When Bert Easley opened Easley's Fun Shop Inc in August 1947, who would have predicted that Easley’s would be celebrating its 68th anniversary in 2014? The Mesa High School and Normal College (now known as ASU) graduate was a famous magician, who had even been featured in Life Magazine. His novelties and magic shop has grown in size, expanded its wares, moved to its current location at 509 W McDowell in Phoenix, and continues to help Phoenicians have fun.
Herb Easley used to work in his father’s store after school. At 80 years old, he is still involved in the business, as is his wife, Carol, and his daughter, Deb. “We love the people. Everyone who comes in the store is happy. They are looking for fun and we can satisfy them,” said Carol, who enthusiastically greets customers as they come in the store.
Easley’s Fun Shop is an iconic presence during Halloween, and it is a valuable resource for high school drama departments throughout the Valley. But it is also becoming an important factor in Phoenix Comicon, since it became involved three years ago.
“We have so much, it is hard to decide what to take to Comicon,” said Carol. Zombie make-up and comic book-related tee shirts are popular items. Since, it is not too far from the Phoenix Convention Center, Easley’s may even be able to retrieve something special from the store during the day, for a desperate Comicon attendee, who stops by Booth 993.
The Easleys keep their extensive inventory stocked by travelling to trade shows around the country. They also have long-term partnerships with vendors and suppliers, like the Ruby family, who control Star Wars memorabilia. These personal relationships provide access to unique and high-quality merchandise not available to big box stores. Customers can buy inexpensive costumes or indulge fantasies by renting very expensive costumes for a day at prices they can afford.
The Easleys are representative of many small, local business owners, who will benefit from access to tens of thousands of attendees during the 14th annual Phoenix Comicon, which will be June 5-8 this year. They are also the exhibitors, who will help enhance the Comicon experience for the many attendees, who want to look their worst during the Zombie Walk on Friday. Easley’s Fun Shop and Phoenix Comicon fit like a hand in Freddie’s glove.