My boyfriend and I take a trip to the Atomic Pop Shop to find vinyl records, vintage cameras, and retro furniture, accompanied by my Fisheye 2.
“We just call ourselves ‘The Land of Misfit Toys,’” Allie says as my boyfriend and I turn to leave. As I take one last look around it’s easy to believe, what with the modern-retro furniture, boxes and boxes of vinyl records, art, jewelry, and vintage electronics. And yet, it’s all so magical.
The Atomic Pop Shop opened in May of 2011. Located in Mid-City Baton Rouge, it sits with many other “misfit” places: a few bars cozy up to consignment shops, mixed right in the with doctor’s offices, ballroom dance studios, and high schools. The store, specializing in vinyl records, quickly gained popularity in a mere few months after opening when the local newspaper wrote an article about the shop, which you can read here. Since then, though, the traffic has slowed, not just at the Pop Shop, but everywhere in the area. Atomic Pop Shop uses only word-of-mouth to advertise and it pulls a cross-section of people.
“Some people are collectors or listeners that think that music sounds better on vinyl. Others have no clue and are looking to be set up with the turntables, speakers, and records,” Allie explains. The vinyl, and everything else in the store, is all pulled in locally. Most of the vinyl is traded-in in store. A lot of the vintage technology and furniture is found in garage sales and thrift stores. The owners and employees themselves go out to the sales across town. Once something is bought it is brought back to the co-owner, Jeffery Beary. He fixes or refurbishes all the turntables and jukeboxes that come through the store.
The art is all local as well. As a member of Mid-City Merchants, the Atomic Pop Shop plays host to artists and the people of the community a few times a year during various “Art Hops.” On these nights the community can “hop” from shop to shop to see various exhibitions of art and get a feel for the shops in the area. Allie, a photographer herself, has a few pieces displayed from her trek to Six Flags New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The next event might not be until mid-November, but she’s already very excited. By the end of our visit my boyfriend has bought a piece of hers.
It’s a cool, funky place. You might just find you belong there, in “The Land of Misfit Toys.”