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Former car salesman hopes his toy store in Tarpon Springs brings out the kid in everyone

Store is located at 111 E. Tarpon Avenue
Posted: 3:54 AM, Apr 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-20 08:57:16-04

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. -- Dwane Johansen sold cars for 45 years. The items he is now selling are a little smaller.

“I have Hot Wheels! Star Wars! Star Trek! X-Men! I have it all!” says Johansen, who owns Bear Haven Land Company Vintage Toys.

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His store is one of the hottest storefronts in Tarpon Springs. It is a multigenerational funhouse for moms, dads and their children.

Parents remember when Darth Vader action figures first became a craze, while their kids are now just learning the ways of the Force. 

Johansen understands collectors pay his bills. But he likes children the best.

“Toys are meant to be played with. When we get parents coming in here and telling a kid they’re buying him something but he can’t open it, I throw him an action figure!” says Johansen with the persuasive bellow of a car salesman. “That’s why he came in. To play!”

Johansen‘s cozy store is packed with both vintage and new toys. There are Barbies in their Golden Years and Barbies fresh out of college. That old-school Barbie plane is pretty cool.

An entire wall is dedicated to various action figures from Avengers to She-Hulk. 

There is something in the store for all ages and all budgets. Some toys are priced for a few bucks, other cost a lot more. An entire warehouse in the back of the store is overrun by vintage Star Wars toys, including the ultimate collector’s item: an Imperial Shuttle.

“That goes for about $600 to $1,000 dollars,” says Johansen.

For more information on Bear Haven Vintage Toys, including how to sell or buy toys, visit: bearhavenvintagetoys.com.