Surrounded by an army of vintage Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars-themed toys and figures representing characters kids played with in the pre-iPhone era, Keith Libra talked about the astronomical appeal of his TimeBlaster Toys store at 38483 Joy Road, just south of the Westland-Livonia border.
“When people between the ages of, let’s say, 25 and 45 walk in here, they’re reminded of back in the day when their lives were simpler and they didn’t have the responsibilities they have now,” said Libra, who opened the retro toy store in 2021. “Young kids who come in here may not be familiar with toy stores because Toys R Us closed several years ago, so the 6- and 7-year-olds go absolutely wild in here.”
Libra’s business is a haven for lovers of old-school toys.
Its walls and well-organized display cases are neatly adorned with hundreds of still-in-the-package figures and accessories — from Hulk Hogan to Luke Skywalker.
The price range for the merchandise is wide: some go for a few bucks, with one never-opened 1990s Ninja Turtle Technodrome toy valued at $4,000.
A toy lover for as long as he can remember — aren’t we all, really? — Libra started selling his personal vintage toys out of his Livonia home a decade ago.
“I really enjoyed buying and selling toys and I realized pretty quickly there was money to be made in this,” Libra recounted. “So I started branching out, finding people who had toys to sell and then reselling most of the vintage toys I bought.
“Before I knew it, I had toys filling up my garage, my basement and every closet of my home. Finally, my wife was like, ‘This is taking over our house. Why don’t you find a place to put everything in.’ That’s when I found this place, which is only a couple minutes from where we live.”
Immediate endorphin rush
Visitors are jolted with a joyful endorphin rush once they step in the store, which is floor-to-ceiling vibrant.
The floor of the business’s bathroom is covered completely with plastic-coated Pokemon and Dragonball Z cards — an example of how all-in Libra has committed to his place.
“People are honestly blown away the first time they walk in here,” said Libra. “We have a lot of repeat customers now, but a good deal of first-timers, too.”
While the brick-and-mortar TimeBlaster Toys is opened limited hours (Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Libra’s passion for buying and selling toys is a six-days-a-week venture.
“I’m here even when the store isn’t open, fulfilling orders for things we buy and sell on our social-media sites, getting toys ready to ship,” he said. “Me and my good friend Joe Dalessandro also have a podcast — TimeBlaster Toyscast — and we’re always shooting and editing videos for YouTube, TikTok — all the things you need to do these days to get your business out there.
“Social media is legitimate. Just putting together content for the different platforms could be a full-time job. We’re connecting — buying and selling — with people all over the world. We’ve shipped toys to people on every continent on the earth.”
An admitted fan of The History Channel’s popular “Pawn Stars” show, Libra said he could foresee his store as the focus of a reality TV show.
“Oh, no question,” he said with a laugh. “We’re buying, selling and trading all the time. We could have a lot of fun with that.”
From Star Wars to Pokemon
Libra said the age of his products dates back to the late-70s when “Star Wars” emerged to the early 2000s.
“It’s mostly stuff I played with when I was a kid and beyond,” he said.
“I absolutely love what I’m doing, so much so that it’s not even like work to me.
To learn more about TimeBlaster Toys, visit its website here.
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