At the start of the pandemic, concern over the fate of independent toy stores in the U.S. and abroad loomed large as the first wave of stay-at-home orders closed the doors of many retailers that were deemed “non-essential” at the time. The Nacelle Co. — makers of Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us and The Movies That Made Us — quickly sprung into action with A Toy Store Near You, a docuseries intended to showcase the plight of store owners as they struggled to adapt to business during the pandemic.
In April, the Toy Book revealed exclusive details on the series that were followed by an appearance by Brian Volk-Weiss, CEO of The Nacelle Co. and Comedy Dynamics on the ‘Power Kid Podcast.’ Initially intended to feature somewhere between 40-50 stores on a rolling basis while contributing proceeds from each episode to the stores that were featured, the first batch of episodes was met with mixed reviews from toy enthusiasts who felt there was too much emphasis on the pandemic while we’re still living in it. Now, the series has been retooled for season two, and a premiere date has been locked for Christmas Day.
“Season 2 promises to showcase less COVID-19 and more vintage toys while preserving the same Nacelle Co. style of documentary filmmaking that made The Toys That Made Us and The Movies That Made Us such an enjoyable ride into the deepest crevices of our nostalgic memories,” Volk-Weiss says.
A Toy Store Near You Season 2
- Episode 1 | Kokomo Toys & Collectibles, Kokomo, Indiana: Way down in Kokomo … Indiana, Todd and Amber Jordan have built one of the most impressive toy stores you’ll ever see. With row upon row of grails, exclusives, and rarities both old and new, Kokomo Toys and Collectibles is the cornerstone of what’s become known as “Geek Street” With the reputation of the store reaching far beyond Indiana, Kokomo is now a destination location for those looking for an epic toy shop experience. It’s the spirit of community that makes this store, and Geek Street so special.
- Episode 2 | Farpoint Toys, Mays Landing, New Jersey: Located in the former Fireplace Shanty of Mays Landing, New Jersey is a “Museum of Memories” as Justin and Penelope Daniels like to call it. We know it as Farpoint Toys, one of the most beloved toy stores in America. And while they’re in the business of selling toys, it’s the experience that’s most important for Penelope and Justin when it comes to their Eisner Award-winning store. Interspersed amongst their inventory are incredible, permanent exhibits, and it’s the Daniels’ hope that soon people will once again be able to come and experience this carefully curated nostalgia themselves.
- Episode 3 | Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, Chicago: Nick Mayor and his wife Jen Lemasters exude the same kind of cool as the Chicago neighborhood their store Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles calls home: Logan Square. It’s the kind of rare, genuine cool you get from those who are confident about who they are and what they believe in. For Nick that’s selling vintage toys and records at prices everyday folks can afford, thinking local, and doing his best to avoid selling online. While the reality of COVID-19 might put those ideals to the test, it’s Bric-a-Brac’s ethos of always reinvesting in the community that will ensure their success.
- Episode 4 | Batcave Comics & Toys, Santa Rosa, California: Mike Holbrook and Amanda Barlow share more than just their namesake with the caped crusader, they’re both do-gooders in their own right as well; such as donating comics from their store to local youth charities while under quarantine. And if the actions of Mike and Amanda weren’t admirable enough, the treasures inside their store are equally impressive (one-of-a-kind prototypes, including the unreleased The Last Starfighter line!), making Batcave Comics & Toys a beacon to collectors from all walks of life.
- Episode 5 | Super7, San Francisco: The humble origins of San Francisco California’s Super 7 can be traced back to the titular magazine born out of owner Brian Flynn’s love of collecting Kaiju toys. Since then, it’s grown into not only a retailer of collectibles and apparel in both San Francisco and San Diego but also a producer of esoteric and imaginative products, the likes of which would never exist anywhere else. After bringing the never-before-released 1979 Alien figures to life, Super 7 has never looked back. Through all of their success, Brian Flynn and Co. still maintain an independent, small-business mentality, understanding that the key to surviving is remembering what got them there and to have fun while doing it.
A Toy Store Near You season 2 is presented by eBay, Death Wish Coffee, Super7, and the Tribeca Film Festival. New episodes begin streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft Xbox, Breaker, and Vimeo on Dec. 25.