Time travel might not be a possibility just yet, but walking the new Northport treasure quest might be the next best wormhole for kids and oldies alike.
Co-owners Mike and Pam Chaudhuri filled the walls to create a “geeky store”, in a location adjacent to Alley Cake Co., owned and operated by their daughter Sarah Bullington.
Although it’s a relatively intimate place, Mike Chaudhuri said, it’s filled with a dragon’s treasure trove of curiosities, a treasure trove of things they’ve gathered both for their personal fulfillment and after deciding to open the shop.
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“It’s in a room next door, the one that was a cookware store for a while,” he said. Mary Cesar announced in December that she was closing Mary’s Cakes and Pastries, saying she wanted to retire and move to New Mexico with her husband.
Bullington, who had been a designer at Mary’s for 10½ years, decided to take over the business and reopen under the new name in February.
“This space was unused, and Pam works with Sarah in the bakery, so we weren’t sure what to do with this extra: make it a party room or just leave it empty,” said Chaudhuri, a semi-retired lawyer. Although he donated part of his personal collection to a library, he decided to keep busy with Treasure Quest, while the others worked on the side.
“We cram a lot in there,” he said. “We’re both into collectibles and antiques. Pam’s more into glassware and stuff. I’m more of a geek.”
So while comic book and pop culture fans in West Alabama also have The Comic Strip at 505 Hargrove Road E in Tuscaloosa, Izzy’s Comics at 2801 Lurleen B. Wallace Blvd. in Northport, and the new 2nd and Charles in Meadowbrook Plaza, Chaudhuri says their new store “… tries to carry things that nobody else carries”.
Inside you’ll find movie posters, model kits, record albums, comic books, silver coins, board games with miniature figures, hundreds of magnets lining the walls, and cards baseballs, including unopened packs dating back to the 70s.
Also: Toys galore, from 21st century Funko Pops across the decades to “Doctor Who,” “Star Wars” and a Flintstones pinball machine, to trivia from the 1940s and 50s.
“It’s a lot of stuff you used to buy at Store 5 and 10,” Chaudhuri said.
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Copies of the British magazine Fortean Times, which Treasure Quest also offers, could almost serve as a treasure map for the store.
Named after American writer and researcher Charles Hay Fort, who studied the uncanny, Fortean Times delves into anomalous phenomena, things that can apparently only be described as paranormal or supernatural: ghosts, levitation, teleportation , alien abduction, or other bizarre boundary-testing events. of scientific understanding, from UFOs to ball lightning, from raining frogs to spontaneous human combustion.
The geek-life repository is designed more as a labor of love than a profit machine.
“It’s something we thought was fun, not a typical store, but a bit of everything,” he said. “It’s a lot of people’s childhood. That’s why we named it Treasure Quest: you don’t know what you’re going to find, go in search of your childhood or something newer.”
There will be no online sales, as the Chaudhuris want quests to be conducted internally only. But if a client comes in with a request for a certain item, they can search for it.
“I’m a good pick-up,” he said. “I find things at antique malls, on eBay, at garage sales…everywhere, really.”
Hours will mirror those of Alley Cake Co., for starters, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, though it plans to stay open later one evening a week.
“I can refine that, but I’m not going to spend 80 hours a week here,” Chaudhuri said.
Saturday’s grand opening, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature comic giveaways and cookies from neighboring Alley Cake Co., with prizes for best cosplayer. Customers can enter to win a Superman hardcover book or dessert cake. And the first Avenger himself, Captain America, will come.
Treasure Quest is located at 412 22nd Ave. in Northport, behind Billy’s Sports Bar and Grill. For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/treasurequestcomicsor email [email protected]