New Brunswick

Saint John toy collector opens store for young-at-heart

The new Saint John toy store Collectable Toys has a handmade sign and stickers in the front window, and the inside isn't much bigger than the average bedroom.

Robert Raynes of Collectable Toys says he outgrew his own storage space and created the new Saint John store

You can buy or sell collectable toys at this new store in Saint John's north end. (FB)

The new Saint John toy store Collectable Toys has a handmade sign and stickers in the front window and the inside isn't much bigger than the average bedroom.

Yet somehow, more than 4,000 new and used collectable toys are crammed onto shelves against the wall and in the middle of the room, leaving barely enough space for the store's counter.

Collectable Toys isn't geared towards children, although plenty of the toys inside were once played with by them.

It is a toy store for the connoisseur, where toys are bought to be shelved at home, admired and eventually traded or resold.

The store is the passion project of owner Robert Raynes, and all of the items for sale are part of Raynes' personal collection.

It also brings us back to our childhood.- Robert Raynes, Collectable Toys

He started collecting toys two years ago, hoping to build up a collection over five years and open his own store.

"It started off with Spiderman, I've always been a huge fan of Spiderman," he says.

"My first set of toys was [DC] Superheroes vs. Super Villains. When I bought that first set, I was amazed at the level of detail, and it led me to buy more, and next thing you know, I was buying them all the time."

A couple of weeks ago, he had to move his current collection into a larger storage area when the location he now sells the toys from became available for rent. 

Raynes realized that if he was paying for it, he may as well make money, so rather than using it as storage, he moved everything in and opened up the store a couple of weeks later.

"I said, 'You know what, Robert, it's time to … let's just test it out, let's open the store up first and see if it's going to go,'" he said.

Pricey playthings

His toys range in price from 25 cents for small figurines to a $500, foot-and-a-half high, interactive R2-D2 figure.

A new toy store in Saint John hopes customers reconnect with their childhood. (FB)
When Raynes gets all the electronic toys going, the voice-activated Darth Vader and Yoda actually interact with each other, making for a noisy store.

But many of the toys are not being collected to be played with, rather to be looked at.

Raynes likens it to collecting artwork or anything beautiful.

"When you walk into somebody's home and you see their collection, you don't get 'Oh my,' you get 'Wow.' And that's what people like," he said.

"They like the idea that they're collecting something."

"It also brings us back to our childhood … we look at our toys, it just brings it all back to us."

He said that while this store is only a trial run, if it is successful, he will move into a larger place later this year.


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