Many come to Castleton State College for degrees in business, hoping to one day have one of their own. However, one student didn’t wait until after graduation to test his entrepreneurial ways.
Wayne Thornton, a junior, runs his own business called JR’s Toy Box and Hobbies. He mainly sells antique toys, dating back to the 1980s and before.
“A lot of stuff from the 80’s is (big) money,” said Thornton, adding people in his father’s generation are looking to get back in touch with their childhood.
But that’s not all he specializes in, saying he doesn’t want to restrict his toy business to just 80s goods.
“I want to encompass everything in the realm of fun,” said Thornton.
He said he got the idea for buying and selling toys from his father, who collects and sells slot cars. He cited one example when his father has about $1,500 worth of slot car items and having a lady come in and buy it all for $4,000.
That kind of profit margin was eye-opening for Thornton. But profitability aside, he also said he just enjoys playing around with toys, though a majority of them are bought to sell for a profit.
“My father always said ‘If you don’t sell any, you’ll always have toys to play with.'”
Thornton also has a major interest in video games, though plans to really buy and sell a lot of those will likely happen once he gets a physical location next summer either in Fair Haven or Castleton.
“If you’re just going to get a video game, why travel?” he said, already pitching sales at his yet-to-be-determined location.
When he gets his store he expects “90 percent of my money will come from video games…my goal is to put GameStop out of business in the long run.”
Thornton says he believes the store will be a success because “people will pay for fun.” His goal is to have a place for college students to hang out, with a few toys on display, games on the shelves, and possiblyeven an arcade.
For now though, he’s selling toys on eBay and through Facebook accounts for his store. He said a large portion of his profits right now come from him just buying things on eBay and reselling them for more money.
“I work four hours a month…$300 or $400 for four hours of work.”
Thornton said he will also sell toys of others, for a commission of course.
He has sold things to a few people around campus, but he does not divulge his sources easily as he does not want people to cut into his market share.
“He’s fair, and seems to know his stuff…I thought it was pretty good,” said Public Safety Officer Floyd Morey who bought a BB gun from Thornton, who works with him for Public Safety.
He also has the backing from students around campus, like Jaren Carpenter, a junior, who has two classes with Thornton and said he could be a future customer.
“If the price was right and I wanted the toy. I have little brothers and sisters,” he said.
Carpenter said his dream toy was a Sega Genesis game console, like he had when he was younger.
Like Carpenter, Thornton has his eyes out for a special toy from his youth. He tells a story about his father looking for years and years unable to find a Voltron toy, from the cartoon TV show which was on during the 1980’s. He eventually did find it, showing persistence pays.
For the younger Thornton, his special that toy is the original Megazord from the TV show “Mighty Morpin’ Power Rangers,” which can be quite expensive. He said they can sell anywhere from $100 to $300.
“That’s my Voltron,” said Thornton.
Thornton said his business isn’t something he does every, but when he does work, it’s almost like not working, because it’s enjoyable.
“I got to try and rescue all the toys I can…I want to be able to try and bring fun,” said Thornton.