Sat 12/14 @ 5-9PM
Sun 12/15 @ noon-6PM
Human nature suggests we all look to relive the best parts of our childhood. For many folks, that’s in the form of toys.
Depending on your age, such nostalgia could be memorabilia related to Star Wars, Transformers,” G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Or perhaps it’s playing video games from game systems of yesteryear.
Whatever the case, if you want to relive your youth in Northeast Ohio, one of the stores that can help you scratch that itch is STAR POP vintage + modern, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary with a party & holiday sale taking place December 14 and 15 at its Waterloo Arts District location.
CoolCleveland talked to STAR POP vintage + modern’s owner Troy Schwartz about the decade anniversary.
CoolCleveland: Congrats on the anniversary. Let’s go back a decade. What exactly was going on in 2009 that led you to open up STAR POP vintage + modern?
Troy Schwartz: I’ve been selling items online since 2001. Also, a handful of times a year I was setting up at conventions or toy shows. That allowed me to have that face-to-face experience — really interacting with the customers and seeing them happy with what they were buying. Also, I was reminiscing with them about why they wanted to buy back something that they had as a child or always wanted but never had. It was pretty stark sitting all alone buying and selling things on the Internet at home. That was just not a lot of fun. I didn’t really feel I was part of anything bigger or the community.
CC: So how did you end up on Waterloo Road?
TS: Through sort of happenstance, I was talking about doing maybe a pop-up or some sort of consignment at a long-gone storefront on Waterloo. They were talking about maybe bringing me in some capacity. I realized there was a vacant storefront next to them. It just kind of rolled from there. I love the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, going to see concerts there. I was friends with other business owners on the street and it just made sense to make that jump.
CC: Considering nostalgia and memorabilia is your passion, how did you envision STAR POP vintage + modern?
TS: I think for me one of the defining things is that it is sustainable. When I started out, it was certainly 90 percent secondhand. That sort of helped me sort of accept that the store itself could be a force for good and sort of fulfill a deeper meaning for myself and hopefully for customers was sort of going that last little bit of trying to make sure virtually everything in the store comes in secondhand. That was part of it. That didn’t come at the beginning, but it did come quickly. Also, I really wanted to be able to take a sort of broader look at things that were cool, things that were maybe collectable and maybe just functional and fun and interesting that people could use or be excited about.
CC: How has STAR POP vintage + modern evolved over the last 10 years?
TS: It’s a one-person operation, so depending on how hectic I am it can be more toy-centric than other things. That’s definitely the case at the moment. It’s always been toy-centric and at the moment it’s maybe more than I like but we’re working on it.
CC: Looking back over the last decade, what were the biggest hurdles that faced STAR POP vintage + modern?
TS: The easy answer is surviving a year or two of construction. The streetscape was great when it was done, but horrible while we lived through it. Maybe a more abstract answer is just competing with the Internet. I left the Internet to do brick and mortar, but obviously it’s a time where many brick and mortar stores are disappearing. Hopefully, we’re offering service, quality and the ability to touch things in person and to know what you’re actually buying that makes it worth coming into the shop.
CC: Now that STAR POP vintage + modern survived its first decade, will you be around in 10 years celebrating its 20thanniversary?
TS: I have to believe. If not, what the heck am I doing to do with myself?