BY CAROLE ROSNER
Vintage is hot, retro is popular and the old times are the good times again. There is no better place to get into the spirit of those good old days then at Big Kid Collectable Toy Mall and Retro Store in Sherman Oaks (newly named from Van Nuys). This store is so packed with fun memorabilia and quirky treasures you could spend a week here and still not see everything.
Dave Levy, a native Valley boy, opened Big Kid in September 2004 after spending more than 20 years in magazine publishing. Levy, a collector of vintage advertising icons, dreamed of creating a 1950’s style drive-in movie theater with a collectable mall as the gift shop.
Things worked out a little differently when the perfect location came on the market. Although the space wasn’t ideal for a movie theater, Dave jumped at the chance to open his dream store next to a Valley landmark, Nat’s Early Bite Restaurant.
“This is a place for kids to bring adults,” explains Levy.
And it’s a place for everyone to look, laugh and remember. Levy’s “step back in time approach” is evident in every nook and cranny at Big Kid. Remember Shrinky Dinks, Kit Kat Clocks with moving jeweled eyeballs, Wacky Packages stickers and the board game Mystery Date? Look no further for autographed sports memorabilia or unique party favors. It’s all here along with an authentic 1963 soda pop machine selling original formula soft drinks (with sugar not corn syrup), Charleston Chews, Abba Zabbas and Razzles gum.
Store Manager Nick Liberatore said he constantly hears customers exclaim, “My Mom threw this away!” when they find that long-lost toy or game. Liberatore has been with Levy since day one of Big Kids and is happily helping adults and kids find what they forgot they ever had.
Big Kid also has new merchandise that feels old-school—Classic Bozo the Clown Bop Bags, Slinkys, yo-yos, vintage-style t-shirts, kitchen kitsch and a huge array of highly collectible McFarlane Toy Figurines.
Saturday and Sunday mornings are usually very busy at Big Kid because Nat’s customers often hang out while waiting for their tables. Levy has set up an intercom system with the restaurant so customers can shop and be notified when their table is ready. Or they can play pinball, watch classic TV episodes or just eat some FREE popcorn.
Collectors, celebrities, prop masters and regular people shop at Big Kid. You can’t help but walk out with a smile.
BIG KID COLLECTABLE TOY MALL & RETRO STORE 14109 Burbank Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91404 www.bigkidcollectables.com Phone: 818-785-9208
Carole Rosner is a native Valley Girl who has lived in Studio City for the past 11 years. She is a strong supporter of her local public schools and an active volunteer in her neighborhood. Some of her favorite things to do in Studio City are to celebrate 4th of July at CBS Radford, walk along Ventura Blvd. and browse through the racks at Crossroads Trading Company.