we were able to keep going.”

Mifsud, a 57-year-old Hollister native, called his business a “milestone” while recognizing “legendary” Hollister businesses that have also survived the test of time, such as McKinnon Lumber Co., opened in 1910, Paines Restaurant & Bar, around since 1929 and San Benito Glass, since 1961.

Splashed across his shelves are comics of the standards like Spiderman, Batman, Supergirl, Incredible Hulk and Wonderwoman, alongside modern products like Pokemon and Japanese anime books.

Bill’s Bullpen on Fourth Street has been a steady fixture in downtown Hollister for 35 years. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

“The quality of the books nowadays is unbelievable, the graphics and the art,” Mifsud said. “Buying and selling and trading is a big part of who we are as well. Someone can come in with a card they bought here 10 years ago and it might be worth a lot more now. Another fun part about our store is we sponsor Little League teams, which is our way of giving back to our community. We’re seeing families coming in—fathers—that were little kids shown in the plaques and photos that are now coming back again and again to the store with their kids. That’s why we call ourselves the family fun hobby store.”    

The business was awarded as the Retail Business of the Year by the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau in 2015.

“And there’s something for girls, boys, parents, older adults—a little bit of everything,” Mifsud added. “Coming in here, for some folks, is like stepping into the Way Back Machine. For some people Bill’s Bullpen helps them relive their childhood memories.”


Bill’s Bullpen is at 207 4th St., Hollister, or call 831.636.1180. Store hours are 11am-8pm. Monday through Friday, 10am.-8pm. Saturday and 11am.-7pm. on Sunday.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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