We had the good fortune of connecting with Juan Salazar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Juan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I didn’t really have a thought process; I never really wanted to own a vintage toy store. I kinda fell backward into it. I thought In the least I would get a free art studio out of it. And that would allow me to produce more art. So in doing all the work it took to turn the toy store around; I fell in love with the community. And I decided I wanted to become an integral part of it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The easiest way to put this is Super Happy Incredible Toys is a store that specializes in vintage toys & action figures from the 80s & 90s. If we’re putting it simply that’s the best way to describe who we are. What we really do though is connect people to their past. Toys have a way of reminding us of a time when everything was just so much easier. And life was about simplicity. People collect vintage toys for different reasons. Personally I collect them as a way to stay close to my father who I lost about 7 years ago, What I believe sets us apart from everyone else is that we understand that you can’t put a price on memories. In all honesty we don’t even really care about the money. The way we see it, we don’t have a store, we have a clubhouse. And if this clubhouse pays for itself we’re happy. Being able to reunite people with things from their childhood, that connect them to times that made them happier, is something that brings us great pride and joy. Because, ultimately it’s what we want too. Sure it hasn’t been easy. We face challenges daily; like where are we going to find new stock? How do we overcome our shitty location? And do people really want to spend money on vintage toys? But the lessons I’ve learned is that people will support a business that actually cares. I mean we try out best to entertain people with our crazy videos, and make them feel welcome when they walk in our doors. But ultimately we want them to feel like one of us. This isn’t a store, this is a family. And we’ve put in a lot of work into growing the family and something we can all be proud to be a part of.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many different options and places to eat in Houston. I think the Pho in Houston is better than anywhere else. I think Tony’s Mexican Restaurant enchiladas are a must have; and love walking down to Burger Joint and having a burger on their patio. But if I had to choose one place to take someone out to; it would be Saint Arnold beer garden. Let’s be real its not just that Saint Arnold is beautiful, has great food and really high quality beer; it’s also about who they are and what they do for the community. As a small business owner I’ve always said “when I grow up I wanna be Saint Arnold”. Because nobody cares the way they do about everybody.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Chris Salazar. He may be my oldest son but he’s also an inspiration and guiding light. Ive always thought I was the hardest working, most focused on my goals individual that I have ever known. Watching his journey and witnessing first hand the amount of dedication and hard work he puts into his craft inspires me to continue to do the same. All he ever wants to do is show the world that a kid from Denver Harbor can do everything that society deems “celebrities” can do too. He doesn’t give a shit about money, celebrity or fame, he just wants to inspire. Because the ability to inspire people is a currency that nobody can ever take away.
Other: Super Happy Incredible Toys is located at 740 W. 20th Street, Houston, TX 77008. Phone # 832-516-7176
Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.