BRUSHFORK — Drivers going up and down Route 52 in Mercer County have seen ghoulish figures beckoning for their attention, but they haven’t often seen the sign that allows passage into their realm. Now the sign is right, and it says, “Open.”
Since early March, Spookables has been open for regular business, owner Jason Scott of Mercer County said Friday. Ranks of action figures, toys, posters, and collectibles representing everything from the Invisible Man and Godzilla to Chucky the homicidal doll and zombies filled the shelves and the main counter. Movie posters, DVDs, comics, superheroes and comics were among the merchandise packing the store’s rooms.
“I’m the owner, operator, curator, however you want to describe it,” he said a smile. “Well, we opened in August of 2015. Initially, I did it part time for a few years. I had a full-time job, but over time we developed a cult following. We have some regulars and really didn’t do a whole lot of advertising, really limited to things like Facebook and social media and word of mouth with one person telling another person.”
Collectors would tell each other about their finds and where to find Spookables.
“I started out part time, and this year we’re going full time with it because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I almost did it last year, but the timing wasn’t right, you know. This year it just seemed like a better time to do it,” Scott said. “The response has been amazing. When I first opened it was more or less a place just to put my stuff, and honestly I have a handful of friends who collected sort of the same thing; and originally I thought it was just going to be sort of a hangout for them and new friends would tag along. I didn’t think anyone would come in here.”
Scott soon realized that his store was generating interest beyond his circle of friends. On the first day he was open, he spoke with a woman who worked at a next door beauty salon. She was smoking outside, so she took the opportunity to tell him that she was getting a lot of questions about Spookables.
“She said, ‘Well, I think you’re going to do really well,’” Scott recalled. “And I said, ‘Why thank you.’ And she said, ‘I know you will. Ever since you’ve put the sign up we’ve had like 15 people a day stop by and ask when this place is going to be open. And I’m, like, wow.”
“And when I came back in, within the first five minutes I had a girl open the door, and she said that she’d been eyeballing it forever and she about had a wreck when she saw us finally open,” Scott said. “She came back. Then a couple came in with their son. They said they had been watching the place, and then another guy came in. So within the first 15 minutes I had six or seven people come it; and it was kind of scary because it’s such a small place.”
Scott thought at first that he would be open only a day here and there, but that crowded a lot of shoppers into the small store at the same time.
“When I was going it part time, people knew when I would be here on certain days and they would gather out here, and …the record, I think I’ve had 19 people here at one time. It makes it rough,” he said. “So now that I’m open full time and people know when I’m going to be here, it gives people more time to look around and it makes it easier for them to look around.”
The name Spookables was chosen when Scott remembered some dialogue between the cartoon characters Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. In a Halloween adventure, they dubbed certain scary things “spookable.”
Scott describes his establishment as a small collectibles store located in southern West Virginia. There are some items here and there that are more for adult collectors, but Scott said he works to keep the store “family friendly” and have items children can afford. Monster and horror themes are a good part of the merchandise along with themes like Star Wars and television shows.
“We do movies, toys, comics, CDs and vinyl, horror, wrestling and other retro collectibles. Movies, posters, masks, etc.,” he said. “A lot of people think it’s different things. One lady came in and thought I did tattoos. Some people think it’s like a head shop, and it’s not really like that.”
In many instances, there is a good chance people who like toys and similar items can find something from their childhood.
“I really cater toward collectors, what they like and just different sorts of things,” Scott said. “There’s a strong horror theme, but we do everything. We do superheroes, old TV shows, pro wrestling, pop culture; basically just anybody who has a passion for pop culture would probably love it.”
— Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]
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