A new store dedicated to the old toys, games and fashion of the 1980s and ’90s has launched on North Fourth Avenue.
Generation Cool held its grand opening Saturday, two doors down from the Food Conspiracy Co-op in the old home of Hi-Tech Computers.
Run by local promoter “Slobby Robby” Hall and DJ J.R. “Sid the Kid” Harrison, the shop is a nostalgic mind trip for any 30-something.
Shelves are stocked with action figures and Saturday morning cartoon heroes, from Voltron to He-Man, some still in their original packaging.
Vintage jerseys, caps, jackets and jewelry, as well as original clothing items created by Hall and other local designers, sit on racks and in display cases throughout the store.
Beyond the boutique is the arcade, packed with some of the hottest video games from back in the day: “Mortal Kombat II,” “The Simpsons,” “NBA Maximum Hangtime.”
Even the snack shop in the back is old school.
“We have all the classic brands, Fun Dip, Nerds.” Hall said. “We picked them up at this ice cream truck warehouse south of I-10.”
The storefront adds something new to the avenue and brings all of Hall’s passions together under one roof.
Aside from being a shirt designer, artist and curator of the Hotel Congress lobby gallery, Hall is a collector of vintage clothing and toys; a regular on the yard-sale trail for the last 15 years.
Over the last five years, he has turned his knack for rooting out good deals into a business, selling toys and clothing on the Internet and out of the side of his home.
“Swap meets are good for toys,” he said. “Yard sales are good for clothes. Estate sales are good for jewelry and purses.”
Hall started the store in part to clear some space in his house.
“I had two rooms full,” he said. “Now they are available for guests.”
He considers the shop his way of taking things to the next level.
“It is a way to share my passions with other people who are passionate,” he said. “It is a little more fun and personal than selling stuff on the Internet.”
Hall is handling the buying and selling aspect of Generation Cool. Harrison, a friend of Hall’s for the last five years, is in charge of the electronics and snack bar, at least for now.
“I always wanted a boutique-style clothing store, but I would be lying if I said I knew a lot about clothes, toys or collectibles,” Harrison said. “I am still wet behind the ears.”
He leaves that up to Hall, who gets a kick out of dealing with people interested in old toys and other vintage fare.
“It’s like being an art broker,” Hall said. “This is just another branch of being an artist; connecting people to objects that they really like. Sculptures, paintings, toys, jackets. To me, it is all the same.”
Unlike most retail spaces on North Fourth Avenue, Generation Cool will stay open late on weekends to appeal to the bar crowds. A rotating list of DJs will perform on Fridays and Saturdays while people shop and play games.
Hall said they hope to have their liquor license by March.
“Fourth Avenue is the only place for me to be to reach a lot of people,” he said.