By Larissa Copeland
When Anthony Ivers was deciding which business to open in the Yukon area, he considered everything from vape shops to pawn shops.
Nothing seemed to fit – he wanted a unique store where he could put his 16 years of management and sales experience to use.
More importantly, he wanted to be able to involve his family in the business.
And as it turned out, his 12-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, made the decision for him.
“She got really involved in k-pop,” Ivers said of his daughter.
K-pop, the term for South Korean popular music, is a genre that in the last several years has grown in popularity in the U.S.
“I was continuously buying stuff for her online, and it was really expensive.” Ivers continued. “And I’ve always been a comic book and superhero fan, so I was looking at wholesale companies, and I found out that they were affordable.”
That affordability, he realized, meant that he could pass on the savings to customers, who otherwise have to spend a lot more money or travel a long way to pick up merchandise for their own collections.
About five weeks later, AnimeZing opened for business at 931 S. Cornwell.
The store offers a wide range of merchandise from pop culture, Japanese animation (known as ‘anime’ and the basis for the store’s name), comic books and – of course – k-pop.
In the days since the store’s opening, Ivers said the experience has involved a lot of learning.
“I’ve had customers come in, and they’ve been very informative,” he said. “I’m learning from my customers. It’s really exciting.”
For Kaitlyn Ivers, the store is an opportunity for her to spend quality time with her dad.
“It’s cool, being able to spend more time with him,” she said.
Kaitlyn Ivers helps her dad with several aspects of the business: stocking shelves, pricing merchandise, working the cash register. She helps pick out what items to stock in the store, as well.
“She’s my influencer,” Anthony Ivers said, laughing.
While nerd and geek culture has gained popularity, Ivers acknowledged that some people might be hesitant to give certain things a try. He encouraged anyone with doubts about a certain genre, or show, or medium to give it a chance.
“It doesn’t cost you anything, and it doesn’t hurt to just open your mind to thinking about what other people are involved in,” he said. “Maybe you’re not into anime; maybe you’re into Captain America.”
Both, he said, fall under the umbrella of geek culture.
For his part, Ivers is a newly-converted fan of the hit AMC show “The Walking Dead.”
“I never would’ve thought I’d get that involved in a TV show,” he said. “But it kept me interested.”
Now, the walls of Ivers’s office are adorned with photos of himself meeting members of the show’s cast. His game room at home, he said, is decorated with more Walking Dead memorabilia.
Looking ahead, Ivers said he hopes the store continues to grow.
“That’s my main goal,” he said. “I’m not here to get rich; I’m here to provide something to this area that I felt was needed, and I’m hearing that people are glad we’ve done it. I hope to keep bringing in cool stuff and new stuff, and price it where people can afford it and enjoy it. My focus from here forward is to find the best deals and pass them onto customers.”
The store is open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call Animezing at 265-7575 or find it on facebook at facebook.com/931Cornwell.