This Webster novelty store sells everything from bubble cigars to Star Wars collectibles

The coolest thing at Stan’s Pop Shop, according to James Slaton, is the life-size statue of Leonardo the Ninja Turtle that greets everyone who enters.

As co-owners of the Webster toy and candy store, Slaton and his wife, Karen, wanted something to bring the big adults in.

“People often don’t know what they’re getting into,” said 42-year-old James Slaton. “It’s fun to see them walk in for the first time and be like, ‘Oh wow! The mystery becomes a happy accident for them. It’s a good atmosphere.”

Stan’s, which recently celebrated its first year as a store at 17070 Texas 6, specializes in collectibles and nostalgia, and it’s common to find customers looking for a Funko Pop! vinyl figure or relive childhood memories as they walk the aisles past candy cigarettes, craft sodas and other items they assumed were long gone.

“It’s an awesome place,” said regular customer Justin Ramirez, a Funko Pop! collector. “I’ve always thought it was important to have stores that have a variety of collectibles, plus if you have nothing to do, it’s always fun to come in and browse. inventory and possibly come out with some of the things you never thought you’d find.”

Candy prices start at 99 cents for a single El Bubble Gum cigar or a pack of Pop Rocks. Sample prices for collectibles include $15.99 for an action figure, $49.99 for a vintage Troll doll, $125 for a replica Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet, and $129 for a talking Chucky doll.

Stan happened when the Slatons decided in late 2020 amid the pandemic that freelance work could be a smart safety net.

James Slaton develops phone apps in the corporate sector and his wife worked in the nonprofit sector, but the pandemic has created a sense of job instability. They had always wanted to start their own business, and now seemed like the right time.

“We wanted something unique and fun and something we would love to build,” said Karen Slaton, 40.

During lockdown, James Slaton reignited his passion for collecting things like Funko Pop! numbers, and the couple noticed others reconnecting with hobbies and fandoms as well. The shop also has its roots in the childhood of the Slatons, who grew up as children in the 1980s and 1990s and found companionship in pop culture. They bet they weren’t alone.

“When you take care of yourself at home, there are movies and cartoons that you watch all the time, and I think (being home during the shutdown) during the pandemic has created a sense of comfort for a lot of people,” says Karen Slaton. “People started collecting things.”

They decided to call it Stan’s Pop Shop – which combines the slang term “stan” for a superfan with “pop” for soda and popular culture – and launched online in January 2021. The decision to open a storefront has was solidified once they realized that distributors preferred brick-and-mortar establishments.

Stan’s inventory was developed on the owners’ nostalgia for things like Pop Rocks candy and regional soda brands, and they hoped that would translate into an audience. They recently added bubble gum cigars to the store’s collection.

The shop’s shelves reflect the loves of people of different ages, offering long-time favorites like Necco wafers and rock candy, movie-themed collectibles like a Star Wars At-At walker figure (All Terrain Armored Transport) and items with newer items. pop cultural references like candles honoring Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or artist Frida Kahlo.

James Slaton was initially concerned that candy cigarette cartons would offend some customers in 2022, but the nostalgia factor came into play.

“Parents who bought them for their children were more excited than the children,” he said. “I had forgotten these customers were kids from the 80s and 90s and that was just a funny thing.”

The shop has attracted pop culture fans and serious collectors, said Ramirez, 38, who got his hands on a coveted Funko Pop! Marvel Moon Knight 272 at Stan’s. Ramirez said he bonded with the Slatons over their mutual passion for collecting.

“As an adult and having to take on responsibilities throughout the day, I feel like going to places like Stan allows you to let go and be yourself because anyone who shop there are like you,” Ramirez said.

According to Karen Slaton, many customers assume that someone named Stan owns the shop, and that’s fine, she says, as long as they find something that makes them happy, whether it’s a piece for complete their Star Wars collection, a bag full of old-school candies or a David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust coffee mug.

“Seeing people having fun when they’re here has given the shop a whole new meaning,” said James Slaton. “We sell toys and sweets, but we’re more about bringing people some kind of happiness at a time when things are a little chaotic. It’s not just about making money, it’s become more than that.”

To learn more about Stan’s Pop Shop, visit https://www.stanspopshop.com.

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