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Clothes, Toys and Fornicating Music Boxes 

How many times have you been clothes shopping when you've said to yourself: Boy, besides these dress slacks, I sure could go for a nice Martini, perhaps an antique toy, and maybe one or two X-rated novelty gifts. Well, look no further, even here in generic, strip-mall loving Charlotte, such a place exists. The store is centered around a wooden bar handmade in England, where customers are served complimentary Bloody Marys and Martinis. Opposite the bar is a giant glass case that houses a great collection of antique toys, including robots, cars and a 1957 pinball machine. Also available is a variety of items all under $10, but invaluable in their kitschy value. They include X-ray specs, the kind they used to sell in the back of comic books, a "Who loves ya, Baby" Kojak coloring book and record set, and Bruce Lee action figures. The "pervert section" contains such goodies as Michael Jackson boy's belts, Mike Tyson dolls on a string, and Pee-Wee Herman talking dolls. Hidden away in a blanket bench near the dressing room (which is adorned with black and white nude photographs from the 1920s) is a treasure trove of X-rated toys and gifts, including what can best be described as a fornicating couple antique music box.

Oh yeah, and there's also the clothes, a collection of upscale sportstwear, suits, golf shirts and Western wear.

Bruce Julian is the man behind this unique, eclectic and eponymously named store located in the Arboretum Shopping Center. Julian is one of those colorful, effusive and upbeat characters who seem absolutely giddy just to be alive. He's what Santa Claus would be if he lost the weight, shaved the beard, grew a ponytail, replaced the red suit with some hip and stylish duds, and took a bong hit.

Julian grew up in Chapel Hill, and spent many of his boyhood years working at his father's discount clothing store, Milton's. He ended up dropping out of high school, and moved to Charlotte at 19 when his father opened up a second store in Charlottetown Mall, now Midtown Square. Julian eventually opened his own store in downtown Charlotte in 1977, later moving to the SouthPark area, where he remained until moving to the Arboretum in November.

Today Julian divides his time between Charlotte and New York, where his newlywed wife works as a fabric print designer, and where he often stocks up on additional toys and men's clothing. (The couple recently returned from Las Vegas, where an Elvis impersonator helped them renew their wedding vows).

"Normally I'll go to New York on a Friday night, stay the weekend with my wife, raising hell and giggling," he says with a slightly demented laugh. "Monday through Friday we both go to work. The next weekend she'll come down and see me in Charlotte. We have a rule that we can't be apart more than five days."

Julian has been collecting antique toys and novelty gifts for most of his life, and has even had to set aside a room in his house to accommodate his growing collection.

"Truthfully, it was the graphics and the colorful boxes that the antique toys came in that first got me started," he said. "Then I really got into the mechanical movements of the toys."

Although he's turning 50 this summer, Julian peppers his speech with words like "awesome" and "dude," especially when he's showing off his toys, like the intricate and rare German Kinder Eggs -- little models that come inside chocolate eggs.

"Isn't this awesome," he says, as he excitedly pieces together a miniature rocketship. Ah, the enthusiasm of youth *

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