Everybody has a toy story. Maybe it’s that 1960s turquoise Easy Bake Oven with its tiny cake pans that you waited for “forever.” Or, maybe it’s action figures, an antique doll or a Matchbox car that someone very special gave you.
Or, it could be something you never got that you really, really wanted.
Old toys are not forgotten, and a lot of them are not gone, either. They can be found online, but now you can reach out and touch them at vintage toy in Little Five Points.
The aptly named Transporter Vintage and Retro stays jam-packed with the discoveries of its owner Chris Shubert. While it transports visitors to another place in time, its name actually stems from Shubert’s lifelong obsession with Volkswagen vehicles including the VW van, also known as the Transporter.
A few years ago, he sold several VWs that he’d restored so he could move from online sales of vintage toys to a brick and mortar store. He’s a passionate collector of VW toys, which threaten to overtake his home. “I fill my crawlspace with them,” he said.
Some of them make it into his store, which features everything from jewelry, comic books, clothing and Shubert’s original paintings of vintage toys to board games, dolls, action figures and toy cars. A metal Raggedy Ann TV tray and a 1979 “Fabulous Las Vegas Showgirl” doll in head-to-toe pink feather boa were among some of the more unusual items recently for sale.
“Some people have said I should charge at the door because this is like a museum,” Shubert said. His customers include people on the prowl for film sets and regulars who stay on the lookout for Star Wars, G.I. Joe and other collectibles.
“Wonder Woman stuff goes so quick. So does My Little Pony and Rainbow Brite. And I can’t keep Barbie stuff,” Shubert said. He also loves to carry He-Man and other action figures he and his brother, Jason, played with as boys.
His stock comes from individual sellers and from his forays through attics, auctioned storage units, sheds, flea markets and “anywhere I can scrape things up,” he said.
While he’s definitely in business to sell, Shubert would be fine with one toy never leaving his store. That would be his two-foot, battery-controlled green monster, the Great Garloo. “They had a really great commercial for it in the ‘60s,” he said. “In the toy world it’s the holy grail.”
Transporter Vintage and Retro is located at 1154 B Euclid Ave. next door to Criminal Records. For more information, visit facebook.com/transporterl5p.