Darth Vader, R2-D2 and Han Solo and all their interstellar companions have landed in a new galaxy.
On planet Earth, “Star Wars” action figures have found a home in Jacksonville, where their owner hopes to introduce them to a whole new group of fans, and buyers.
Mark Medley, a longtime fan of the “Star Wars” films, is preparing to open a collectibles shop at 314 S. Main St. that he’s calling Destination Toys, which will carry a wide range of items, including “Star Wars” stuff.
“I chose the name Destination Toys because I want it to be a destination for people to come to and find unique toys and collectibles,” Medley said. “There is no place like what I am trying to do here anywhere near Jacksonville. Chicago and St. Louis are the nearest locations to find similar items to what I have.”
Destination Toys will have not only “Star Wars” toys but such things as autographed memorabilia, music collectibles, sports items, movie posters, comic books, vintage music equipment and a growing selection of antiques.
“The store’s goal is to make the south portion of the building vendor spaces as you would see in any other antique mall,” Medley said.
“Many of the things we carry are items people’s parents got rid of when the kids left the house for college or got married. Now, years later, I am making many of those items available again.”
Medley said he has wanted to open a collectibles shop for a while.
“I was approached to do a shop like this because of an interest in the community and there was nothing available in central Illinois for people to acquire these tangible items personally instead of searching online,” he said.
Medley, who grew up in Quincy and graduated from Illinois College in 1993, has been a lifelong collector of toys and autographs.
“I am most passionate about getting my photo taken with celebrities of all genres — music, movies, TV, sports and politics,” he said. “As an example, I have my photo with every president from Nixon to Obama, except Gerald Ford.”
Medley began attending collectors’ shows in the early 1990s to get autographs and photos from stars of his favorite science fiction films.
“My wife has said there is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness, and I’m right on the precipice,” he said with a laugh.
“I’m looking forward to this venture being a positive asset to the community and downtown Jacksonville,” Medley said. “I chose this location for its close proximity to the revitalized square. I’m hoping to make a go of it, and I’m looking forward to a big turnout of customers at the shop.”
Destination Toys will open with a three-day toy sale this weekend. The opening hours will be noon to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Regular hours will be determined later.
Greg Olson can be reached at 217-245-6121, ext. 1224, or on Twitter @JCNews_Greg.