All Hallow’s Eve has come and gone, and we are moving full speed ahead toward Thanksgiving, winter, the end of the year and possibly the end of the world. Hurricanes, pompous leaders and zealots be damned. I’m not in the mood for cringing over the day’s news. I need a distraction.
Fortunately, on this crisp fall afternoon, I have a destination in mind: The Bomb Shelter. Even before I moved to Akron, I would hear whispers of this mystical place, where you can have a museum-like experience while browsing records. You might end up purchasing a vintage mobile home or a complete 1950s kitchen while you’re at it.
As I make my way inside, I stop to decide whether to play Pacman or Asteroids. Both are original 80s game cabinets that are positioned right near the entrance and are free to play. Only one appears to be working, so my choice is clear: I am terrible at Pacman, but free is free. I get to work munching on pac-dots and chasing after Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. After a few minutes the ghosts have taken me out. Time to move on.
This place has a great record collection and I take advantage of it, heading over to the unoccupied bins for something to add to my library. I am tempted by a 1975 John Fogerty album. But if it ain’t Creedence, then it probably isn’t worth a damn, so I move on again.
Walking through the kitchen supply section, I am smitten with some of the amazing stoves, refrigerators and other paraphernalia. Stainless steel toasters and waffle irons take up an entire wall of shelves. Tables topped with glassware I could break just by looking add to the wonderful character. You could have stocked the set of Back to the Future with findings from The Bomb Shelter.
Deeper in, I come upon a giant octopus surrounded by old Radio Flyer wagons and wooden sleds that may or may not be named Rosebud. Across from the cephalopod, I find gas masks, old uniforms, and other military surplus from a bygone era. Surely some collectors, preppers and teenagers interested in making a bong will scoop up a gas mask or two.
A highlight of today’s trip for me is something I haven’t yet experienced at The Bomb Shelter. There is now a vintage TV museum. Seemingly every era of television make and model is represented, at least from the birth of the technology until the 1970s. It’s a fascinating display interwoven with pop culture memorabilia.
There is more, too. So much more. One can spend hours here, only to realize that one trip isn’t enough. This is true for the serious shopper or nonchalant browser. The knicks and knacks have knicks and knacks. There is too much to see and experience. The Bomb Shelter is a work of art.
And if a trip to the Bomb Shelter isn’t enough, Wooster Vintage Audio (WVA) has a small store right next door. WVA has an amazing selection of high-end antique record players and other audio devices. They even carry reel-to-reel players. I fawn over a few gorgeous retro music players and avoid looking at the price tags. Make no mistake, these babies are worth it. However, this ain’t TheNew York Times I’m writing for, and I’m on a budget. I’ll just have to come visit them in the store again.
Wooster Vintage Audio and The Bomb Shelter have created boutique spaces that showcase all sorts of retro and vintage items. Get down to Bank Street and check them out. Their Christmas Open House is Friday, November 9. Details here.
The Bomb Shelter
Open Monday thru Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm; Sundays, 12 pm to 4 pm
923 Bank St, Akron 44305
For more info and updates on inventory check out:
Wooster Vintage Audio
Open Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday, 11 am to 4:30 pm
907 Bank St, Akron 44305
For more info on Wooster Vintage Audio, check them out on Facebook
After growing up outside Boston, Massachusetts Dave Daly traipsed around the country for a number of years before settling in Akron with his family and joining The Devil Strip team.