Nerdy is the new black at Zing
GONE are the days when having a love for Star Wars, Harry Potter and Marvel meant you were uncool.
These days, pop culture is the new norm, and if you needed proof just check out the crowds at Ipswich's first dedicated pop culture store that opened this week in the old Angus and Robertson store in Riverlink.
The grand opening on Wednesday drew a crowd of 800 people, many in their favourite character's costume.
Jeremy O'Kell is the manager of the store and said that thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory, loving sci-fi and fantasy has become something to be proud of.
"Zing represents such a specialist market and it's something that is really exciting for customers and staff," he said. "It's the same as the passion people have for motorsports, or their favourite sports team. When people come in and see the Marvel stuff, or Harry Potter, or Star Wars...they are so passionate about it."
The store opened on Wednesday night, and drew a massive crowd, as word spread.
"The grand opening was great, we did a big email out to all our fans, and 500 of those people reserved their spot for the opening. Then another 300 turned up from word of mouth!"
Zing is part of the same retail group as EB Games, which has been at Riverlink for many years, and sits opposite the new store.
Zing currently has 53 stores around the nation, and the Riverlink store is the 18th to open in the Sunshine State.
"We currently employ eight staff, all locals, and we are always on the lookout for people who share our passion for pop culture, so I never say no to people dropping a resume!"
Jeremy is a self-confessed Star Wars fan, seeing the first movie when he was two (just to make the rest of us feel old).
"I really love my job...people are so excited about being in this environment, customers are staff...you don't get that anywhere else. In all my years in retail, I've never seen that kind of passion, that love. I worked for a while at our Chermside store and you really get a mix of people, from bodybuilders to models, students, and pensioners.... anyone can love pop culture.
"My favourite item in the store has to be the Star Wars lightsabres. They are so cool," Jeremy said. "If I had to choose an item that was the oddest thing, I'd say the Darth Vader BBQ tongs are a bit out there."