Sudbury geeks can rejoice — a new store on The Kingsway aims to bring the best in geek culture to the Nickel City.
First-time business owners Moe Charette and Joelle Lavoie decided to open their new store, MojoVerse, after they realized there was a huge untapped market in Sudbury for geeky merchandise and memorabilia.
For the past six or seven years the couple has visited Toronto's Fan Expo, where they noticed the majority of vendors were from the Greater Toronto Area.
More recently, Sudbury's own Graphic Con and Games Expo have also had a limited local vendor presence, with a lot of stores from Barrie, North Bay and other cities.
“Why can't somebody do this type of store from Sudbury?” Charette wondered.
Their colourful store, located at 1264 Kingsway Boulevard, takes its name by combining their names, but also references an obscure villain from Marvel's X-Men series. Despite the name, Mojoverse doesn't limit itself to comic book merchandise.
Charette's first love in the world of geekdom was Star Wars.
He saw "The Phantom Menace" in 1999, when he was eight years old, and fell in love with the series and the fantastical world it depicted.
“I got into all of the other movies and watched the original trilogy,” he said.
For Lavoie, video games were her entryway into all things geek.
“My first console was the Nintendo 64, which is still my favourite,” she said.
Nintendo's Mario and Zelda series continue to hold a special place in her heart.
One of the more original products available at the store, in fact, are soap bars that look exactly like the cartridges from Nintendo's old NES, Super NES and Nintendo 64 games.
The store also has geeky clothing, like R2-D2 dresses, and jewelry themed around the Big Bang Theory and Dr. Who.
The store has been open since last Saturday, but Charette said there have been some early complaints about limited stock.
He said they are expecting a few shipments before their Dec. 19 grand opening.
While Charette and Lavoie are running a business for the first time, they said they've had a lot of help from friends, family and Sudbury's Regional Business Centre, which helped them create a business plan and secure a loan to open the store.
Local marketing specialist Dawn Larsen has also advised them as they got the business off the ground.
Charette said he and Lavoie compliment each other with their skillsets.
“Being business partners is not much of a stretch for us,” he said. “We've been dating for so long.”
Lavoie has several years of administrative experience, most recently with Collège Boréal, and will handle a lot of the back-end paperwork, while Charette has more sales experience, and will deal directly with customers.
They said the community has already shown a lot of interest in the store, and their Facebook page has gained a rapid following.
The grand opening will feature a live DJ, food, refreshments and a raffle for a gift basket with $120 worth of merchandise from The Candy Store.