WACO, Texas – Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nostalgia industry – namely vinyl records, sports cards and memorabilia and comic books – has seen a steep increase in interest.
Stores like Bankston’s in Waco are seeing the benefits of the newfound interest.
“Anything from your childhood, whatever year that may be, we sell that back to you,” owner Brent Bankston said.
Although Bankston’s has been around for over 35 years, the last year has been extra kind to them.
“It happened, for me almost overnight,” employee Brad Gyorko said. “I guess with the pandemic, people had extra time, so they started digging through their closet or cleaning out their house or their attic, so then they come across their own collections.”
Gyorko has been coming to Bankston’s for over 30 years, and is still such a passionate collector that he works there in his free time.
Since the pandemic began, Gyorko has witnessed a new kind of client flocking to the store – the type who can carry on the hobby.
“It was a lot of people around my age, give or take ten years, but now we’re starting to see a lot of younger faces coming in here,” Gyorko said. “To me, that makes me feel better because the hobby is still alive, and it’s going to carry on with these younger kids collecting.”
The employees have also noticed a rise in online memorabilia prices since interest piqued, yet they believe there is another factor that makes coming to the store worthwhile.
“There is an internet aspect to this. But relationally, that’s what makes the difference,” Bankston said. “We’ve been here for 35 years, going on 36 now, and most customers appreciate what we do because there is a human aspect to it.”
Bankston says his store is basking in the trend right now, but believes the industry can continue on stronger.
“It will always be popular. It’s just a matter of if we have the steep inclines or steep declines, and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Bankston said. “I think we’ve reached a new level where we have a plateau, maybe, but that increase has brought new fans to the world.”