Shop Around: Nostalgic Shopping

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Relics offers pop-culture collectibles that are sure to bring back memories.

By RANDY GRIDER

Browsing through Relics Antiques and Collectibles in downtown Fort Payne, Ala., feels more like a stroll down memory lane than your normal shopping trip.

The store teems with pop-culture collectibles and memorabilia sure to stir memories and lure you back to an almost-forgotten era.

In one room, I quickly spot an Elvis album. I remember this album as part of my mom’s record collection that took center stage in our cabinet-style stereo. On another wall, I find a poster of 1970s teen idol Shaun Cassidy – one just like it hung in my sister’s bedroom.

Nostalgic treasures are everywhere.

Tony Walls, who co-owns Relics with Joe Martin, says part of the store’s magic is the experience of finding something you remember from your own past.

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[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]“Customers will come in here and see things from when they were a kid, and they want it again,” Walls says. “Others will see things that they remember from childhood that they wanted then, but it was too expensive, and now that they have a job and can afford it, they want to buy it.”

Vinyl is a big part of Relics’ inventory. Among the collection are albums that crisscross musical genres including blues, rock, gospel and everything in between – an authentic autographed Metallica album, the Beatles, Marty Robbins, Bob Dylan and movie soundtracks including Scarface, just to name a few.

Sports memorabilia is scattered throughout. Among the current offerings are items autographed by baseball greats Carl Yastrzemski and Mickey Mantle and football star John Namath.

Other unsigned pictures, posters and advertisements featuring sports legends are in the mix.

You will find a great deal of University of Alabama football-related memorabilia. Walls is an avid Alabama football collector, and an item found in the store means there is probably a similar one in his private collection. There also is a smattering of local sports memorabilia.

Relics is a relatively small store with seven partitioned rooms. Most are absolutely packed with collectibles, making shopping here a bit of a treasure hunt.

Pathways are a bit cramped in some areas, and you have to be committed to moving slowly and allowing your curiosity to guide you to look behind items to find that perfect collectible that might be hidden.

“It’s sometimes a little embarrassing when I need to find something in a hurry,” Walls says. “But most people, probably 70/30 [percent], tell me they like the store the way it is because they like looking. A lot of people get a kick out of finding something that’s not obvious or in plain sight when they first walk in. I think it adds a certain charm to the place.”

Personally, I concur.

Relics is a great place to browse, rekindle memories and – if you’re patient – find that piece of your past you thought was lost long ago.

You can find regular updates on available items at Relics Facebook page.

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