Disclaimer: Jason did not want to be recorded, so I have typed up a paper on what we covered.
This week I met with Jason Stephens of Crowemag Toys in Raleigh, North Carolina. Jason is a long-time employee of Crowemag toys and was very knowledgeable in the history and the operations of the store. In the beginning, Crowemag Toys started as a flea market toy shop, open during limited hours, but gaining a loyal customer base. They were always stocked with great items that people wanted to buy or collect…so naturally, they became the “go-to” place in Raleigh for collectible vintage toys. During the interview, I learned that vintage toys become “vintage” if they were made in the year 1994 or before. Crowemag Toys focuses on re-selling vintage toys…and they have a large inventory! It may be hard to believe they have as much inventory as they do, but they manage to find people wanting to sell their vintage toys on a monthly basis. In fact, while interviewing Jason, he said, “90% of the inventory they have walks in the front door.” To me, this says that they have done something right when advertising themselves as the place to go to sell vintage toys.
Jason Stephens has been a long time collector of vintage toys. He is especially proud of his vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collection…and even has big plans with his collection in the future. He was a customer of Crowemag first, in the beginning, and he ended up in a position where he needed to work, he joined Crowemag Toys, and has been there over 5 years now. He has seen 3 owners of the store so far. The original owner sold the company to the current owner, where the new owner has had control since then. The current owner did not take any investments and funded his store on his own. Right now, Crowemag Toys continues to run its’ flea market location, and has a brick-and-mortar store in northeast Raleigh.