Local comics and collectables shop expands

Local comics and collectables shop expands

The Daycare Kids ? Comics, Toys & Antiquities continues to grow

By Mark Randall

news@theeveningtimes.com Robert Walker hears it from every customer who walks inside his shop.

Amazing is the word he hears — over and over and over.

It never fails.

And it’s not hard to see why.

The shop has over 280,000 comic books and 235,000 toys and action figures.

“Everybody who come in cannot make it through the shop without saying ‘amazing’ at least five times,” Walker said. “We always wait to hear it. Then I go, ‘See?

There’s that word.’” People have been calling him the Amazing Mister Robert for years. And this is why.

Walking into The Daycare Kids ? Comics, Toys & Antiquities on Ingram Boulevard is like stepping back in time to birthdays and Christmases past.

The walls and shelves are full of toys and action figures, everything from The Six Million Dollar Man to Godzilla.

Walker has been collecting comics and toys for almost 50 years and amazingly — there’s that word again — nothing is from his personal collection. It’s all overflow.

“You can find everything that your mom and dad or grandma and grandpa or you ever looked at in the wish book,” Walker said. “If it was under your tree on Christmas or a birthday gift, I guarantee it's here.”

And after opening its doors in January 2017, now there is twice as much space to browse for comics and toys.

Walker punched a hole through the space next door and now has doubled the original space. Now there are even more toys and more boxes of comics. And they are STILL sorting comics — 3,000 to 4,000 each day to the point where their eyes get crossed and Batman begins to look like Hulk by the end of a long day.

The new space is more open and easier to browse and has more on display. But aside from a counter which added a work space area and a place for Robert to sit down, don’t expect to find any organization to the store.

That’s the one thing Robert doesn’t want.

If you want it, chances are he’s got it. But, you’re going to have to hunt for it.

“I don’t want it to be organized,” Walker said. “ I don’t want anything in sections. I never will. Walmart is great because you can run in and go right to the item you want and leave the store. You don’t shop. If I have a Star Wars section then there is no reason to look at any of this other stuff. So why would I want to put everything in a category so they can say ‘no, he doesn't have one.’ And then leave? But if there are Star Wars over here on this wall too, you’re going to hang around and look. I want you to come in here and say ‘what can I find today.’ All that is important is that HE knows where everything is at.

“The shelves may be six or seven or eight deep with action figures. But I can tell you that no, I don’t have six Gredos. I have eight,” Walker said. “I know where everything is in the store.”

Walker said he is very pleased with how things are looking inside the shop. The new space is allowing him to do things that he just didn’t have room to do before.

There’s space now for four gaming tables, which will allow gaming fans to hold tournaments for Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon at the shop.

“That’s really why I did this,” Walker said. “So the kids can come in and have a place to game.”

And he will soon even be adding current comics in the next few months, something he hadn’t originally envisioned doing. “I wasn’t going to,” Walker said. “But somebody tried to tell me that I couldn’t do it.

They said we don’t carry new books. So there was no reason to come over here. That’s a quote. So, I just smiled and laughed. Alright, let’s see how the war goes when I have new books. Unlike the ones in Memphis, I don’t have to make money on new comics like they do. I can offer every one of them 25 percent off.”

Walker said he still has a warehouse full of comics and toys and can easily see himself expanding again and maybe even franchising.

“I said I would double in size in two years,” Walker said. “And we have. I’m going after a Super D size building or something that size in five years. And I think I can.”

While it might look like The Daycare Kids ? Comics. Toys & Antiquities is just Walker’s version of a “Man Cave,” to him it is more like a museum.

“It’s not a ‘Man Cave,”’ Walker said. “It’s just a place where I can hang out and enjoy and meet people and make them happy. We have people come in from out of state who stop in while they are traveling. I get celebrities who come by. They see their action figure or a comic they drew and they say ‘you want me to sign it for you?’ I want you to enjoy being here. I want you to come in here and relive a memory from when you were a kid. I don’t want people walking in, grabbing one thing, and walking out.

I want them to visit. This is more a museum than a store.

And it gives me a chance to entertain them.”

Robert, Bertha and Wade Walker with just a few of the thousands of back-issue comics and other cool finds at their comic and toy shop.

Photo by Mark Randall