It’s all out here, laid out on tables arranged like the corner of a Pac Man maze: The last five years of Geeksboro, and Joe Scott’s life.
The first big piece to go was the vintage Millennium Falcon toy, grabbed almost immediately by a keen-eyed shopper. But there’s so much more.
Video games, CDs and DVDs in boxes and loose stacks. Vinyl figurines. Christmas lights. Posters, T-shirts, stickers and artwork. Boxes full of audio/visual cables. Here is the keg box, pulled out from behind the coffeeshop’s counter. There is a Death Star disco ball and an Imperial Walker of the sort that stormed the ice plant of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, and an Ewok village made of plastic — no Ewoks. And there’s the Epson overhead projector, used to flash video games and movies on the big screen.
“How much for the projector?” a guy in a body-armor T-shirt asks.
“The bulb is out,” Scott says from behind the counter, bare now except for the remnants of memorabilia that once cluttered this nerd-themed coffeeshop like tribbles. “So 125. But you get a new bulb in there and it’s gonna be good.”
Before the place levels up into the Geeksboro Battle Pub — a more event-oriented space with better parking just down the road — everything must go.
A guy with an armful of red coffee mugs hefts a wooden replica of Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, in his hand and puts it back down before threading through the rest of the maze. Others flip through boxes, unfurl posters and banners, scrutinize the wall art and check board games for missing pieces.
They’d been lined up outside well before the doors opened at 6 a.m. and before the end of the day a couple hundred of them will pass through.[pullquote]Geeksboro Battle Pub is scheduled to open in its new location at 2618 Lawndale Ave. on July 20. See geeksboro.com for more.[/pullquote]
Scott, posted behind the long counter, is making deals: $5 for the Hulk mug and $2 for the Monopoly set. He’ll throw in the keychain, but sorry, the Settlers of Catan is not for sale.
It hurts a little, shedding five years’ worth of accumulations. But it makes sense in the progression of Scott’s business, and his life.
“There was this desire to be the ultimate kid,” Scott says now, after the first flush of shoppers has receded, “to have all the toys you ever wanted, mint condition, in their boxes. But then I had a kid, and I realize she was the ultimate kid, not me.
“Collectors are just hoarders with price guides.”
And things are tough in this Lawndale strip mall — which became activated, ironically, when Geeksboro moved in and Hops Burger Bar followed. Now there’s not enough parking there for both concerns, on top of all the other new businesses that have swooped in.
“I sold my comic-book collection to make payroll a while ago,” he says. “And then, you hold onto things or you let it go. I can hold onto this building or let it go. Some people are giving us a hard time because they don’t want to let go of this building, this space.
“But,” he says, “We move forward.”
He’s taken on a new partner, Steve Maloy, his former RA at UNCG. And he’s selling the food truck, too: Gravy Baby, which was parked outside the old coffeeshop every morning. He’s selling off a bunch of his own stuff, and his employees are taking advantage of the nerd market Scott’s created here today.
“Some things were hard to let go,” Scott says. “Like my late grandfather’s Super Mario 2 cartridge. It was not his favorite game. I kept his favorite game.”
That distinction belongs to Dr. Mario.
“He played it so much he burned the image on his TV screen,” Scott remembers.
Longtime Geeksboro staffer Karen Power unloaded the Millennium Falcon with neither hesitation now remorse.
“I’m a military brat,” they said. “I say, ‘Get rid of all of it.’”
Piece by piece it moves out the door. Soon Scott and his staff will too.