SALT LAKE CITY - Thousands of masked men and women prepare to descend upon Salt Lake City as the third Annual Comic Con gets started Thursday.
Greg Gage owns a local comic store, Black Cat, in the Sugar House area. He said this week is one of the best for business.
"I'd say my business goes up 15 percent," Gage said. "For a small business, this week is huge."
In its second year, the annual Comic Con had nearly 120,000 participants, and those numbers could rise this year.
"I don't know how you can get much bigger," Gage noted. "It's huge."
But Gage won't be one of the thousands of Comic Con goers wearing costumes and masks. He says he's more in line with the traditional crowd, but he doesn't knock those who prefer it.
"It's all about having fun, but you have to commit," Gage said.
Gage says costumes should be authentic. In fact, some Cosplay goers work on their costumes months before the event rolls around. Others, choose to rent their outfits. This year, that could be a tricky proposition as costumes are flying off the shelf.
"It gets crazy around Comic Con," said Laura Bedore, owner of Mask Costumes in Mill Creek.
"People want the chest piece, the flashing lights. People want the authenticity for Cosplay," she adds.
Bedore says that when Comic Con first came to Salt Lake City in 2013, her store wasn't prepared.
"People would say this isn't authentic leather," Bedore noted about her costumes. "They needed the real thing, the authentic stuff."
But finding those costumes just days away from the event, might be the biggest challenge.
Bedore says most of her Cosplay costumes are rented out. However, newer items are due into the store in the next day. Other stores like Farina's Costumes and McGrew Studios also carry unique costumes that would cater to the Comic Con crowd.