Comic and toy shop appeals to all ages
Although people outside of the comic book scene may imagine comic shops as dingy, devoid of women and full of nerdy things, only the last of these is true for the Space Cadets Collection Collection in Oak Ridge North.
Owned by Jen King, this hobby shop —which specializes in comics, toys and plush collectibles — is busting the stereotype.
"A lot of people think of a comic book shop as kind of dark and cave-like," she said. "I really felt strongly that I wanted to carry a wider variety of things and make it more family friendly."
Space Cadets — a literal collection of collections — aims to create an environment that appeals to a wide range of people, from comic book fanatics to casual collectors. The shop maintains a thriving comic book business that appeals to adults and kids alike. A mother herself, King said she is conscious about ensuring her shop is a safe place for kids.
"I tend to not carry the more adult lines so parents can feel good about their kids coming to the store and not seeing things they shouldn't," she said. "I do carry things that are geared toward adults, but I'm just not going to that dark area of things."
Since opening in September 2010, Space Cadets' popularity has taken off, King said. The shop's claim to fame might be its Pokemon leagues, which center on competitions using Pokemon trading cards. With 40–50 players attending the weekly meetings, Space Cadets' league is the largest in Texas.
Although Pokemon items are the shop's best sellers, King said she also sees a lot of interest in a line of Nintendo and Angry Birds plush toys that can be difficult to find elsewhere.
"The distributor is here in The Woodlands and they're the only American licensee for Nintendo plush," she said. "They sell to some big box stores, but those places aren't very directed in what they order. I carry the full line and get them as soon as they're available."
Beyond that, Space Cadets draws people in with its collectible toys. The shelves in Space Cadets are fully stocked and the walls are lined with toys from all genres and industries.
King attributes her success to her genuine passion for collecting, as well as her helpful employees, whom together possess a knowledge of all things nerdy.
"All the employees I have hired out of my customer base," she said. "I know their personalities and I know that they know what they're doing because they come and hang out and talk to me all the time."
King said if her growth rate continues, she plans to eventually enlarge her shop size and possibly start catering to the table top gaming community. In the meantime, she said she will continue to build the Space Cadet community by simply doing what she loves.
"I've always been a collector and loved dealing with the public so I kind of married all of my loves together," she said. "To me, this is really the perfect world.",
Space Cadets Collection Collection, 27326 Robinson Road, Ste. 117, Oak Ridge North, 281-298-1111, www.spacecadetscollection.com