A blast to the past

Local ‘nostalgia mall’ offers unique collectible experience

By Leila Beem Núñez, Editor

For those wishing to take a trip back to their childhood memories and loves, Manchester may just have the spot.

Opened in March of this year, A Blast to the Past Nostalgia Mall offers a range of collectible items, from sports memorabilia to video games to old toys. The business is located at 2116 Woodbury Hwy.

James Colwell, owner of the store who operates the business along with his wife, Kelly; son, Wesley and daughter-in-law, Rebecca, said A Blast to the Past got established after years of the family setting up at flea markets to display their collectibles. Colwell said flea markets didn’t offer exactly what they needed.

James Colwell, owner of A Blast to the Past Nostalgia Mall in Manchester, along with his son, Wesley Colwell, and grandson, Jordan Colwell, 10, stand in front of the store’s rec-ords section. The store features a range of collectibles, from sports memorabilia to old toys. (Staff photo by Leila Beem Núñez)

“We weren’t able to spread out and put everything we had in one location,” Colwell said. “This became available to us in February, and so we decided that it made more sense for us to put our collectibles but also to give others an opportunity to put their stuff that they want to sell, and have like-minded things in the same area.”

The store features several booths where different vendors sell their items, though Colwell noted that about 90 percent of the store’s wares are the family’s own.

Items range from 60s and 70s specialty records to Star Wars toys and memorabilia to baseball cards. A Blast to the Past is also a carrier of Magic: The Gathering, or MTG, virtual cards dating back about 25 years, and of Pokémon collector cards.

Colwell noted that A Blast to the Past is different from a flea market in that niche collectibles in good condition are primarily what are offered, in a concentrated location. The store features 2,500 feet of space in the front, and is planning to expand to add about 1,200 square feet available in the back by the first of the year.

“It’s a specialty thing. That way when someone travels six miles or 60 miles, they can actually find what they’re looking for instead of having to go to an antique mall and going through 60 booths and not even finding what they’re looking for,” Colwell said, recalling a recent customer from Seattle who was excited to find a clear vinyl David Bowie record.

“This way if they’re looking for records or video games or old toys, they can find something they’re interested in.”

“It’s [people] wanting to relive their childhood; that’s what it’s all about.”

According to Colwell, there’s something for everyone – whether they are of his son’s generation, which may be more into video games, or of his own generation, more focused on things like old records and baseball cards.

Colwell added that while the focus of the store is primarily 1970s through 1990s nostalgia, there are newer retail items such as Game of Thrones and Star Trek Funko Pop toys, as well as older items, like magazines from the 1920s and Civil Rights-era collectibles.

He said regardless of the time period, all collectibles in the store are checked for quality and only accepted for sale if in good condition.

As part of the holiday season, A Blast to the Past will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday until the first of the year.

The store holds Wednesday evening Magic: The Gathering card tournaments for kids, Saturday Magic: The Gathering tournaments for adults and Pokemon card play on the weekends. For more information, call (931) 954-0235, and visit ablasttothepastnostalgiamall.com.

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