Super Happy Incredible Toys owner Juan Salazar never intended to make his career working in a sea of playthings. But the business literally fell into his lap. After renting an art studio in the rear of the store's location on 20th Street in the Heights for years, the previous owner asked Salazar to take over the shop when he moved to Oklahoma.
Just like that, he became the owner of one of Houston’s largest collections of G.I. Joes, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, many of them still in their original boxes. Retro pop culture collectibles have made a modern-day resurgence, so Star Wars items, Sesame Street racers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures, Transformers, and E.T. merchandise crowd the shelves. Vintage Legos, My Little Ponies, and classic hot red Thermos lunch boxes can also be found.
As he’s explored his new profession, Salazar has kept one foot in the art world, painting the doors and walls of the shop with life-size murals: his personalized adorations of the champions of his childhood, heroes from Marvel comics.
“Talking to our customers reignites my passion for toys and collectibles from the past,” says Salazar as a steady stream of customers stop in the aged bungalow to peruse the selection and talk shop.
Pricing is reasonable, starting at 25 cents for used figurines, though some of the more rare collectibles have higher price tags reflecting market value. It’s easy to see why this beloved store has become a mainstay in the Heights. A mix between an estate sale for toys and an antiques store, Super Happy Incredible Toys offers customers the opportunity to relive their happiest childhood memories with their friends and families.