Rock'em Sock'em Retro

Kayla Minniear, owner of Rock'em Sock'em Retro and her mother, Caroline Lippert, who is dressed as the character Sonic the Hedge Hog. 

A passion for collecting childhood favorites has turned into a business for Jonathan and Kayla Minniear.

The couple opened Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro in Bowling Green this month, focusing on “retro” and vintage video games, toys and more.

“I want it to be a place for your family to reminisce,” Kayla said during a recent interview.

The store, located at 192 S. Main St., began its soft opening on Oct. 24. The ribbon cutting will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m., with a grand opening weekend starting Friday at 11 a.m.

The store evolved out of the couple’s penchant for pop culture collections.

“My husband and I, we started dating about seven years ago, and a couple months into dating he was talking about the original Nintendo console. ... My husband is about five years older than me, so he grew up with the original Nintendo” and wanted a replacement one.

Minniear said that she was able to find one — and a copy of the seminal game, Super Mario Brothers 3 — locally and gave it to Jonathan as a gift.

That gift “turned into a huge collection, and from there we’re now at the point that every game that we need (for the collection) is worth over $1,000.”

Along the way, they began buying other people’s collections and started selling the items at pop culture conventions and other venues. That sparked the Walbridge residents — she grew up in Bowling Green, he in Toledo — to think about opening a store.

And so Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro was born.

Along with video games for multiple platforms from days gone by, the store additionally offers new and used retro and vintage toys, comics and manga, and other collectibles.

There are also retro arcade game cabinets available for play.

They’re further reaching out to local artists, graphic novelists, and even designers of pop culture costumes called “cosplay” to display and sell their creations in the store.

“We just want to reach out to the community and say if you’re a local graphic novelist, cosplay designer, even if you do art and it’s related to our store ... we’d be happy to carry it for people to purchase ... I think the local art scene always needs more support.”

Of collecting, Minniear said that “I’m in the Millennial age group, and we’re all getting to that point where we all have decent-paying jobs and all we want is to get stuff back from our childhood. So I think that plays a big part. That’s now known as the ‘retro’ scene. Anything ’80s, ’90s is retro. Anything before that is vintage.”

She said she additionally collects memorabilia from Disney’s “Aladdin” film, as well as Sailor Moon.

Minniear said she wants the store to be a hangout for the community, and a place where people can see items they had as a child  and either buy them for themselves to complete a collection, or give it to their children.

“We just hope it brings more families, helps grow family involvement and helps bring back those memories,” she said.

Hours for the business are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The store may be contacted by calling 419-806-4750 or via email at rockemsockemretro@outlook.com

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