When Remixxd by Steel City Galleries celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 10, it will mark not only the culmination of years of entrepreneurial innovation by owner Don Spagnolo, but the power of the stuff of our childhood to unite us.
The former Fox Grocery Warehouse at 236 Finley Road in Belle Vernon has been transformed into a pop culture mecca. Dredge up your fondest memories from your past and Remixxd has it.
“What you see on the floor is a fraction of what we have,” Spagnolo says, before proving it by taking me deeper into the warehouse and blowing my mind. (If I wasn’t working, he could have blown my bank account too because I wanted everything I saw).
There were the expected autographed photos, comics, toys, action figures, board games and sports cards. But who would have dreamed to find a 1955 bar of Ivory soap or vintage McCormick food coloring? And mountains of Happy Meal toys, Hallmark ornaments and TV Guides. Just trying to list all of the things would do it a huge injustice. Prices range from a few bucks to the thousands for hard-to-get autographed items.
And if you want to learn more about anything, just ask.
“I like to educate people,” Spagnolo says.
The Remixxd retail store opened on July 30, but Spagnolo has been in the business of collectibles for decades and has an inventory of more than 100,000 items to back it up.
He sells his vast collection from his own Bonanza website as well as on eBay, HipComic and Amazon but sees the trend moving to the in-person shopping experience. And if Spagnolo has learned anything over his career, it’s that a business needs to keep evolving.
What started as a way to sell autographed merchandise of celebrities and sports figures transitioned as opportunities arose.
One of his biggest serendipitous moves happened when the Sharp Edge restaurant in Crafton went out of business and he acquired their beer tap handles, which became bestselling items. (Never underestimate the allure of beer).
When vintage toys took off, he shifted again and became a distributor for new toys as well.
Consistent top-selling items are anything with a corporate logo, a familiar character, a celebrity or an athlete.
Guess what he says is taking off in the collectibles world? VHS tapes! A sealed copy of “Ace Ventura” could fetch about $500. And you thought VHS was dead.
Spagnolo will surprise you if you expect him to be a stereotypical collectibles nerd. He values the human connection that his shop fosters more than the hunt for the next mint-condition action figure.
“I want to create an atmosphere where people can get together and everyone is welcome no matter their differences,” he says.
Remixxd is as much about creating a fun gathering space as it is about selling merchandise. Spagnolo wants a place where we can re-engage with each other after the isolation of the pandemic. He draws inspiration from places such as Sarris Candies in Canonsburg that create an experience for shoppers.
To that end, Remixxd has a popcorn machine, an original 1981 Donkey Kong video game machine, and even an authentic Hill’s Department Store shopping cart. And Spagnolo has plans for an adjacent event space that could host autograph signings and other social events.
The next event is the grand opening party on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be the Steel City Time Machine “Back to the Future” 1982 DeLorean; The Steel City Ghostbusters with the 25-foot inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Slimer and iconic vehicle; and food from New Eagle’s StrEat Food Catering and Food Truck.
Regular store hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It can be hard to spot from the road, so trust your GPS or call 724-243-3546.