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If the opening of a vintage store for pop-culture junkies marks the transition from up-and-coming neighborhood to must-visit shopping destination, then Collinwood’s Waterloo Road has arrived. Last month the already hipster-friendly strip (anchored by the Beachland Ballroom) welcomed Star Pop, which offers a variety of used and new cool stuff, including Star Wars action figures, top-shelf sports gear, old tin toys, vintage kids’ books, and a Harley helmet still in its original box.

Owner Troy Schwartz, a Cleveland native, has been trading toys, antiques, and art full time since 2001. He scours Northeast Ohio estate sales and attics to keep in-demand items out of landfills.

As of this writing, the store had rows of games for assorted Nintendo systems, cheap Harry Potter hardbacks, Disney DVDs and videotapes, old-school roller skates, North Face outdoor gear, and a collections of biker jackets (including a red one if you want to go for the Chrissie Hynde look).

Schwartz laughs, recalling one regular who brings her 6-year-old son to shop. He always quickly picks out a toy — but then he’s stuck in the store while his mom browses. Eventually, the child is the one dragging the mom out of the store.

“A customer came in, looked around, and told me, ‘Man, you really veered off track from what you were intending,’” says Schwartz. “I said ‘No, you believed someone who told you it was a toy store. It’s a pop-culture shop — things that I think are cool, and my experience tells me that other people enjoy.”

Star Pop’s grand-opening party Saturday, December 12, from 6-10 p.m. (The store opens at 2 that day.) It’s open Tuesdays through Sundays, and stays open late to accommodate foot traffic from concerts at the neighboring Beachland, which regularly spills over into record stores Music Saves and Blue Arrow Vinyl and (pop) art store Shoparooni. — D.X. Ferris

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