For those of us that have been long time collectors, finding new places to hunt for the stuff we collect becomes fairly easy. We learn to look for signs all over the place that might lead to more and more stuff. You have to keep your eyes and ears open when it comes to collecting older, retro/vintage stuff, because it’s not like you can just go down to a shopping centre or big box store to do your shopping. Instead you have to rely on thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales to do your shopping. Depending on your location, success at these places will vary, and for some people most of these will not be viable options. Hopefully this may help some of you find that special item you’re looking for in some strange and unusual places.
From experience I have found a lot of amazing finds in some really unexpected places. Sharing my stories might be helpful to you in finding new places to track down whatever it might be you’re looking for. I personally focus on video games and action figures, but I do collect other things such as comics, movies, and vinyl.
First unusual location for a video game find was at a music/movie store the day they opened. They had assumed the stock of an older store and just had boxes and boxes of stuff. The owner also had boxes of random DVDs, Records and random crap. Whenever I see boxes of stuff like that I always ask if I can take a look and I’m so happy that I asked to take a look because I happened to find a bunch of GameCube games and a few other games as well. Since they only really sold music and movies at this store the owner did not care for that stuff at all and gave them to me for free since I technically helped him organize and “throw out” unwanted stuff.
Another Time I was walking down the street, deciding on what I wanted to eat when I came along an old book store. I went in to take a look only to realize that it was much more than just old books. This store had shelf after shelf of books, movies, and even video games all mixed together. So after forgetting about even getting anything to eat I proceeded to spend the next 2 hours combing through every single item in the store to make sure I didn’t leave anything that I really wanted behind.
I really wish I could suggest pawn shops as well but they are not always a great option. They tend to have items in really poor condition and expect way too much money in return for what they have. But every once in a while you never know what might come in, like a rare NES game, or some interesting older electronics. Keep in mind that pawn shops should always be considered when hunting for all sorts of items, but you stand to be disappointed by mediocrity and nothingness most of the time.
If you collect DVDs I highly recommend that you look into old stock at rental stores, if they still exist in your area. I’ve been able to find some great deals at some local stores for next to nothing, just a few bucks for something that would have otherwise cost me well over 30-50$.
I also want to mention the random everything stores that exist all across major cities in typically hipster neighbourhoods. I would classify these types of store separately from thrift stores or antique stores as an antique store will usually focus on a theme or just furniture, and a thrift store typically sells used items at a large discount. These everything stores will contain just about everything, including even a kitchen sink! I have seen some very unusual stores, packed so full you can barely maneuver around the store, but I’ve been able to find all sorts of interesting items for fairly cheap at stores like this. It’s hard to classify these stores as what they are and rather it is easier to classify them as what they are not.
The point that I’m trying to get at is that you never know where the newest item in your collection might come from. Make sure to look out for stores with no discernible signage, packed full of stuff, stores that are new and just opening up, or even stores that seem to have been forgotten by most and just linger like a random half-forgotten memory. Continue looking for stuff in conventional places but when the going gets tough, spread out and start thinking outside the box and maybe you’ll come by exactly what you’ve been looking for.