Charlie’s Collectible Show, which recently opened in Stone Mountain, is described on its website as “a weekly mini-convention, dedicated to all things geek.”
“There are people who look forward all year to conventions such as Dragon Con, MomoCon, and Anime Weekend Atlanta. When those events arrive, ‘geeks,’ enthusiasts, and collectors from miles around come to join in the fun,” observed Charlie’s Collectible Show President Charles Hsu. “Now that experience is available every weekend.” Charlie’s is open every Saturday and Sunday.
In a former retail building on Memorial Drive, Hsu created a space “with a vast selection of anime, trading cards, Funko Pops, action figures, comics, video games, and other pop culture and collectibles.” He said his goal is make it “the ultimate destination for collectors and enthusiasts,” adding, “Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting your journey into the world of geek culture, our diverse selection caters to every passion and fandom.”
As at conventions, there is a wide variety of vendors with merchandise that appeals to the specialized audience of attendees. Some vendors license a space—typically 10-by-10 feet to 20-by-20 feet—and open it every weekend; others are there in a flea market-type format. Some have brick-and-mortar stores elsewhere and for some the space at Charlie’s is their only location.
Charlie’s Collectible Show also hosts a variety of events, including voice actor signings, tournaments, flea markets, meetups, and cosplay contests. What Hsu calls “a vibrant community of geeks and hobbyists” gathers not only to enjoy the pastimes they love, but also to meet others with similar interests. “People who enjoy these hobbies also enjoy being around others who have the same interests. They are often called ‘nerds’ or ‘geeks’—and some mean it in an offensive way—but we plan to turn these terms around and give them a positive connotation,” he said.
“We want this to be a place where everyone is welcome, and everyone can just be comfortable being themselves,” Hsu added.
Hsu said he was inspired by a similar place in Los Angeles and because of the popularity of related conventions in Atlanta he was sure the concept would work well in the Atlanta area. He saw the California facility quickly grow from 10 vendors to 40; it now has approximately 250. Charlie’s Collectible Show, which opened in June, now has approximately 20 vendors and continues to grow. “We have room for at least twice that many,” Hsu said.
“It’s a unique opportunity to hunt for hidden gems and rare collectibles, while meetups provide the perfect platform to connect with like-minded individuals and build lasting friendships based on shared interests,” Hsu said, adding, “One of the beautiful things about this is that in other places retailers with similar offerings see themselves as competitors; here, the vendors see themselves as members of the same community.
“At Charlie’s Collectible Show, we are dedicated to creating a space where nerds from all walks of life can come together to celebrate their passions,” he continued. “Our mission is to become the central hub for all things geek, offering not only a vast selection of collectibles but also fostering a sense of community and belonging.”
Under the broad tent of collectors and fans are many specific interests, Hsu said. “When enthusiasts bring family members to a convention, there may be those in the family who have no interest in the specific focus of the convention and may be bored, but here there are so many things that almost everyone can find something they are interested in. The person who brought them may be there because of an interest in comics, but another family member may want to go check out the video games.”
The Stone Mountain location at 6009 Memorial Drive has worked out well, according to Hsu, who said it’s convenient for those on both the north and south sides of the metro area. “Also, it was an opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of this stretch of Memorial Drive,” he added.