Sunday, February 11, 2018
By William K. Alcorn
The Toyhio toy show Saturday at the Metroplex Expo Center in Liberty received great reviews from shoppers and vendors.
The show featured everything from a “Hulk” TV tray to vintage cast-iron cars to Funko pops to whet the appetites of the estimated 400 to 500 young and old fans who wandered among the 55 vendors at the show.
About 200 showed up for the 10 a.m. “early bird” session organized by Rick Fusselman, who operates Time Capsule Toy Shop. The entry fees of $3 for early birds at 10 a.m. and regular admission of $5 at 11 a.m. made the event affordable for almost anyone.
Among those strolling around trying to decide what to buy – or how to convince their parents to foot the bill – were Emilie Kolenich, 5, of Howland, with her dad, Michael, and Alexandria Brennan, 11, with her dad, David, also of Howland.
When asked who brought whom, Michael smiled and said “we brought each other.” Emilie said she likes “My Little Pony” and cars and Monsters.
Alexandria, who was very excited to be at the show, also likes “My Little Pony,” the original “Power Puff Girls” and “Scooby-Doo.”
“My daddy taught me about the original “Teen Titans,” said Alexandria, who draws original cartoons under the tutelage of Nicholas Galipo through a program at The Butler Institute of American Art.
Vendors interviewed said they liked Toyhio for several reasons.
Ron Haines, owner of Dead Dale’s Comics in Boardman, praised the promoters, Fusselman and Tom Troll, for advertising for the event and “not charging an arm and a leg for vendors or patrons.”
“We’ll definately be back for the June 16 show,” Haines said.
Some of the vendors are obsessive collectors themselves.
Mike Bell of Pennsylvania, whose specialty is the diecast cars of his youth, said his basement and attic are full of collectibles, and he recently built a 32-by-16-foot, two-story shed to hold his burgeoning collection.
Fusselman, who described himself as a “kid at heart,” said he became obsessed with toys at 5 or 6 when his mother got him a “Masters of the Universe” figure. His second foray into collecting began in his mid-20s when he became a “huge horror fan. I dived head-first into horror figures,” he said.
He has been setting up toy shows for years in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, but decided to try smaller local shows, and already set the second, June 16, date at the recently reopened Liberty facility at 1620 Motor Inn Drive.
“Today has been a whirlwind. About 200 showed up for the early-bird event,” said Fusselman, who operates the Capsule Toys Shop in Niles.
His partner in the show is Tom Troll, a former pro wrestler from Struthers who specializes in pro wrestling memorabilia, particularly WWF Hasbro figures.
Troll, who first became fascinated with pro wrestling when his father took him to WWF events at Struthers Fieldhouse, thanked everyone who showed up for the show and expressed his appreciation for the support of the community and the vendors.