XENIA — Rob and Danielle Eldridge believe in downtown Xenia.
That’s why they chose a tight little spot on South Detroit Street to open up Route 68 Vintage Toys and Collectibles several months ago after visiting some of the neighboring businesses to see what the environment was like.
So far, their faith has been rewarded.
While some bemoan having a shop downtown, the Beavercreek couple’s business is thriving.
“We’ve in the short amount of time built a wonderful customer base,” Rob said.
Because they both work full-time jobs during the week, the store has limited hours Monday through Friday. It’s open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays and on April 14 by 3:30 p.m. the store had already seen 32 customers.
“Everybody says ‘what’s going on with Xenia. Nobody’s going downtown,’ ” Rob said. “There’s business in this corner. There’s people coming into Xenia.”
Danielle likes the potential for growth, especially with the downtown safety project beginning and the arrival of new businesses, such as the nearby Devil Winds Brewery.
“There’s retail here, you just need to know where it’s at,” she said. “The potential for Xenia to be a Waynesville or Lebanon … is great. It just needs to be tapped.”
The store itself is tapping into something the area doesn’t really have. It features toys from the 1920s up to the 2000s, including but not limited to classic 70s and 80s lunch boxes, hot wheels, old-school wrestling figures like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Brutus Beefcake, Simpsons action action figures, train cars, and Star Wars memorabilia.
“There’s something for everybody,” Rob said. “It’s affordable.”
They are always adding to the inventory because Rob and Danielle not only buy items from customers, they also enjoy picking up stuff at other stores.
“We both enjoy getting out hunting antiques,” Rob said.
That’s actually how the store came to be. They owned R and R Lawn Service in Beavercreek, but they thought with their knack for finding vintage goodies and their vast retail experience they could open a toy shop. They spoke with friend Heidi Hilderbrant, owner of The Flower Stop, and found the perfect spot.
They made some improvements to the space, but it still has that “old fashioned feeling.”
“It’s quaint,” Danielle said.
The Eldridges aren’t just about themselves either. They are networking with nearby downtown business owners to see how to help each other build a clientele. They also want to make a positive impact in the community, possibly rewarding students for good grades, or recognizing a “super hero” in the area.
They’re also bringing more traffic to Greene County. Rob runs River Birks Promotions and is moving two of its bigger events to the Greene County Fairgrounds. The Dayton Craft and Artisan Expo, which draws a couple thousand visitors, will be held the second weekend in November, while the third Great Ohio Toy Show will be held the last weekend in March beginning 2019.
“Both of those have good followings,” Rob said.
Much like the vintage toy shop.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.