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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Business in Toyland

    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Amy Dell Castillo, one of two Lulubell Toy Bodegas owners, concentrates this Tuesday, Sept 21 on getting her store moved to its new downtown location within the next week. Castillo has been selling limited edition, collectors toys from the stores current location on Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue for the past four years.
    Gordon Bates
    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Amy Dell Castillo, one of two Lulubell Toy Bodega’s owners, concentrates this Tuesday, Sept 21 on getting her store moved to its new downtown location within the next week. Castillo has been selling limited edition, collectors toys from the store’s current location on Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue for the past four years.

    On the corner of Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street is the former location of Lulubell Toy Bodega, a haven for aficionados of all things Taiwanese,  eccentric, vinyl and neon. On Tuesday, Oct. 5, Lulubell will open the doors at their new location, 35 E. Toole Ave, #1. The space will be new, but the fun will remain the same — a collection of kaiju toys, Eastern and Western vinyl, resin figurines and artistic apparel.

    Lulubell Toy Bodega is the product of the unconventional mind of Luke Rook. Rook’s love of strange and unique toys was spurred by a stint of living in Taiwan and teaching English in 1997. He was struck by the culture of collecting and the mixture of cute with the bizarre and creepy. After returning home to Tucson, Rook wanted to create a space that would foster his newfound passion and hopefully attract others with the same affinity for mini fortune cats, do-it-yourself Munny’s and skull figurines. So why move when he was all settled in?

    “”The choice to move was a hard one; we’ve loved our location and all the great people at Sixth and Sixth but we’ve outgrown it,”” Rook said. “”We’ve set our goals higher and really need the support of a tight art community and think that’s just what we’re about to jump into.””

    It’s tough to pick out the most eclectic thing about such a distinctive business, but it might just be the nature of the store itself. In addition to purveying their colorful collectibles, Lulubell is also an art gallery featuring the work of local artists and friends of Rook’s.

    The idea was an organic one: “”It all just kind of happened naturally. It’s all hand in hand. The funny thing is that the movement came as a way for artists to find new means of connecting with a wider range of fans, a way to step out of the galleries,”” Rook said. “”Perhaps it was just inevitable that they all came back together.””

    The kinetic energy that drives Rook’s passion for toys, art and collecting is manifested tenfold in everything about Lulubell — from their frenzied, varied stock, to their website, an online store bursting with neon text and enthusiasm. Rook has put his personality into every aspect of Lulubell, and the new Toole location should be no different.

    But even though Rook is extremely excited about his business, he concedes to the fact that his niche is small. “”Tucson is tough, it just doesn’t get the same kind of support other eclectic cities do,”” Rook said. But this hasn’t deterred him yet, and the move to the new location is just another indication of his fervent entrepreneurship.

    Lulubell Toy Bodega will reopen on Oct. 5. Hundreds of their stock items are on sale now at their website, lulubelltoys.com.

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