Many of you have been collecting with us for a short while now. Maybe you came across on your Facebook feed, or maybe you heard from a friend of a friend that Ozzie has the best packing standards around. (Totally true, by the way.)
But those of you who have been with us a little longer probably remember where we come from.
Just a few short years ago, we were operating out of the back of our small storefront. Packing orders in a narrow storeroom hallway, answering emails in the dead of night from our phones, pulling all-nighters just to put a smile on a few dozen faces come our tiny slice of Comic Con drop. All with just enough team members to count on the one hand, and one thing in common: a shared dream to see where this all could take us.
For the past five years, we've been steadily growing our business into the community-focused celebration of pop culture it is today. Starting out as a small side operation out of the back of a newsagency in 2016, we've gone from dipping our toe in the collectable toy world to unveiling a huge new two-storey showroom on Princes Highway, where we can truly focus on our passion for the things in pop and geek culture that bring us all together!
We really are proud of what we do and we'd love to do anything we can to share it with our local community. These past few years more than ever we've become increasingly concerned with joining our local community together to celebrate our shared interests. The new space not only features the collectables that are our bread and butter (featuring a huge range of Funko, action figures, merchandise, trading cards, and so much more) but also features a spot for people to come free of charge and celebrate their passions. Our lower level features a new gaming spot, with a free space for players to book tournament nights for a range of trading card and tabletop roleplaying games including Dungeons & Dragons, Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, Yugioh, Digimon, and board games. We're also excited to be launching a new spot to showcase local artists and creators!
We're not a big business by any means - in fact, we're still just a small, close group of people who are passionate about collecting - and when we first decided to expand from our small shopping centre spot and into something bigger and more exciting, we knew how important it was to keep it local. Helping grow the presence of pop culture and the collectables world in Southeast Melbourne has ensured that we're able to share something truly great with our own community, celebrating not only our humble beginning but the people and places we love most. The new showroom is situated right on Princes Highway, where we eagerly await travellers in both directions as they catch sight of our big yellow sign and feel that same surge of excitement we experience whenever we get to share in something truly great.
A few days ago, we officially launched this new spot with a Grand Opening event. Pulling up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare, the team and I weren't sure what to expect. We were delighted to see that our first customers were already camped out front and ready to go - the excitement was palpable!
From 9am, when the shutters rolled up and the front doors opened, we were absolutely floored by the eager faces waiting to see us. A line that stretched all the way around our huge building, cosplayers from just about every age group, and a passion I haven't felt since the pre-Covid days of Comic Con were palpable!
With a wait time of almost two hours just to get in (following Covid max capacity guidelines), there were some concerns about whether or not people really would wait that long just to get in. But with the help of some special guests - among which were Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Hulkbuster, Bluey, the Hulk, and Deadpool - the community atmosphere continued to surprise us with its overwhelming positivity. Free bubble teas were passed down the line, kids fought valiantly with balloon swords and painted faces, and music and cheers blasted down the highway for all to hear.
The day was a massive success, and we can't thank our community enough for coming down and helping us celebrate. Breathtaking cosplay, life-size statues, food trucks, showbags, and more were all part of our big day. And now that it's finally over, we can focus on what we've all been waiting for: where will the future take us?
If you haven't been down to visit us yet, you can watch our sneak peek video below, which features a brief tour of the new two-storey showroom space. We're now open and operating 7 days a week until Christmas, so plan your next visit now!
Here are some of our favourite highlights from the day!
Our first customers, camped out and ready to go before 5am!
The team and I are just so excited to see where this next step takes us, and (especially now with Melbourne finally opening up) just how we can best utilise this new space to engage with a local community of people who share like minded interests - just as Funko put it, everyone's a fan of something, and we believe in celebrating that!
What do you think of where Ozzie is headed? Did you attend the Grand Opening? Leave us a comment!