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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Generation Cool throws back to the ’80s and ’90s with its vintage treasures

    An arcade, vintage clothing, collectible vintage toys and a snack bar are just a few aspects that comprise the ’80s/’90s-inspired Fourth Avenue boutique, Generation Cool. Generation Cool’s throwback atmosphere and mod purchasable items create an environment that appeals to both kids and adults alike. Local Hotel Congress promoter Robert Hall, affectionately nicknamed “Slobby Robby,” created the idea for Generation Cool as a brand when he was planning an ’80s/’90s-themed party for the hotel.

    “[The party] was called Generation Cool,” he said. “We did a giant vintage toy installation, we sold jerseys, we had a video game set-up for people to play, a pizza party, and really it was successful. I got a lot of positive feedback. People were buying toys off of the installation, and [it] seemed pretty lucrative. That was the final kick in the rear to get it all into one brand — it’s not just selling online, but getting into one place and one brand.”

    In the late ’90s, Hall started to recollect his toys, clothes and shoes from his childhood and decided to sell them. He created an online store platform for his vintage products and has continued to expand his collectible-selling business ever since.

    “I started realizing there was a market for reselling this stuff, and there was a lot of people like me who wanted to buy the old stuff, collect stuff and sell,” he said. “I started selling toys and sports stuff on eBay [inc.] and [have] really been in the vintage-resell game ever since.”

    The setup and overall look of the store sprouts from Hall’s capacity for art — skills he learned at the UA. His art installation and design ideas helped to create Generation Cool’s museum-esque vintage concept.

    “I think that being an experienced and successful visual and installation artist really lent itself to me. … I know how to show all the items and present them to the public so people know that they were important and cool and worth money,” Hall said. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures, Dennis Rodman street-players and toys of the like cover the glass shelves of the store, some in their original packaging and others not, mixing and matching to create the shop’s character.

    Generation Cool showcases what Hall describes as “unique and classic” fashions, including Adidas sneakers and Nike windbreakers, as well as “authentic vintage” T-shirts, polos, button-ups and vintage jerseys.

    Generation Cool’s individualistic elements attract audiences young and old, but also provide a hangout spot for teens who attend schools around the area. Hall said that the footwear is popular among his customers because they “think it’s cool and want to be like [the older generation].” He also said it allows youths to connect with a different time.

    Hall also feels it is a safe place for these young teens to hang out and learn about the popular and cool things of the ’80s and ’90s, making it different from any other Fourth Avenue shop. “We’re kind of offering a safe place for kids, but at the same time providing a kind of product they’re interested in that other stores don’t provide,” he said.

    Customer Matt Taconne has shopped at Generation Cool since its opening and is a shop regular. Taconne said he tries to embrace every unique aspect the store offers.

    “I go for a little bit of everything,” Taconne said. “Depending on who I’m with, I’ll play some video games. I like going there for their polo items from the ’90s, so pretty much every aspect of the store I enjoy.”

    J.R.“Sid the Kid” Harrison, a local DJ, runs the shop alongside Hall. Taconne said the duo is fun to be around.

    “It’s a fun vibe,” Taconne said. “They’re very courteous of all their customers and friendly, and it’s almost like they create a communal atmosphere.”

    Follow Erika Parra on Twitter.

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