Westminster resident Jason Barnes was just settling into his new position as the owner of Ellicott City toy shop All Time Toys when the 2016 flood washed him out.
Barnes lost 75 percent of his store in the disaster, and when he started getting comfortable again, flooding returned to the city this summer.
“I was not there when the water started [this summer],” Barnes said. “I got down just as the Ellicott Mills on Main Street was collapsing. So I basically just stood out in the rain for about a couple hours watching everything transpire.
“And at that point in time it felt metaphorical, time to leave Ellicott City and find higher and drier ground. Since I bought the company I lost two cars and over $100,000 of product. I can move back to Ellicott City one day, but for now, let’s move closer to my home.”
All Time Toys, formerly located on Main Street in the recently rain-battered city, has already moved to 2030 Liberty Road in Eldersburg, but Barnes and his staff are still preparing for their grand opening, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 20.
The store carries toys and collectibles from about the 1970s to the modern era, he said.
“We have everything from Lego, Hot Wheels, Hot Toys, Transformers, [and new] G.I. Joes,” Barnes said. “Plus we always buy secondhand collections.
“We just recently acquired a large ’80s G.I. Joe collection,” he said, “and we are trying to process it and get it ready.”
His shop also carries apparel, items by the popular Japanese lifestyle brand Tokidoki, and Funko Pops! — the big-headed superhero and cartoon figurines — which vary from Zootopia and A Bug’s Life to 1996 Playstation character Crash Bandicoot and the more modern Guardians of the Galaxy team.
And the new shop has almost double the space its former location provided.
All Time Toys’ new digs is flanked by Smokey’s Barbecue Restaurant and United Hapkido of Eldersburg. There is a large Lego table surrounded by chairs at the center of the store, and a couch facing a large flat-screen television — where Barnes plans on screening new movies.
Next to the couch is a large replica of Thor’s hammer, and by the door is a life-sized Deadpool.
Along the walls are toys priced $3.99 to $44.99 to $80, all the way up to a 12-inch Iron Man figurine with metal parts and lights that costs more than $600.
“We are also moving more into some board gaming — the unique stuff you're not going to find at Target or Walmart,” said Barnes, “[such as] collectible card games, retro video games.”
On the wall across from the figurines are the retro video games, and board games like Dark Souls and Labyrinth.
“We try to stay on top of trends,” said Barnes. “Retail has changed and if your service and product quality is similar to Amazon, you are not going to make it.
“You’ve got to appeal to collectors, kids, parents, all at the same time.”
Barnes said that he and his team, which includes his 18-year-old son Chance, will do a couple of soft openings on the weekends leading up to the grand opening on Oct. 20, but that once the shop is ready its hours will be from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.