Thursday, 17 January 2019

Abingdon Emporium & Collectibles offers ever-changing stock – Southwest Virginia Today

ABINGDON, Va. — Just try to resist the temptation to take a whiff of scented essential oils, reminisce over your favorite “Star Wars” figures or thumb through hundreds — more like thousands — of vintage comic books.

All of these items and more can be found at Abingdon Emporium & Collectibles at 333 W. Main St., next door to the Historical Society of Washington County in Abingdon.

Kevin Lyons and his wife, Tammy Lyons, never planned on opening an emporium store when a job offer brought the Carroll County couple to Abingdon a year ago.

“I had always dreamed of opening a comic shop,” said Kevin, who has been collecting the books since he was a youth 40 some years ago. “Then, we kept adding more and more items to our inventory.

“We thought about naming our new business ‘The Lyons Den’ after our last name, but there is a pizza place in town by that name.

“Since we carry such a wide variety of merchandise, we decided on the name Abingdon Emporium,” he said.

“I’ve used my savings to open this store. We found a good location to rent, and people are amazed at the transformation of our space that needed some renovations.”

Managing a business just comes naturally for Kevin.

“My father was a retail store manager for as long as I can remember. I got my business degree from Radford University, and I’ve been in the retail industry ever since,” he said.

Fan frenzy

Abingdon Emporium & Collectibles opened in October, and the first item that sold was a “Star Wars” All Terrain Armored Transport (AT-AT), part of Kevin’s own “Star Wars” collection.

“I was pleasantly surprised that it was the first item to go, along with my vintage action figures from the first three ‘Star Wars’ movies from the 1970s and 80s,” Kevin said.

“People had seen the vintage ‘Star Wars’ items through the store window, and I was getting calls before we even opened.”

The store will tell you that men are not the only ones who embrace the “Star Wars” craze.

“We had a lady — they’re not all men — who came in yesterday and bought vintage ‘Star Wars’ toys.”

Comic books

The couple recently expanded their merchandise into a back room, stocking DC and Marvel comic books that range from the mid-1970s and early 1980s and feature all the staple superheroes, like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men.

“Comic books are still popular — maybe not as popular as they once were. But there are no other comic book stores in town,” he said.

The collector said prices of vintage comic books can range from $3 to $1,000, depending on the condition and whether it’s a key issue in a series, such as when Batman introduced a new Robin.

“The best comic book sale I’ve had so far was the sale of ‘[The Amazing] Spider-Man #129.’ It has the first appearance of the Punisher. If that book had been purchased off the press, it would have been worth $3,000. I ended up selling it for less than that, but it still was a good sale.”

Herbal remedies

But the store is not all about superheroes.

“We offer a variety of unique products at reasonable prices. I don’t think you can find a lot of these items anywhere else in town,” said Kevin.

“We’re just different from other stores in town. Our product line is constantly changing. You can come in one week, and we’ll have a large selection of Young Living essential oil products, and the next week you might find imported sea grass baskets.

“I try to be as diverse as possible while also selling as many American-made items as possible.”

While the husband likes buying and selling new and old comic books, baseball and football cards and “Star Wars” memorabilia, Tammy is interested in the Young Living essential oils, which are used to enhance home, wellness and beauty.

“I’ve always been interested in herbal medicines,” she said. “Growing up as a child, I can remember my great-grandmother would find herbs in the woods that she used as medicines. I’ve always been intrigued by holistic medicines. I cook with herbs, too.”

Tammy plans to become a certified aromatherapist with Young Living so that she can offer classes at the store and use their formulas to make Young Living soaps and candles to sell.

All that and the kitchen sink

“We’re also refocusing our business to include the healing powers of oils, such as cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil,” he said.

The couple believes the oil, which is derived from the cannabis plant, has many medicinal benefits. The product is sold to them by Highlands Hemp, a Southwest Virginia-based company that provides ultra-refined CBD-rich hemp products, such as the CBD hemp oil. Educational materials are provided with sales of the oil.

“The oil is legal, but I know it’s a controversial product right now. But I’ve heard it can alleviate the symptoms of many ailments and even fight cancer.”

Other items sold at the emporium include kantha quilts made in India.

“They are hand-sewn in India. I get good reviews on them. I can’t keep them in the store,” said Tammy.

“And everyone loves the Paparazzi jewelry we carry. It’s lead- and nickel-free but doesn’t come with a big price tag.”

The store also sells coffees from Honduras Coffee Shop in Stuart, Virginia, and gourmet chocolate from Nancy’s Fudge in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

They stock an assortment of pocket knives, including the high-quality Buck knives, hand-sewn purses, sling bags and imported lamps.

Store hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 5 .m. on Sunday.

Follow Abingdon Mercantile & Collectibles on Facebook, or call 276-233-2329.


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