The superhero movies that have dominated pop culture over the past decade or so are a boon for small businesses. Comic book shops and small toy stores have been popping up all over the place, giving fans many more options for content than there were years ago. Comic books have always been popular, but the demand for collectibles has been through the roof as of late. Victor Arias, an avid collector, recently opened Super V Toys as a way to meet the needs of customers as well as to subsidize his growing collection.
Arias found himself immersed in toy collecting about eight years ago, when a friend encouraged him to buy an Optimus Prime figure from a Hasbro toy shop. Enjoying that moment, he planned to purchase a new figure each week, starting with Thrust (Transformer). Researching the existing lines of toys became a passion, and his weekly purchase turned into him buying every affordable figure he could to complete the lines. This led to him collecting other lines of toys by heading out to the brick and mortar stores throughout Rhode Island.
During this time that he noticed that the stores in this state were hit or miss. He was constantly driving from shop to shop looking for certain figures. He eventually decided that ordering online was easier and less stressful than dealing with the frustration, time spent and gas consumed. He made the decision to start selling toys a few years ago as a way to help fund his collecting, running the small distribution out of his home. He would sell on eBay and Facebook collector/seller groups. He made a name for himself, building a reputation of being flexible and a great communicator, offering lower prices and even having the ability to offer some products before competitors. He made the decision to run the business like a larger chain, not requiring non-refundable deposits or cancellation penalties. He knew he would make as much profit and may be sitting on unsold product longer, but he thought it as a long-term investment of growing a solid customer base.
“This last year, the business grew significantly and my home no longer provided the space I needed to run the business,” Arias said. “So I decided to look for operational/store front space.”
Arias decided on a storefront on Washington St in West Warwick. Opening the physical location was relatively easy for him. It took some steps, but he was ready to start setting up the shop pretty quickly. After working his full time job, he would move product from his home, set up racks and arrange the furniture. He opened the doors to the public on November 17, 2018.
Super V Toys sells products from Marvel, Transformers, Star Wars, DC Collectibles, NECA-TV and Mcfarlane. His plan is to expand the shop into carrying other types of collectibles. For the moment, he is learning what being a small business owner is all about and is looking forward to watching its success.
“It is definitely a business,” Arias said when asked if Super V Toys is a business or hobby. “I’m constantly thinking/stressing about making sure I’m not under or over ordering product, creating strategies on promotions and multiple ways to move items quicker. I still haven’t really concluded whether any excitement or accomplishment comes from getting better at the business or the simple enjoyment of shipping toys out.”
Super V Toys is located at 19 Washington St in West Warwick. Store hours vary. Call 401-935-8142 for more information. You can also follow the store on Facebook and Instagram or check out their website at supervtoys.com.