Katie Coenen says that Red Bandana, a collectibles store located in the Masonic Building across from the Milford Post Ofice, is a dream that began when she and her husband, Brandon, began selling parts fo their collection about five years ago.
The Coenen’s began collecting toys, video games and comic books long before they met. Ms. Coenen said once they became a couple and eventually married, they “enabled” each other in their obsession with items often featured on shows like “The Big Bang Theory.” As their collection grew, they began selling duplicates and items that did not fit into their personal collections on eBay.
“We rarely purchase anything new,” Ms. Coenen said. “We would go to flea markets, second-hand stores, yard sales. We found that half the fun was the hunt, finding something unique and unusual, especially if we didn’t have it in our collection. Because we often bought lots of items at auctions or flea markets, we ended up with duplicates or things we really didn’t want, but other collectors might.”
Ms. Coenen said that Red Bandana is not like a typical collectible shop. She said that their hope is to talk to collectors face-to-face and create a place where people can come to learn more about their passion.
“These are not things you can find in Walmart,” Ms. Coenen said. “We love having younger people come into our shop and watch them catch the bug. It is also fun to watch parents who already have the bug try to initiate their kids into it. Our store is relatively small and we have used almost every inch of space, yet this is only about half of our inventory. If you don’t see something on the shelf you are looking for, ask, because we probably have it in storage. If you see something on our eBay site and would like to purchase it, let us know. We’ll save you the shipping costs.”
Starting a new business was a great leap of faith for the Coenen’s. Ms. Coenen said she worked as a secretary during the day and it was “easy” to sell items on eBay as she simply handled it when she got home at night. The couple wanted to be able to open the store without going into debt and were fortunate to find a space that worked for them in the Masonic Building.
“We definitely hope to expand,” Ms. Coenen said. “Everyone who owns a retail store wants that storefront, but the support we have received from the Mason’s and other businesses in this building has been outstanding. In fact, the support from the entire community has been great. Other businesses in town have been sharing our information on their social media sites. This has led many people in the community to come check us out and that is great.” Ms. Coenen said that they eventually hope to offer table top gaming on a small scale in order to provide activities for young people and adults.”
To celebrate the opening of the new business, the Coenen’s have planned a Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, October 14. Not only will the store be open, but there will be vendors placed outside in the parking lot offering everything from face painting, comic book and toy collectors as well as arts and crafts. Door prizes will also be given out during the event. The couple is asking cosplayers, people who dress as comic book, movie, television and anime characters, to dress for the day. Ms. Coenen is an avid cosplayer who has been a featured guest at many anime conventions around the country.
“Vendors pay $5 or can donate a door prize,” Ms. Coenen said. “It is our way of supporting the community for their support.”
The Grand Opening event will be held from 10 AM until 4 PM. Vendors may contact Red Bandana through their Facebook page or by calling 302-362-5743. The shop is open at 125 Causey Avenue, Suite 102 Tuesday through Friday from 11 AM until 6 PM and on weekends from 12 Noon until 6 PM.