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Thread: Vintage in stores?

  1. #1

    Vintage in stores?

    Again, I've been collecting since '96 and know almost nothing about the availability of vintage figs. prior other then what you've all posted. When did vintage officially leave the retail market? Were they still floating around in bargain bins in the late 80's? How about commic and collectible shops? There's comic shops by me that still sell vintage but it's dried up quite a bit. Prior to Ebay were there a lot more vintage in retail and collectible stores? It really makes me sick to know what I've missed out on, especially since I always thought about finding the old star wars toys someday. I guess I waited to long. Ever since '96 I've had to put out serious cash to acquire my collection.


  2. #2

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    I worked at a variety store in 1987 and they still had some Droids figs but nothing from the actual SW line. My first serious collecting endeavor was in 1993 and at that time, some comic stores had them and there were was a Starlog store that opened up where I got quite a few.
    There came to be a couple of Starlog stores but then they started dying out. For a vintage collector that place was heaven.

  3. #3

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    Starlog store like the magazine? Cool! So how much were they back then?

  4. #4

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    Hey guys--

    For those of you who don't remember the Starlog Chain... yes, it was a spin off child of Starlog Group, which published Starlog Magazine. And... for those of you who don't know, I loved this chain dearly and this part of my life, since I was one of the BUYERS FOR THE COMPANY. I purchased all the T-shirts and soft goods, gifts and toys... and most importantly... collectible toys.

    I was hired onto the company when there was just one store, and stayed with them for five years. They closed their last store about six months after I left. In fact, Hollywood Heroes was kind of founded on Starlog Inventory, since I was able to cut a deal with the heads of the company to purchase the entire collectibles inventory.

    I wanted to share some pics that I found tonight, from an old Starlog Franchise Brochure. These pics are from some of the Flagship stores in Paramus NJ, and Cardif Wales.

    The first is the famous "Display Case." I was responsible for all the inventory in these cases. We had three in each store, totaling something like 10,000 different SKUs. We had to make an special SKU number for each item, like "Luke Bespin ESB, "Luke Bespin ROTJ," "Luke Bespin loose complete." It was complex... but I loved it. You can see Star Wars, Batman, and other lines here... each one I hand picked from collections and toy shows around the country.

    Next, a few of shots from the Mall of America store and the one in "Kingston on the Thames UK." Mall of America was great, it was during the "HeyDay" of the Mall and we had so many people stopping by Starlog. We posted pics of the Celebs who shopped there, since Planet Hollywood was three doors down. Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis and family and even yes... George Lucas was there one day. In some past issue of Starlog there is a picture of Lucas in the store, holding a Starlog shopping back. He purchased two artbooks by fantasy artist Chris Achellios... I recall that vividly.

    Finally, the breakdown for all the stores under my power. I was responsible for the purchasing and allocation of inventory for all the stores, as well as training of managers.

    I was with the company as they moved from Paramus NJ to Clearwater Fl, then back to NJ. Those years were the best of my life and I learned more than I ever could anywhere else. My daily life consisted of nothing but purchasing Sci-Fi and Comic memorabilia and traveling to toy shows around the country. Sometimes I would be gone on a road trip for one month (like the time we purchased Bruce Zalkin's entire inventory in FL) but I loved every minute of it.

    Thanks for letting me indulge myself in a trip down memory lane... I appreciate it.

    Best to you all,

    Hollywood Heroes

  5. #5

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    Wow! Those pics are amazing. Thank you sooo much for sharing those! I miss those kind of stores and being able to see collectibles up close and personal like that before buying them! I can't describe just how amazing that first pic of the display case was to me! AMAZING! Now that's what dreams are made of!!!


  6. #6

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    It was cool seeing pics of the store again Jordan. I can tell you a funny story related to that. I bought many carded SW figures from the Ridgewood location which I think was the first to open. When I had to sell the following year, I sold most of them to the Paramus location. The guy in charge there (this was 1994) sounded excited on the phone when I told him what I had. When I showed up he lowballed me big time, claiming the stuff was all resealed! I didn't even bother telling the guy I had purchased them from a Starlog to begin with. I took the offer cause I needed the $$ and just left shaking my head.

  7. #7

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    wow awsome than you, i dont recall these? its a shame that something like this could never happen now.

  8. #8

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    The essential problem with stores like these is simple; you dont really NEED ANYTHING in them. Meaning, it's not like a food or clothing store where you have every day needs.

    Starlog's problems could be summed in a few points:

    1. The build out for the stores was too great. It cost anywhere from $250-$500K just to build the store. We had working lights, opening bay doors and graphics. The back of the stores in Ridgewood, King of Prussia and Mall of America were set up to look like cargo bays on Spaceships. They looked cool, but were expensive.

    2. Mall rents are high.

    3. Changing trends: We rode the Star Trek and STTNG wave of the early 90's for a long time, while Star Wars was "dorment." Sprinkle in some merchandise from X-Files, Xena and Hercules, Gerry Anderson and Red Dwarf and it generated even more sales. However, you can't live on that forever. South Park and Comics helped, but in the end, the changing trends kept folks from coming into what they initially believed to be a "Science Fiction" Store.

    You also need to remember, the early 90's was a time of the "themed" retail outlet (both store and food service). Remember, in those few years... Warner Brothers, Planet Hollywood, All Star Cafe, Fashion Cafe, Spy Cafe, all opened with "themes." In addition, "Dive" restaurant opened as well. All of them, expect for Planet Hollywood, are now out of business.

    4. Competition: When I first joined the company, we were the only game in town. Within the first five years, Big Entertainment and Tekno Comics opened stores and Kiosks in the same malls we were in. Then came "We're Entertainment." All failed.

    5. The Internet: Ahh...something new and untested. We mocked it at first and said... "Yeah right, like that's really going to hurt us." Well, Ebay kicked our butt and so did on-line retailers, who could keep costs down and pass along savings to its customers. Also, back then Toys R Us was the king and got all the merch faster and cheaper than we did. We sold figure for $7.99, Toys R Us had them for like $4.99.

    As for the future... I don't know if anything like this can be viable on a broad scale. People close to me know that I am in the midst of opening (with the help of some key backers) a Hollywood Heroes Cafe in NJ. The store will have glass cases filled with toys along the shelves as well, which will be for sale. One client has expressed opening one in Las Vegas... but I have yet to see if even the first restaurant/retail store will be successfull.

    Only time will tell.

    Best to all-
    Hollywood Heroes

  9. #9

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    Jordan ,

    is that store fit in NJ still there??? i remember being in garden state and seeing a store like that ,but i think it sold 'sience experiment ' sytle toys and kits???

    WANTED: Luke Farmboy, Bespin and Han Bespin on ESB card

  10. #10

    Re: Vintage in stores?

    I remember visiting the King of Prussia Starlog store when it existed in the mall. I saw my first Kenner metal ESB store display in person at that store infact!

    Buying vintage prototypes, snowtrooper rarities, & Kenner employee memorabilia

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