Unique toy store comes to Canton
A new store in downtown Canton is aiming to sell childhood memories and also help create new ones.
From extremely rare collectibles to popular contemporary toys, Blast From the Past Toys offers just about anything a toy enthusiast may want, no matter what their age.
Combining experience owning previous businesses and a love for vintage toys, partners James Bandy and Clifton Coleman have created a treasure trove of specialty toys spanning several decades.
Upon first glace at the store, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the hundreds of toys overflowing from the shelves.
From GI Joe to Barbie, Star Wars to Family Guy figurines, the Main Street store is practically filled to the brim with nearly every action figure one could name.
“Sometimes it takes people five minutes just to get in the door,” Bandy said with a laugh.
He proved his point when 3-year-old Jackson McCall wandered in the store with his dad, Allen. After carefully browsing the store, he eventually settled on several small toys, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
In addition to the toys that any child like McCall would love, Bandy and Coleman wanted to cater to collectors as well. That's why they carry a number of vintage toys, many of which were once sold exclusively at different big box stores.
One can find toys anywhere from $1 to $200, depending on what they are looking for, Coleman said.
Among the most rare items in the store is a 1977 Mattel Godzilla Shogun Warrior, which has been sold for as much as $300 on Ebay, said Bandy.
One day, a customer brought in the old collectible, which is in near perfect condition, complete with the launching fist, firey tongue and the wheels on the feet.
The two owners take so much pride in the item, which they are selling for $200, they only bring it out upon request.
“This was our first ‘wow’ factor, which is why we’re so attached to it. This is very rare,” Bandy said.
Another expensive item is much smaller than the jumbo Godzilla toy, but is just as sought after.
The Blue Snaggletooth figure from Star Wars was made blue in error by the Kenner figurine line and sold exclusively at Sears in 1978. After that year, it was produced in the correct red color, making the mistake much more valuable.
Both figures of Snaggletooth are sold at Blast From the Past, the blue one at $100.
While some of the merchandise in the store came from the owners' personal toy collections, they also scour toy shows and accept trades and sales from customers.
That’s what makes the store a unique addition to downtown Canton and even Haywood County, Bandy said.
Since the popular downtown Waynesville toy store, Fun Things Etc., closed last month, Blast From the Past Toys is now the only store in the county specializing in toys, which is part of their reasoning for opening in the first place.
“It’s a rare item in the area,” Bandy said. “You won’t find a unique specialty story like us anywhere else in the county.”
Since opening on Oct. 13, Coleman said they have already seen plenty of returning customers who are thankful to see a store of their kind in Canton.
"We've already been seeing a lot of collectors slowing coming in," he said.
Whether a collector or simply a toy lover, Bandy said the store is an excellent destination for Christmas gifts this year.
They will be offering gift certificates and even a layaway program.
More than anything, Bandy and Coleman hope their store will contribute to the changing face of downtown Canton, a town they have each called home for years.
“We’re all about trying to pump up something locally. There’s nobody doing anything like this,” Bandy said.