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Local retro toy store provides classic nostalgia for residents

Local retro toy store provides classic nostalgia for residents

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For Shenandoah Valley residents who are still kids at heart, missing the good old days of their favorite breakfast cereal paired with Saturday morning cartoons back in the ‘80s, there’s one shop in downtown Waynesboro set to feed that nostalgia.

Amanda Stone and Ray Murray have been together for nearly 20 years and are the kids at heart behind The Tubular Toy Box, a retro vintage toy shop located in downtown Waynesboro.

While Marvel superheroes and a “Star Wars: Episode I” podracer, among other items, currently fill the store, it was actually a different love and hobby of Stone’s that ended up starting what would eventually become “The Box.”

“It all started with her making candles, believe it or not,” Murray said. “She had a candle business that she was doing and she wanted to put some in a retail store.”

Murray said that the two found a small “antique mall-type” shop in Grottoes where Stone was finally able to start selling her candles. Murray, on the other hand, offered much different products to local customers.

“I had some old toys that I wanted to sell,” Murray said. “[They] sold like crazy. We started, little by little, buying toys here and there to put in there with her candles. Next thing you know, it just completely transferred over into all toys. It just grew.”

It almost sounds like the synopsis of an ‘80s cartoon — a heroic team banding together to drive a force out, but the force in this case being Stone’s candles.

And from what The Tubular Tox Box has been selling, that team had a pretty impressive lineup of heroes to do so.

Everyone from “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “G.I. Joe,” “Star Wars” and more can all be found inside and are still in great condition even four decades later.

While the original shop in Grottoes has since closed, Stone and Murray are proud of their current location at 130 North Wayne Avenue in the heart of downtown.

“This place [had] been closed for years,” said Stone, who worked with the building’s joint owner to move into the shop. “It was the old Carpet Village. I bugged her enough and here we are.”

Currently, the shop is only open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, as both Stone and Murray work full-time jobs the rest of the week. Stone is an operations officer at Frontier Community Bank while Murray is a member of the Staunton Police Department.

However, despite only being open two days a week, both Murray and Stone said that plenty of customers still find their way to “The Box” before the weekend’s conclusion.

“Everybody that comes in here that’s our age or even a little older, they love to see the old toys that are in here,” Murray said. “Even if they don’t buy anything, they pretty much leave with a smile on their face.”

Stone added that that’s due to the store’s nostalgia factor and also said that it’s always fun to watch parents come in with their children and talk about toys that they grew up playing with.

It’s as if it’s just two generations of kids simply having fun.

“We have a lot of parents that are bringing their kids in here and buying them the old toy lines,” Murray said. “We have a lot of dads that come in, get their kids into the old G.I. Joe stuff and they’re, like, ‘Hey, let’s get this or pick up this,’ and the kids are coming in week after week getting stuff.”

Murray specifically knows a dad and son, who’s autistic, who both come in often to buy old He-Man toys together. For the shop, the dad even repairs the rubber banding inside Prince Adam, Skeletor, and the rest of the series’ action figures that have aged over time.

“He’s pretty much got the whole collection now,” Murray said.

The store even attracts Virginians from outside the Shenandoah Valley, as Stone said that customers have travelled from all over the state to walk through the shop’s front door, including from Virginia Beach, Alexandria, etc.

“There really aren’t a whole lot of toy stores like this in the state,” Murray said. “Most people come in here and they’re like, ‘I’ve never seen this much old vintage toy stuff in one place.’”

“We’re asked if we’re a museum,” added Stone, laughing.

Similar to customers who travel miles away from their homes throughout the state to drive to the shop, Stone and Murray said that they essentially have to do the same thing to find toys to sell. Occasionally, customers will come in and sell toys of their own to the store, but the two have been all over the country looking for new vintage products to sell at The Tubular Toy Box.

“That’s another reason why we’re only open on the weekends,” Murray said. “A lot of times on my days off during the week, I’m out trying to find stuff. I’ve driven all the way up to Northern Virginia just to go grab some stuff and come back.”

While the couple often heads to Richmond and Roanoke for toys, as well, even their vacations aren’t safe from the occasional business shopping spree!

“Any time we’re on vacation, any free second, we’re out,” said Stone, who added that flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores are just some of the places that one can find the two at work enjoying “the thrill of the hunt.”

And it’s Waynesboro residents who get the rewards for the pair’s adventures.

Both still enjoy it and say it helps them stay young.

“I’m definitely a kid at heart,” Stone said. “We have our own collections at our house, so it’s not like this is just the thin of it.”

Stone loves to collect old Disney toys, while Murray is still a fan of classic He-Man and G.I. Joe.

Both of their passions for what they grew up on are on full display immediately upon walking inside a shop that Murray says is unique to both Waynesboro residents and kids who just refuse to grow up.

“It’s different for the community,” Murray said. “They definitely enjoy coming in here because it’s something different for them and it takes them back to their childhood.”

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