Local store offers rare collectibles, outlet for youth
Visitors can buy, sell, trade or play at Main Street location
You Name It Collectables, at 613 Main St. in Cassville, offers more than just rare collectables and vintage memorabilia signified by the name, but it also hosts gaming tournaments, and is a unique place for local youth to hang out.
"That's where the name came from, because if you can name it, we've probably got it," said Christina "Chris" Bridges, who owns and operates the store with husband Phil Bridges.
The two have created a diversified experience with a combination of blast-from-the-past-nostalgia for collectors, plus an outlet for teens to hang out in an atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship.
Visitors can peruse Disney, Nascar, Spiderman, Star Wars, die-cast cars, Barbies, Wheaties cereal boxes and other memorabilia, play vintage games, card games, tournaments, or buy, sell or trade thousands of items.
Phil Bridges, who works with his mobile home repair business Straight Arrow during the week and works at the store on Saturdays, said he enjoys buying, selling and trading.
"I work for a living, then I play with the store," he said. "I used to be a collectables show promoter. I have all these things I tinker with, but mostly was doing baseball cards and such. I had to raise children and couldn't do the shows anymore. My wife, the good sport that she is, thought she would have time to write, but it's not worked out that way. The business has been growing faster than we expected."
"This got started because [Phil] can't stop buying stuff," Chris Bridges said. "He's a serial entrepreneur and a catalyst. We like doing it and like for people to bring things in. We collect a little bit of everything."
Phil Bridges said the store has 1,500-2,000 comics, and he expects to get to 10,000 within the year.
The Bridgeses, who between them have five children, seek to promote a fun, family atmosphere. Local youth are enjoying the store and discovering a new place to hang out after school and make friends.
"We're encouraging this to be a hangout," said Chris Bridges, who said she acts as resident mom. "I've been a mom for 35 years. You just don't shut that off."
"She's more like a friend," Phil Bridges said. "Kids in Cassville are finding it, and coaches are sending kids there. We had 11 people show up for a Magic the Gathering tournament Saturday. It's a great atmosphere for young people to hang out. Where else can kids go -- the YMCA in Monett?
"Kids are needing a place to hang out where they don't get in trouble. The kids are all good-natured. They don't do violence. Christina is tough on not allowing horse play. The games they play are like a video game but on cards."
Bridges said parents should stop by and check out the atmosphere.
"Every parent has a reason to see what their kids are doing and the atmosphere," he said. "Just come in, sit down for awhile and watch. There's lots of laughter. The type of people who play these games are not gothic.
"They are the playful, quiet and gentle type, not aggressive or bullying. They have interactions with others. Parents can see the camaraderie and helpfulness."
The Bridgeses are in the process of setting up different rooms for different activities.
The first floor is collectables, the second floor will have comics and the third floor will have a juke box, pool, foosball, Internet access, tables for card games and a place to play games on vintage gaming systems, like Atari and the original Nintendo, on a projector. Equipment can be rented by the hour or the day, and can be reserved for birthday parties or other special occasions.
Chris Bridges said Magic the Gathering (MTG), a card game that started in 1993 and has a world-wide circuit, is popular with youth, and the store offers a place for them to play the game. The Bridgeses offer MTG tournaments at the store on Saturdays. Dungeons and Dragons tournaments are also held at the store.
"Magic the Gathering game is more about brain power and team play," Phil Bridges said. "We're more organized than any store I know of with Magic. It's all alphabetized. Other stores have cards, but are not organized. They have 5,000-7,000 cards in boxes and have to spend hours trying to find a certain card."
Phil Bridges said another unique characteristic of the store is everything is grouped in areas so collectors can find it, verses flea markets, where vendors put items randomly together.
"There's no other place like it," he said. "The funny thing is, pawn shops are sending people to us, saying we're likely to give them more money."
Buying takes place on Saturdays, but the Bridgeses are also open to trading.
"Everything in that shop can be traded for," Bridges said. "There's no hobby in there I haven't traded. You can't do that in a flea market."
Store hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m. For more information about the store or collectables, people may call Chris Bridges at 479-256-1048, Phil Bridges at 479-841-8552, visit their website at www.younameitcollectables.com or check out their Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/otmytsc.