Nerdy the new black

More than 800 turn up to store open­ing

The Queensland Times - - NEWS -

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 at 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 thanks to shows like The Big Bang The­ory, lov­ing sci-fi and fan­tasy had 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 across 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 and 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 light sabres. They are so cool. 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.”

PHOTOS: DAR­REN HALLESY FAN­FARE: Staff mem­ber Kelly Dolan, from Collingwood Park, and man­ager Jeremy O'Kell, from Goodna ,at the new Zing store in River­link.

Fans came in their favourite cos­tumes for the grand open­ing of Zing.

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