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Why Essex? Black Knight Anime, Games & More

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2019
— Why Essex? #work

Interview with Valerie Tatro, Owner

Did you start a business less than a year after graduating from high school?  Yeah, me neither.  But Valerie Tatro did.  In 1995, Valerie opened Black Knight, a retail store in Vergennes that specialized in comic books and sports cards.  After several years in business, and a relocation of her home to Essex, she switched her business model to an online-based anime store.    

For those of you who are not familiar, anime is a blanket term that covers all types of Japanese hand-drawn and computer animation.  Anime is traditionally associated with animated media, but it can also include comics, DVDs, video games, and other forms of media. 

Fast forward to the late fall of 2018, and Valerie decided that it was time for Black Knight to move out of her basement and into an Essex storefront.  When I asked Valerie why she decided to open a physical storefront, one of the reasons she provided was that she wanted to give anime fans a physical “home” where they could shop and meet other enthusiasts.  Anime storefronts are difficult to find, and Valerie was able to think of only two other stores north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  This means that attracting customers from several states away is a critical part of her business model. 

Black Knight also hopes to meet a more localized need by offering tabletop games as well as card games such as Magic the Gathering and Pokemon.  Valerie hopes to run at least one gaming event per week.

Black Knight Anime, Games & More is located at 4 Kellogg Rd., right off of Susie Wilson Road.  Learn about current products and upcoming events on Facebook: 

Why Essex? “We live in Essex, and were lucky enough to find a well-priced retail location close to our home.” –Valerie Tatro

Why Essex? is a weekly(ish) column highlighting the people and places that make Essex an interesting and special place. Have an idea for the column? E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@

Photo Credits: Valerie Tatro & Essex Reporter