WALLINGFORD — A downtown business that sold vintage collectibles and retro video games recently relocated to Newington.
John Kelleher, co-owner of M&J Video Games and Collectibles, recently closed his store at 38 Center St. and opened a new location along the Berlin Turnpike, at 3277 Berlin Tpke. in Newington.
Kelleher’s store sells retro video games and vintage sports memorabilia and other collectibles. He owns the business with his wife, Mary. The store bears their names – “M” for Mary and “J” for John.
Kelleher, a Wallingford native, said a shortage of parking in the lower downtown area prompted him to relocate.
“I had customers calling me going, ‘I tried to park for 20 minutes and I gave up,’” Kelleher said.
“I decided once my lease was up I was going to find a better location.”
Kelleher’s former Wallingford store was located in the lower downtown area and did not have any visible parking in front of the building, so customers had to drive behind the building or elsewhere to park.
Anthony Canalia, one of Kelleher’s friends and employees, said the new location is advantageous because the “Berlin Turnpike gets a lot more traffic than Center Street in Wallingford.”
“What’s better than the Berlin Turnpike?” Kelleher said. “Ten thousand-plus cars a day drive by here and if you can get a certain percentage to look at your sign and just come in and look around,” then you’ll be successful.
Kelleher and his wife opened up their first M&J Video Games and Collectibles store in Southington in 2014 at 1049 Queen Street. About a year and a half later, the Kellehers opened their second location in the Center Street storefront that was previously occupied by First Base hobby store.
“The money we made from the Southington store we used to buy the Wallingford store,” Kelleher said.
Kelleher got into collecting at a young age when his father would give him items to sell at flea markets for money.
“I was making about $150 to $200 a weekend,” he said.
Ever since, Kelleher said he has been hooked.
“Collecting is like a drug sometimes. You always have to have the newest things,” Kelleher said.
Kelleher’s Newington store includes a broad collection of sports memorabilia and retro video games — everything from a signed Dan Marino game jersery to a retro Atari 2600 game console.
“Our motto has always been, ‘If you want it, we’ll get it for you,’” Kelleher said.
Kelleher’s store has been open for a couple weeks, but he will hold an official grand opening this week, Dec. 8 to 10. Former WWF wrestler Gangrel will sign autographs on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Babe Ruth’s granddaughter will sign autographs Sunday noon to 3 p.m.